Let me get to the other religion which is on my mind because I was more excited about the Arab revolution in the Middle East this week, before we heard the horrible news about Lara Logan and I looked at this: 94 journalists last year were killed - that's a lot - a 139 the year before. You know it's forget when you see what we consider tv stars cause there are anchor men and anchor women over there; it's not a reality show. This shit is really dangerous and we do not know the details of what happened there, but I think it's fair to say Muslim men have a bad attitude about women in general and I would just like to say to them, that you're never gonna have this revolution happen, unless there is also a sexual revolution that goes with it.In the ensuing discussion with Tavis Smiley, Maher admitted that he is judging other cultures and defended his right to do so:
I am saying, I'm not prejudiced. That's pre- judging; I'm not pre-judging, I am judging. I'm judging. They're worse, what's wrong with just saying that? You're a cultural relativist; it's not relative.(You can watch the relevant part of the show, read the transcript and see the criticism that has been heaped on Maher as a result of these statements here.)
I'm not going to argue with the strange people who have chosen to see in Maher's words an apology for the kind of sexism that still exists in Western countries. Saying that something is bad can only mean that everything else is good only in a universe that is completely devoid of logic. What I find interesting is Maher's courage in leaving aside the fake pseudo-Liberal "tolerance" of everything that is different. A refusal to judge another culture (person, group, etc.) according to the same standards that one uses to judge oneself or one's own culture is not a sign of respect. It's a sign of a deep-seated condescension and an unabiding fear of otherness.
I have no idea whether Maher is familiar with Žižek, but his closing statement in this discussion is very much in agreement with what the greatest living philosopher has to say about tolerance:
You know what, when you tolerate intolerance, you're not really being a liberal.This statement could have easily come from Žižek himself.