Bill Maher on Friday night got nicely zinged by New York Times columnist David Brooks.
After the host bragged about all the over-confident kids that have told him they're going to one day be on HBO's "Real Time," Brooks marvelously said, "That's not necessarily a sign of high self-esteem though to want to be on this show" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
TINA BROWN, Daily Beast: Yeah, but it's also the tuned-out factor because unfortunately I think that just too many people are paying no attention at all. And that’s what really came out in our poll was that people on the extremes, I mean it was the exact opposite of what we've always thought which was that the middle was sort of the responsible. No, it seems the opposite. The people who are passionate and are engaged are on the extremes, and everyone, this big swath in the middle are just tuned-out. They’re listening to their…
BILL MAHER, host: That’s interesting. We think of the independents as, you know, smart people who are sizing up the different – no. They're the dumbest ones of all.
BROWN: They’re the couch potatoes.
DAVID BROOKS, New York Times: But people are rewarded for being stupid. So, one of my favorite statistics is that in 1950 Gallup asked high school seniors, “Are you a very important person?” And twelve percent said, “Yes.” They asked again in 1998 – 80 percent of high school seniors said, “I’m a very important person.”
MAHER: Oh, I’m sure, yes.
BROOKS: So, they're being told they're wonderful. The amount of hours American kids spend studying has gone down while their grades go up.
MAHER: Their confidence is off the chart. If I had a nickel for every kid who come up to me and said, “I’m going to be on your show. Oh, it’s a fact.” I’m like, “Well, actually, it's not a fact."
BROOKS: That's not necessarily a sign of high self-esteem though to want to be on this show.
BROWN: Ooh. Ooh.
That Maher thinks it's a sign of confidence that kids think they're going to some day be on his show is a perfect example of how full of himself and detached from reality he is.
Nicely played, David. Bravo!