Earlier this week, Mos Def appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher (SIDENOTE: turns out Real Time with Bill Maher is still on the air. So, the more you know, bong-bing-bong-booong) on a panel with Salman Rushdie and Christopher Hitchens. Eventually, the conversation turned to Al Qaeda, as conversations so often do, 9/11, Never Forget, and that’s when things got kind of ugly. Mos Def’s position seems to be that he’s unwilling to take a political position on the Taliban and Al Qaeda until he’s shown some unmediatized source material on who they are, where they’re coming from, what they want, and how those things conflict with what the world he wants to live in. Christopher Hitchens takes the counter-argument of “Mos Def is a fucking idiot.” To be fair to Christopher Hitchens, Mos Def’s suggestion that there hasn’t been enough information on Al Qaeda is thin, due to the fact that it’s false, and does make him sound intellectually inadequate to the conversation at hand. And while I get what he’s saying about distrusting the media to the point of not believing the subtitles on a Bin Laden video, come on now, Mos Def. But at the same time, the argument that you want all the information before you take a position on a particular issue, even the issue of Al Qaeda (a.k.a. the scariest issue!), and that you’re not going to just demonize a group because Bill Maher tells you to seems totally legitimate and not mockery-worthy.
And to be fair to Mos Def, FUCK CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS. That guy. If you look up “condescension” in the dictionary, there’s a picture of him but you can barely make it out through the grease stain.
An extended clip after the jump of these two mind titans cold sparring.
So now the internet is asking whether or not Mos Def was set up, which he himself alludes to at the end of this clip, suggesting that Bill Maher did, in fact, want a mean-spirited dough-faced bully dripping with half-lidded disdain to dickslap him on national TV to get attention. Which is fair. Did anyone even remember that this show existed? No. So was he set up? Team Ben or Team Widmore? Personally, I don’t even think Mos Def comes off that badly. I think that he takes his overly simplistic babe in the woods argument and runs with it a little too long, like kind of into the ground too long, but better that than Christopher Hitchens, who if you listen to what he’s saying doesn’t actually say anything at all, but still somehow manages to come off as the most insufferably egotistical puffed up asshole. And just mean! Take that mean puffed up asshole to a doctor and have it looked at. And by looked at I mean bombed. Bomb him. (Thanks for the tip, Sam.)