I've watched Bill Maher for many years, most recently via his Real Time show on HBO.
Generally I enjoy Maher's blend of political humor and observations, but sometimes his tendency to criticize perceived liberal excesses rubs me the wrong way.
Not because I object to Maher making fun of extreme left-wing stances, which indeed can be deserving of ridicule now and then. Rather, I don't like it when Maher oversimplifies a complex issue just for the sake of making it a more convenient object of scorn on his show.
Yesterday Maher had a bit in his New Rules segment where he featured a headline from a story along with a quotation.
Maher didn't mention that the author of the story was Christopher Rufo. Today the Oregonian had a story about Maher's ridiculing Portland Public Schools for claiming in its elementary school curriculum:
When the United States was colonized by white settlers, their views around gender were forced upon the people already living here.
The Oregonian story describes Rufo.
Rufo, who lives in Gig Harbor, Washington, is a controversial figure who makes frequent appearances on the Fox News Channel and who, as The New York Times noted, is a conservative activist “who probably more than any other person made critical race theory a rallying cry on the right -- and who has become, to some on the left, an agitator of intolerance.”
So in no way is Rufo a scholar of our nation's early history, or a respected commentator on childhood education regarding gender issues. Maher offered a platform to a controversial conservative.
In his story Rufo shares a slide presentation that does look like an authentic product of Portland Public Schools, though whether it was actually used by teachers is another question. I didn't read all 198 slides thoroughly, but I scrolled through the slides looking for the ones that referenced colonization.
Here's screenshots of what I found, along with my comments on the slides.
Discussion of gender as it relates to colonization of our country comes in a 4th and 5th grade section. Thus when Maher combined the title of the story, which mentions kindergarten, with the content of material intended for 4th and 5th graders, that's misleading the viewer.
Maybe I'm excessively woke also, but I don't find much, if anything, to criticize in this slide. I suspect what it says would be endorsed by most reputable scholars of early American history.
I've heard about the notion of Two-Spirit but don't know much about it. Some Googling indicates that gender fluidity indeed was a part of Native American culture. For example, see here.
This slide also strikes me as being mostly or entirely accurate.
Here's a video of yesterday's New Rules segment. The Portland mention is at about the 5 minute mark.