« double brownie sundae hangover | Main | suggestions for the consumer whore »

the SUV made me do it!

Bill Maher:

Yet another baby was found dead in a locked SUV. How come this always happens in SUVs? You never heard about somebody locking a baby in, say, a Toyota Prius, do you? Of course, one of the reasons this happens mostly in SUVs is because they're too high up to see inside. I mean, how do you explain forgetting a baby? It's not some Ethan Hawke movie you forgot to return to Blockbuster in the backseat, it's a living, drooling human being.

Ok, Bill. I'll bite. How come this always happens in SUVs? Oh, wait. It doesn't. See, this one died in a Mitsubishi sedan. This one died in a minivan, which is not really an SUV. This one died in a simple old car, not an SUV.

The title of Maher's post is SUVs = Trouble.

It seems to me that the problem is not SUVs, it is inattentive parents and caregivers. I don't care if you own a Hummer the size of Texas, you don't forget your baby is in the car simply because you can't see them. You forget because you are thinking of something else, or rushing somewhere or just not thinking at all.

Sometimes the parent or caregiver leaves the child in the car on purpose while they go shop or gamble or drink. That is bad parenting, it has nothing to do with what type of car you own.

I found fifteen more stories about children who died from being left in hot cars (and also several about children who died after being left in cars in frigid temperatures). These were sedans and sports cars; Hondas, Saturns and the like. Maher only had to do a little bit of research before he went off and claimed that SUVs are to blame for the deaths of these poor children.

Once again, the far left - of which Maher is a card-carrying member - blame something other than the person at fault. I'm waiting for the inevitable class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of SUV owners whose children died in that horrible way, claiming that they made the cars too big or too wide or the seat backs too high.

It's just another case of Maher and his like wanting to blame the ills of the world on SUV owners. It's the parents and caregivers, stupid. Not the car.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference the SUV made me do it!:

» Blame Where Blame Is Due from Absinthe & Cookies (a little bit bitter, a little bit sweet)
Michele posts about Bill Maher and his asinine assertion that SUVs are to blame for the deaths of children whose [Read More]


Kids dying has got to be the auto industry's fault, they are all big, fat, white, rich, Republicans. Don't you remember, EVERYTHING is their fault. It certainly can't be the fault of their poor, lowly, crackhead parents.

I heard some guy got killed in New York the other night. I reckon New York should be boycotted.

My only complaint re: SUVs (and large pick-up trucks, which are more abundant in Austin) are those drivers that are under the delusion that said vehicles are "compact cars" for the purpose of parking garages. Compact compared to a bulldozer or 18-wheeler, perhaps.

My solution to the pseudo-epidemic: all children should be ferried around on Vespa scooters. And cancel Bill Maher's cable modem service.

Why do I have the funny feeling that Mr. Maher was simply too lazy or too ideologically hidebound to research the following:

1. The ratio of SUVs to all vehicles vs. ratio of baby deaths in SUVs to baby deaths in all vehicles

2. Whether the demographics of SUVs owners (% having babies/small children) differ in a statistically significant way from non-SUV owners

However, he did research the following:

3. Whether SUVs exert some Exorcist-like influence over their owners or whether SUV owners are just inherently stupid and/or evil.

While he was unable to reach a firm conclusion, Mr. Maher was able precisely ascertain whether SUV owners are stupid or evil. Let's peer inside the mind of a genius:

"They can't be stupid because SUVs cost boodles o' dough and stupid people don't have boodles o' dough. No, wait, yes they do 'cause this is America and the 'winners of life's lottery', as Dick Gephardt likes to say, get all the dough and the rest of those poor saps who actually work get to drive a Ford Focus or a Pontiac Sunfire. Well, then SUV drivers must be evil. Boy, that was easy. It's fun being intellectually vapid. And lucrative, too, heh heh heh...."

It all comes back to oil. Bill of course drives an electric car, so of course he's a great person and thus, helps out Gaia. Add to the fact he has no kids, so his worries are less than, say Michele. So maybe, just a theory to think like them, if SUV drivers weren't worried about filling up their gas-guzzling SUV's, maybe Johnny and Sally wouldn't get the short-shrift. I know when I filled up my Explorer, I thought really hard about the earth while the precious petroleum entered my gas tank...

Uh, is it possible that Maher's comments re: SUVs are being taken a bit too literally, here? My take - besides the fact that it was a typically droll and unfunny Maheresque comment in the first place - was that Maher was sarcastically coming up with an excuse for how someone could forget about a baby in a car.

"I mean, how do you explain forgetting a baby? It's not some Ethan Hawke movie you forgot to return to Blockbuster in the backseat, it's a living, drooling human being." This puts the blame on the person, to my mind, and makes a point of the grotesque selfishness involved. The notion that SUV drivers are inherently selfish is a stereotype, and stereotypes are often the province of comedy. Often, some of us are offended when we're the target of sterotypes. Often, some of us need to get over it.

I think to get so sneery and snarly at the guy for things he didn't say - "Kids dying has got to be the auto industry's fault, they are all big, fat, white, rich, Republicans" - is a little bit over the top, at least in this case.

i have yet to come to an understanding as to how this guy got his own TV show. maybe i never will. i hope not cuz i'm worried that if i ever do understand the "why" my brain will reject it by initiating self-destruct.

"warning, you have reached an understanding that was never meant to be understood. this brain will self-destruct in 5 seconds. have a nice day"

The easiest solution to the problem of children dying in locked and overheated cars is to chain the kids to the bumper instead.

Bill Maher has a long history of saying exactly what he means.

Does he have that right? Yes.
Do I have to listen to it? No.
Is his show still on Network TV? NO.

Now I only have to hear about his ill-informed snarkiness third hand, and it's still enough to drive up my blood pressure.

It happens because they're too high to see inside?

Who has ever said to themselves, "Hmmm, did I bring the baby or not? I better look inside, because I'm not sure."

You either remember the baby, or, if you're a total idiot, you forget the baby. It doesn't occur to you to look inside to see if you did or did not.

Let me take a wild guess: Maher does not have kids.

I completely agree with you. But I must make a confession. I owned an SUV (Jeep Grand Cherokee). It's really just a way of owning a station wagon without admitting it's a station wagon. I think it's an age-denial kind of thing.

considering the moments of panic I get when I think "OMG, did I leave my purse in the grocery cart at the store" (leading me to pull off at the next exit, pull into a parking lot, and CHECK), I can't imagine someone leaving a baby in a car for hours on end.

I mean, that's like a nightmare I have. But only as a nightmare.

and yet, people do it.

don't those people think, maybe 10 minutes into the situation, "Wait...I don't hear any noise. Where's that baby at?"

sometimes, I hate to say it, but I wonder if the kids are left to roast accidentally on purpose.

What does it mean to be a "card-carrying member" of the Left? Where do you get the cards and who hands them out? What do you have to do to get one? Is "card carrying member" the highest honor? Why carry the card? Does it get you seated fast at the best restaurants? Do you get discounts on oil changes? Do those who carry the cards look down on those who leave them in a drawer at home? Do they need to be renewed? Is there a charge?

Anyway, Bill Maher was making a joke. It just wasn't funny is all.

There's a fairly interesting article on this topic today at ABCNews.com.

Only one of the four specific cases cited involved an SUV. Imagine that.

We do a bit on the show called "The Blame Game" where we have callers try and guess who's to blame for various problems.

The theme is always "Whatever your problem, it's never your fault."

I love that bit, but we haven't done it in awhile because we don't have any prizes to give away. It's not my fault though... it's those darn promotion people.

Back to Laurence's comment on chaining the kids to the bumper, hell that would also aleviate the "Our kids are obese!!" problem, the cardio exercise required to keep up with the van would burn that budda belly off the kids pretty quick.

I still think Maher's a muppet, the last creation of Jim Henson. Henson looked at his Maher muppet and realized his creativity had hit an all-time low, so he died, leaving the world to deal with his diabolical muppet spawn. Even the Swedish Chef and Animal hate the Maher muppet, and that's saying something, because they like EVERYONE.

OK, maybe I'm the one who doesn't get Maher's comments. I'm thinking it's a stupid and unfunny comedy number, but I guess I missed the part where it's a far-left screed against SUVs and automakers and Republicans - not to mention one worth responding to with shrill righty-blogger screeds.

"Once again, the far left.... blame something other than the person at fault." Was this the part where Maher blamed something other than the person at fault: "It's not some Ethan Hawke movie you forgot to return to Blockbuster in the backseat..."? Who is the 'you' referenced therein? The SUV? Did the SUV forget to return the Ethan Hawke movie? Maybe the automakers forgot to return it. Or maybe it was Bush. I just don't get it, I guess.

Maybe this comment - much like Maher himself - oughtn't be taken so seriously.

Three points: 1) I once ran into Baskin & Robbins to pick up some ice cream to take home. When I came out, I saw saw my son sitting in the car seat in the back of the car -- whoops! But a) It was not a bazillion degrees out; it wasn't even hot, and b) I was only in the store 5 or ten minutes at most. I don't know how people shop for even a half hour or more with their children in the car, even on a cool day.
2) You've all forgotten the real culprit: the hot sun! Yeah, that's the ticket! Just prevent summer from getting real hot, and this won't happen anymore, yeah! Appoint a Congressional Climate Control Committee, yeah... Launch a national campaign to bring an end to hot summers... Tax businesses that let people shop more than half an hour [so the chance that a child will be left in a car will be eliminated, get it?]
3) Why in the world are you even reading that asshat's weblog, anyway?

What about little kids who choose not to go with their moms into a grocery store and wanted to stay in the car? Or just wanted to be alone in a car for awhile? Is it their fault if they die, because say they closed the windows because they saw some creepy guy walking around? Or is the parent who agrees to letting them stay in the car at fault?

How the Hell do you get anything as big as a baby into a Prius in the FIRST place is what I wanna know!

Er, that was me up above, by the way.

Seriously, relax. It was an admittedly unfunny joke, at worst.

Also, isn't Bill Maher a card-carrying libertarian? It's hardly the same as being a socialist, at least it was last I checked.

Yeah, a libertarian who voted for Ralph Nader...hm, seems about right.

And don't forget, his favorite charity is PETA (at least that what his charity was when competing on Jeopardy!).... At this time, he seemed fairly libertarian as the host of Pol. Inc. during it's time on Comedy Central. I suspected his libertarian, balanced host was an act (because of the PETA thing), and have been proven right when the show shifted to ABC... and even more right now that he's on HBO!

SUVs are dangerous. not because of anything BM said...

but because you all drive like assholes.

why do they even bother putting mirrors on those things? it's not like any of you even look before switching lanes.

and for your information, Sequoias, Expeditions, Navigators... none of those qualify as "compact cars". i know you'll try to park in the compact zone.

ok, maybe not all of you are assholes. 99.2% tho. michele, i'm hoping you're in the .8%.

Aren't 99.2% of all drivers assholes? Sure seems that way sometimes.

I drive an SUV (a definite driving benefit here in Alaska) and I sure as shootin' use my mirrors for all the good they do. I can't change lanes without looking over my shoulder to check for the yahoo camped out in my blind spot. Don't even get me started on the dork in his low-slung penis car who's following so close, I can barely see him through the rear window.

For the record, I never forgot my children were in the back seat...but then SUVs weren't really the big deal when my children were so young. I don't imagine it making one whit of difference.

Mikey, if you will forgive me for saying this, you have it 180 degrees backwards. It is the drivers of dinky little economy cars who drive like assholes.

It is almost always someone squirting around in some little beer can of a car whom I notice pulling out to pass on a two-lane with 10 or more vehicles ahead of him, counting on his small size, and the alertness and reflexes of another, to be able to squeeze in someplace if he misjudged how much room he had to pass. It is, in my experience, the drivers of small cars who arrogantly fit themselves in the space a tractor-trailer makes to turn right, only to get themselves in a jam because small car drivers, as a breed, lack the intelligence to know not to get between and eighteen-wheeler which is turning right and the curb.

Gee, making gratuitous assertions is fun! I must do it again sometime.

I must agree with you, however, about parking in a compact space--I believe that even the drivers of abnormally small, unsafe cars deserve to have a place to park, too.

why spend so much time dissecting a lame joke where the set up doesn't even set up the punch?
i can't believe that you guys take maher seriously at all.

then again i'm the one who's spent the last 15 minutes reading this.

but whoever commented about the difficulties of fitting anything as big as a baby into a prius was damn funny.

i have to go watch 'office space' for the 39th time now.

Aren't 99.2% of all drivers assholes? Sure seems that way sometimes.

"Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14% of people know that." - Homer Simpson

A number of people have asked why so many of us jumped to the conclusion that Maher meant his "joke" to be pointed at SUV owners rather than stupid people who leave kids in cars for hours.

Simple, we've heard some of his other statements which he made in all seriousness. Like, he once said that if his father had cancer and killing a dog could save him, well, so long Dad. Or the famous one he tried to wiggle out of, suicide bombers have courage but pilots of air-strike bombers are cowards. Or...

Well, anyway, on its own it could just mean "car" but when combined with his history it does not.

And SUV's are popular in large part because the greens have ensured that the station wagon is no longer economically worth making, if even possible. I'd love a Mercedes mini-cooper, but where do you put the kids and groceries? Or pets? Oh, BTW, ol' Bill also disapproves of "enslaving animal companions". Basically, while seeming intelligent, he also seems a few Maraschino cherries short of even a fruitcake.

Bill Maher is a waste of oxygen.

Bill Maher - "fair and balanced" or "a lying liar who tells lies"?

i see your point, but my point is, why give him the free publicity? you are just granting importance to his words.

The only reason that I can figure out for Bill to even have a show is because the leftists who run the networks know he pisses off constitutionalists and conservatives. He isn't funny. He isn't talented nor is he witty. Basically he is a bowlfloater adored by the left. Somewhat like Michael Moore and Al Franken. Quick, somebody flush three times.

I think everyone here missed the point. Maybe because I'm one of the few lefties or libertarians, whatever. Labels aren't important anymore. Oh wait yes they are.

Sorry. I think Bill Maher's point wasn't that people forget to take the kids out of the car, but that since the car is so high up, other people walking by can't see inside of the vehicle. God forbid anyone does leave a child inside a car, but if they do, they are much more likely to find a baby inside a lower car than an SUV.