Afflecktations: The 5 Stages Of A Ben Affleck Live TV Meltdown

Bill Maher was the subject of some not-so-great headlines last week after he called female genital mutilation an "Islamic problem" (among other comments on his Friday night HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher) and, subsequently, got smacked down pretty hard by Reza Aslan. Unsurprisingly, the subject came on again last night between Maher and author Sam Harris (most recently, Waking Up: A Guide To Spirituality Without Religion and most notably, 2004's The End of Faith) — oh, and Ben Affleck, who was making the Maher stop on his rounds for Gone Girl.
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Maher and Harris discussed, as Harris puts it, "this meme of Islamophobia where every criticism of the doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people," and Affleck jumped right in with a passionate POV. He didn't hesitate to call Harris' statements flat-out racist, likening it to calling someone a "shifty Jew." To which Harris replied: "We have to be able to criticize bad ideas...and Islam is the motherlode of bad ideas." You can imagine how things went from there (or you could actually watch it in the video above).
Affleck is usually cool and composed in live interviews, but this — an argument over not only the reception and treatment of Islam in American intellectual circles but also the responsibilities of liberals in general — was a notable exception, even considering his previous engagements in such discussions. The actor has always built his public identity around liberal politics (you might recall his appearance on The O'Reilly Factor). This clip, however, is a classic example of the Möbius strip of polarizing political rage that live TV debates often are.
Is Affleck right or wrong here? It's an extremely nuanced and emotional discussion, and undoubtedly his heart is very much in the right place. And, it's actually refreshing to see someone ditch the armchair courtesies and really just go for it. But, agree with him or not, this debate is pure textbook when it comes to characterizing the five stages of showy political arguments on American TV. Ahead, a detailed analysis of Affleck's affectations — Afflecktations, if you will — during this segment as a guide for your own future TV outbursts.
leaninImage: Via YouTube.Stage 1: The Furrowed Brow
Begin your argument by showing your indignance through a deeply furrowed brow. Each furrow represents 10 units of moral superiority.
distanceImage: Via YouTube.Stage 2: Staring Off Into The Distance In Total Disbelief At What Your Opponent Is Saying
Extra points if you mutter "Jesus Christ..." under your breath.
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FurrowedbrowImage: Via YouTube.Stage 3: The Concerned Lean-In
Display condescending confusion by leaning in — the pre-Sheryl Sandberg definition.
cryingImage: Via YouTube.Stage 4: Private Grief
Step back from the situation and evaluate your next move by placing your head in your hands. Shedding a single tear in exasperation is optional but encouraged.
mimeImage: Via YouTube.Stage 5: Descent Into Pantomime
Imitate and, hopefully, intimidate your opponent using flashy gestures and a tone that drips sarcasm onto your three-piece suit. Don't worry about Michael Steele over there, he's just surprised by your hitherto-unknown skill as a mime.
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