Hitchens Gives the Finger to Maher’s Audience (Video)

Christopher Hitchens gave the finger to Bill Maher’s audience and, for the benefit of those unfamiliar with that gesture, verbalized the message.

Brent Baker provides this transcript (which I’ve sanitized slightly):

Christopher Hitchens: “Who wants a Third Word War? The Iranian President says that one member state of the United Nations should be wiped physically from the map with all its people. He says the United States is a Satanic power. Members of his government, named members of his government have been caught sponsoring deaths squads. He’s lied, he’s lied to the European Union about his nuclear program-”

Bill Maher: “But you know that a lot-”

Hitchens: “He says the Messiah is about to come back. Who’s looking for a war here?”

Maher: “So does George Bush, by the way [audience applause]. That’s not facetious [audience applause continues].”

Hitchens Gives the Finger to Maher's Audience Photo Hitchens: “That’s not facetious. Your audience, which will clap at apparently anything, is frivolous. [oohs and groans from audience, Hitchens gives them the finger] F— you, f— you. [groans continue]”

Maher: “I was just saying what the President of Iran and the President of America have in common is that they both are a little too comfortable with the idea of the world coming to an end.”

Hitchens: “Cheer yourself up like that. The President has said, quite a great contrast before the podium of the Senate, I think applauded by most present, in his State of the Union address, that we support the democratic movement of the Iranian people to be free of theocracy — not that we will impose ourselves on them, but that if they fight for it we’re on their side. That seems to be the right position to take, jeer all you like.”

I’m a bit surprised at Hitchens for taking the bait this way. He’s certainly a sufficiently skilled debater as to be able to come up with a better rejoinder than “F— you, f— you.” Still, one sympathizes with his frustration over obviously bright people like Maher spouting such tripe.

Video in WMP format here. Baker has other formats at the link.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    There are some notions that are just too risible to deserve any better response. Equating Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic Shi’ism with George W. Bush’s Methodism is one. The “chickenhawk” attack is another.

    Outright and deliberate lies are not debatable.

  2. siea says:

    Comment in violation of site policies deleted.

  3. DC Loser says:

    Hitch is a bit more curmudgeony than usual these days. Poor guy, having to defend the sinking ship. Must make him drink more than his usual amount.

  4. Stevely says:

    Actually, Loser, it was a perfectly reasonable reaction to a jackass comment.

    Or do you think the audience had a real point, that the President is also interested in bringing on the Apocalypse, on account of his membership in that fanatic religious cult, the Methodists?

  5. G A Phillips says:

    HBO needs to get rid of that punk Maher and bring back Dennis Miller, and what does being a wise a– punk have to with being bright…oops, G. A. pauses and looks deeply at himself.

  6. Steven Plunk says:

    The whole Maher crowd is immature. They lack solid reasoning in the positions they take and want to make everything a joke at someone elses expense.

    The finger was simply playing to what they would understand, speaking the language, getting on the same level. I doubt he would have done it anywhere else. They got about as much respect as they gave to the guest.

  7. What an uneducated man this Hitchens must be.
    I guess he treats his family very bad. I find it very annoying to see such people on TV.

    Thank you for sharing this terrifying story with me !

  8. Brian says:

    I don’t know why guys like this go on Maher to begin with. It’s like the idiots who were “surprised” when they turned out to be the brunt of the joke on Jerry Springer.

    You know what you are walking into and I don’t see that there is anything to be gained by it. Maher is nothing more than a master of pandering and his audiences are well-trained cheerleaders.

  9. ray robison says:

    “obviously bright people like Maher ”

    What? He is freaking moron. You dont have to be bright to crack a joke. Comedy is way overblown as a sign of intelligence. My 3 year old son can crack a better joke anyway.

  10. Kathy says:

    James, why do you say that Maher’s comment was “tripe”? Pres. Bush IS a believer in apocalyptic Christian theology, and apocalyptic Christians do believe that the Messiah is coming back.

  11. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Kathy, when did you become an expert in what the President believes? Is it that you are an expert in what you think the President believes? There are times when even the most agile advocate of an idea must bring his language down to the level of those he wishes to communicate with. When one speaks to the idiots on the left, to whom truth makes no difference, sometimes directions on where to go, and what needs to be done to them in required. Those who equate the President of Iran with the President of the United States should go to hell and get f–ked.

  12. Kathy says:

    When did YOU become an expert in what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes?

  13. tpainless says:

    I think Mr Zelsdorf admires Hitchens because he identifies with him.He’s probably rehearsing the finger move right now which is the extent of his verbal skills.

  14. LJD says:

    When did YOU become an expert in what Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believes?

    Unless there’s some problem with the translation, he pretty much says what he believes…
    or he’s saying something he doesn’t believe. Nevertheless, he says it…

  15. legion says:

    And yet nobody’s addressed Kathy’s question about Bush… Maher didn’t equate Bush’s entire religious dogma to Ahmenidjihad’s, but Hitchens brought up the specific point that he (Ahm.) is expecting the Messiah to come back. And so is Bush. Hitchens talked himself into a corner and didn’t have any way to respond except the ‘ol “F-U”. Now imagine the righteous indignation if Al Franken had gone on with O’Reilly and collapsed to the same point. Would you be defending Al? I think not.

    What’s more pathetic about Hitchens’ rant is his impression that the Iranian people want to be free of an Islamic theocracy. They don’t; a lot of them just want a better-run theocracy. Just like the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Assuming that “our way” is the only way “right-thinking people” want to be is asinine. But so is Hitchens.

  16. LJD says:

    Since there are so many experts on what people want here, why not expand on you argument. In reference to Kathy;s question, you don’t get to just make a wild assertion, drive-by style, and then put it on those that disagree with you to substantiate it.

    I would say that if you are claiming these two men are working towards the same goal, then list the ACTIONS both have taken to bring it about, then compare.

    My guess is that the Presidents actions, and statements made in public, pale in comparison to that of Alphabet-Jihad.

  17. LJD says:

    …which makes your arguments nothing more than partisan, President-hating crap.

  18. legion says:

    LJD, did you actually read the transcript? That’s exactly what Hitch did – toss out a complete drive-by assertion about the Iranian pres, which Maher called him out on. In fact, Maher practically invited Hitch to expand on the difference between Bush’s and Ahmanmna(whatever)’s beliefs, and rather than even attempt that, Hitch just froze up.

    This has nothing to do with hating the President, it has to do with Hitchen’s incompetence in defending him.

  19. LJD says:

    Did you, can you read?

    Clearly, Maher accused the President of wanting WWIII, when I have seen the existence of no proof of that whatsoever. Ahmed-Jihad is on record saying such things.

    That was exactly my point. Show the proof supporting the President’s ‘beliefs’, ‘goals’, or ‘visions’ that you assert he has. The simple fact that he believes in the 2nd coming of Christ is not adequate proof of his actions to facilitate such an event on Earth.

  20. legion says:

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. “Clearly” Maher took a generalization made by Hitchens and asked if the same standard applied to Bush. You’re the only person here who’s connecting Bush’s policies and WWIII.

  21. CKS says:

    Sadly, what I find in virtually every debate on Iraq is a lack of any knowledge of US policy prior to January of 2001…as if, for the Left, the world did not exist prior to Bush becoming President. While CLinton only bombed Iraq because of Sadaam’s having WMDs, the country did not object so long as deaths were of Iraqi soliders and civilians…his political savy proved that to be correct in Bosnia as well. Civilian deaths in other countries by the USA were tolerated by Americans. Little did any of us know that while we were bombing Baghdad in 1998, Al Qaeda terrorists were here in America. Madeline Albright was ranting at that time about Sadaam’s support of terrorists. As a result, all of this “Bush lied, people died” rhetoric is nothing more than the utterings of people who can do little more than quote bumper stickers.

    So much for politics…and I believe Hitchens “digit” was for those who have short term memory loss and those who do remember, yet will not admit it.