William F. Buckley has one of the finest minds of anybody in public life; I watched "Firing Line" when I was in high school, not because I understood the politics but because I'd always hear words I had to look up. Bill Maher is the smuggest dunce on TV, which is quite the achievement. Guess who comes out looking better?
Belloc once observed that "We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we tolerate him; in the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh, we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond: and on these faces there is no smile."