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reaching the end of Bill Maher

I feel like I’m in recovery mode. I AM in recovery mode. Travels are over, for now; my bug is diminished, and I’m feeling better. It’s a damp grey day and all I want to do is sit in my favourite chair looking at the new green outside. And be home.

A final journey yesterday, from Ottawa to Toronto in a train car so noisy and bumpy, there were complaints and we were invited to move to another car. “This car needs to go into the shop!” said the conductor. I was amazed, as we sailed through Ontario, how much unused land there is, mostly wild woods. In Europe, there’s no unused land; it’s all inhabited or tidily parcelled out farmland or industrial or something else. But here, mile after mile of trees, bramble, and bracken. We have space to burn.

I finished an entertaining Agatha Christie — Oh no, Hercule Poirot died! — and a peanut butter sandwich, and we pulled into Union Station. Downtown was a zoo, Friday rush hour with a Blue Jays game that evening. But at last, home. Where I can eat and sleep and do what I want when I want. Thank you, powers that be.

Last night, I watched Bill Maher, though I’m reaching the point that I won’t be able to. Anna of course won’t go near him, a liberal firmly on the right on too many issues. I defend watching because of the intelligent, connected people from a spectrum of political viewpoints he chats with — never less than interesting. But last night reached the limits of my tolerance — first, a talk with Robert Kennedy Jr., with his insufferable paranoia about just about everything and his unbearable voice. But he’s obviously intelligent and appeals to some — especially young people, he says — and it’s important to hear him.

Then Bill and his guests, including Don Lemon who’s usually pretty good, proceeded to trash the Gaza college protests, saying the young protesters are ignorant, misguided, self-serving, anti-Semitic narcissists glued to TikTok. I do agree when Bill said, about protesters blocking traffic, “It doesn’t help your cause when you make people late to pick up their kids from daycare.” But no one mentioned the atrocities in Gaza or the West Bank. Bill pointed to other injustices in the world that deserve to be protested, including the brutal repression of women in some Muslim countries. Yes, there are many other terrible things to protest, and yes, some of the protesters are probably misguided. But many are deeply passionate, idealistic young people appalled at the horrors they see and doing what they can to register their dismay and desire for peace.

We must never forget that there’s a vital difference, a huge divide, between on one hand the criminal Netanyahu, his heedless enablers, and the racist, violent West Bank settlers, and on the other, almost all the Jewish people in the world, as horrified as everyone else by what’s being perpetrated by fellow Jews. It’s heartbreaking.

As the always succinct Bernie Sanders said to Netanyahu, “It is not anti-Semitic to hold you accountable.”

We need something to cheer us up these days. Spring will do. Magnolias will do. And the library will do. This is the first hold notification I’ve received in many months, since our fabulous library system was hacked last fall and many services stopped. Welcome back, beloved library.



2 Responses to “reaching the end of Bill Maher”

  1. And no mentions the hostages either, I think about them nearly every day. There used to be posters of them here, but they were eventually ripped down.

    It’s clear that liberating those poor Israeli hostages is not Netanyahu’s priority. Saving his own skin is.

    Frankly, with all that’s going on in the world today, I feel ashamed to be a member of the human race.

  2. Beth Kaplan says:

    Juliet, not to be a Pollyanna, but … let’s also reflect that there have been times when what humanity was engaged in was so much worse- slavery, and witch burning, and the Inquisition and pogroms and always, always, war. Like many if not most other species, we are not a peaceful bunch. But also – Johann Sebastian Bach and Vermeer and Montaigne and the cave drawings and Indigenous art and literature and film and philanthropy – we are also a generous, kind, thoughtful, creative species. So – onward. Don’t give up hope.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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