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Plus ça change…

I’ve been rootling around in the Samizdata archives (more of which to come, perhaps) and I found this:

In the bubbled, hypocritical mind of some in Hollywood, the only reason Gervais crossed a line is because he went after them. Had he been as relentless in ripping apart Sarah Palin, her young children, Jesus Christ, or George W. Bush, today the comedian would be celebrated as “edgy” and “courageous” — because only in Hollywood is throwing red meat to a hard-left crowd considered “edgy” and “courageous.” But Gervais didn’t do that. Instead, he trained his satirical fire on Hollywood Power and today there’s serious talk about whether or not the comedian will be brought back to the Golden Globes next year as host.

As you can probably guess from the mentions of Sarah Palin and George W. Bush this is from a while ago – January 19th 2011, to be precise.

Ever got the feeling you’ve been cheated?

15 comments to Plus ça change…

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Artists like to claim that their art is supposed to be “challenging” and “transgressive”, but it only seems like you’re allowed to challenge and transgress against conservative white middle class Christian sensibilities.

  • Years ago, there was a piece of “art” called “Piss Christ” in which a crucifix was submerged in a bottle of the “artist’s” urine. I was arguing with a friend, who said she didn’t think it should have caused as much commotion as it did.

    “Piss Buddha?” I said. “Piss Mohammed?” “Piss Indian?” Suddenly she was enlightened.

    I loved arguing with that woman. She argued well and fair.

  • Paul Marks

    Both the above comments are good.

    As for Ricky Gervais – his own politics are on the moderate LEFT (it is not as if Hollywood was inviting a Conservative to speak to them), but he does not like the lecturing of people by Hollywood airheads and hypocrites – and he is not ‘correct’ not to like it.

    “Why do they not punish him – why do they invite him back?” seems to be your question Patrick. I think the answer is that he does not apologise.

    The normal pattern is for someone to be accused of “Hate Speech” – for that man or women to then apologise (seeking forgiveness) and then the left TEAR THEM TO PIECES, for the hard left have-no-mercy.

    With Ricky Gervais when the “apology” part of the process comes he does not apologise – he tells them to “FUCK OFF” (in those very words) and the hard left back down.

    I think Mr Gervais has noticed something about the hard left – they are not just cruel (indeed without mercy), they are also COWARDS. The hard left tend to back down if someone fights back strongly.

    If only people generally would follow his example – then, eventually, the power of the extreme, totalitarian (pro total state), left (the Guardian newspaper and so on) to drive people out of public life would be ended.

    But it is less difficult for someone of the moderate left to stand up to the extreme left – as their charges that he is “right wing” just raise laughter (laughter directed at the extreme left).

  • mila s

    Everyone is making out like he broke through security, took over the broadcast and shut down the whole of Hollywood from within.
    No, he got paid to host it for the fifth time and everyone knew they were going to get it.
    It is just a yearly ‘Roast’ segment that the more dim culture warriors seem to think is revolutionary.

  • It’s been suggested, tongue in cheek, that he be appointed to be Trumps press secretary.

  • TimRules

    Around the time when Brokeback Mountain came out (npi) and was being lauded as ‘brave’, etc., one critic (Mark Steyn?) pointed out that it was nothing of the sort: ironically, it would actually be brave to make a film where the point was that the protagonists were unapologetically old-fashioned (against gay marriage, abortion, whatever), as it would never stand the scrutiny of ‘progressives’.

  • Fraser Orr

    My kids’ school just sent out an invitation to attend a school wide discussion on which they are going to have a “brave conversation on race, ethnicity and diversity.”

    I’m not planning to go, because I think they are going to say really brave things like “black students should be treated equally”, and “Girls have just as much right to STEM as boys” and “trans-gendered students should not be bullied and discriminated against.” Such controversy might just be too brave for my timid little heart.

    I am glad to see that the bravery that won the second world war is still alive and well in America. Iwo Jima has nothing on these fearless warriors for the status quo and the blindingly obvious.

    “Brave”: one more word gutted of its meaning and thrown on the trash pile of history.

  • Flubber

    My observation about Ricky’s performance this year is that in roasts you’re laughing with someone; however Ricky didnt hide his abject loathing for the audience.

    It came across as if he genuinely hates the two faced Hollywood cocksuckers, and they realised this.

    It’s why they’ve already announced Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for next year.

    Wonder what the Hollywood Foreign Press were expecting?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Around the time when Brokeback Mountain came out (npi) and was being lauded as ‘brave’, etc., one critic (Mark Steyn?) pointed out that it was nothing of the sort”

    The point is it would have been brave once, 50 years ago. Once upon a time, the reaction to releasing an unapologetically pro-gay film would have been similar to the reaction you’d get today from an unironic, unapologetic anti-gay film.

    And this is the irony that neither side recognises. The young fail to realise they have become as censorious and repressive as the worst of the morality police of former times. The old fail to realise that they’re being copied, believing this to be something new.

    This is a story as old as humanity. The young rebel against the oppression of their parents’ generation, and then are shocked as their own children rebel against theirs. Fashions in acceptable behaviour change, but the methods of enforcing them remain the same.

    “I am glad to see that the bravery that won the second world war is still alive and well in America. Iwo Jima has nothing on these fearless warriors for the status quo and the blindingly obvious.”

    A better example would be the bravery of people like Rosa Parks and Alan Turing, and the Stonewall rioters, and Mary Edwards Walker. Before the 1960s, that *was* brave.


    As for Ricky Gervais, this is his act. (It may or may not be genuine.) I’m sure the Golden Globe organisers knew perfectly well what he was going to say, and I’m sure they’re very happy with all the publicity. And I daresay there are plenty of celebs who don’t like having to constantly walk the tightrope, either. To them, it is a requirement of the profession, of their self-promotion. You say whatever you need to say to get the jobs, and they’re usually excellent actors skilled at giving the impression they mean what they say. For *all* of Hollywood to be so liberal is – shall we say? – statistically unlikely. I dare say there are plenty of them quite happy for the Overton Window to be shifted back a little.

  • Paul Marks

    TimRules – quite correct.

    For example, the sight of David Cameron and “George” Gideon Osborne pretending to love “Brokeback Mountain” was pathetic – they were so desperate to appear “hip” and “with-it”, and this utterly conformist leftist work was (of course) hailed as “stunning and brave” – when it was the opposite.

    If Hollywood were to make a film where people with conservative social opinions (on abortion, homosexuality and so on) were portrayed as the good guys, now that would be “stunning and brave”.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “If Hollywood were to make a film where people with conservative social opinions (on abortion, homosexuality and so on) were portrayed as the good guys, now that would be “stunning and brave”.”

    Especially if they were Muslims…

  • Especially if they were Muslims… (Nullius in Verba, January 16, 2020 at 5:55 pm)

    As the saying goes, “If you’re so brave, say that about Islam.”

    Although the pedant in me wants to quibble that a film flattering ordinary Muslims and disdaining western soldiers who encounter them is perfectly possible – but it would avoid contrasting the two groups’ views “on abortion, homosexuality and so on”.

    That said, to be fair, the BBC did show ‘Real Housewives of ISIS’ (and got criticised by the usual suspects for being “insensitive”). So you could say they were a bit brave for a few minutes.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Since this debate is still going on, i have something to say to those who think that those at the receiving end of Ricky’s jokes weren’t perturbed:
    * Have you seen Tom Hanks’ face?
    * Do you really think that Tim Cook doesn’t mind that Apple is compared to ISIS?
    * Even if they were not perturbed, there were lots of other people (including Brits) who were outraged.

  • bobby b

    “Even if they were not perturbed, there were lots of other people (including Brits) who were outraged.”

    I read that article. It made me mourn the existence of the metaphor. So many words, so little content.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Although the pedant in me wants to quibble that a film flattering ordinary Muslims and disdaining western soldiers who encounter them is perfectly possible – but it would avoid contrasting the two groups’ views “on abortion, homosexuality and so on”.”

    Quite so. I just thought it amusing that “people with conservative social opinions (on abortion, homosexuality and so on)” would be a perfect description of Islam, which would get people from *both* sides of the political fence enraged if one was to produce a film depicting them as gay-bashing sexist heroes. *Doubly* brave.

    “Have you seen Tom Hanks’ face? Do you really think that Tim Cook doesn’t mind that Apple is compared to ISIS?”

    I think Tom Hanks is an actor, who knows what political views ensure a continued stream of extremely lucrative work by almost everybody’s standards (and I think the fact he can successfully pull that off while convincing everyone he’s a socialist who supports the downtrodden is testament to his acting skills), and Tim Cook has been called a lot worse, and has a stuffed-full inbox to prove it. They’re the super-rich, super-privileged, and they know it. Ricky’s speech isn’t going to have any lasting impact on their lives; why should they care?

    They probably didn’t find it funny, it’s like reading their own spam folder, but I’m sure they recognise somebody else’s publicity machine in action, and are willing enough to play along with the narrative. Awards shows are pure advertising for the acting industry. It’ll probably win them sympathy.

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