: I like it when Andrew Sullivan appears on Bill Maher’s show, for the two of them play a great game of TV tennis.
Maher has been finding evidence — credible evidence, I say — that the religious look crazy (“magic underwear?”), while Sullivan has been giving a good defense to the moderately religious (I’m on his side). This week, when the topic came up, Sullivan said, and Lord knows I agree with this, that it’s time for the moderate to take back religion from the fringe. But Maher said, come on, Andrew, these people are the ones who would get you on your knees and may you pray until you like pussy. That silenced Andrew for a few beats and then he recovered: “It’d take a lot more than Pat Robertson to get me to like pussy.”
Later, they talked about the pope and Sullivan said that the molestation scandal reaches right up to Benedict XVI, who covered up the scandal. Maher said, “And this is my point to you about religion. Religion empowers men with infallibility.” Sullivan said the church is imperfect but it “is the only thing we’ve got.” Maher says, no, it isn’t, “why not have just your spirituality.” Sullivan says that without the institutions, the faith would not have been kept alive.
It ain’t Sunday morning TV and that’s why I like it.
: Maher also had on Bernie Sanders, now the independent candidate for Senate in Vermont, who went on a fine rant against the indecent indecency bill in Congress. Go give Bernie some traffic.
: In his new rules, Maher said that Jenifer Wilbanks isn’t insane for running away. She’d be insane if she’d agree to spend the rest of her life servicing — cue picture of her fiance — “this goober.”
He offers her a bus ticket to L.A. “You’re crazy and you don’t care about anyone’s feelings but you’re own. You belong in Hollywood… You’re a reality show waiting to happen…”
: The NY Times Sunday biz section has a wet kiss for my friend Nick Denton and Gawker Media.
Blogging before journalism
: Business Week’s Stephen Baker has a great moment in journalism and blogging today: He asks the audience for questions before he interviews Arianna Huffington on her new blog venture. That’s the way to do it: involving the public in your journalism, asking them what they want asked.
My suggestions, posted there (eventually):
Thanks for asking!…
* I’d ask whether she will include only the famous or whether she’ll make some people famous.
* Did I read correctly that she has a relationship with Tribune? (Couldn’t believe my eyes and perhaps I shouldn’t.)
* Is she going to pay her contributors? Or is having rich people who don’t need the money the smartest business model going?
* Will she share the wealth with other bloggers in other ways: Will she have a blogroll to link out and give traffic love to the bloggers she loves?
* Will she insist that the contributors link (as any blogger must) or will they merely — as I blogged the announcement — throw bon mots that she catches?
* Will her bloggers end up in conversations (as they must to be bloggers)?
* What’s the essence of her blog — the bon mots of the famous? the Huffington party line? the first-person People?
: It’s also cool that they’re putting up Flickr photos with credits. And while I’m in praise mode, I’ll link to Henry Copeland’s praise of Baker.
: To my own surprise, on Tuesday I’m speaking to a World Bank session for web developers from lots of organizations, including the UN and others. I’ll be talking from the viewpoint of a spectator to this wonderful world of citizens’ media and will recommend that if they want to talk to people who really know how to do this they should see Hossein Derakhshan, Rebecca McKinnon, Ethan Zuckerman, Joi Ito, et al. The session is supposed to be webcast but I think that may be only for members of their Web for Development community.
TV Watch coverage
: On the Media covers the launch of TV Watch. Listen here. (My posts here and here.)
: Here’s TV critic Melanie McFarland’s column about TV Watch and about the PBS konservative kerfluffle.
: Here‘s a UPI story in the Washington Times that can’t find the heart to go after TV Watch, considering how damned bipartisan it is.
: Here‘s fellow TV Watch traveler SpeakSpeak on how damned bipartisan it is.
: Frankly, I think the coverage fizzled.