Friday, January 21, 2011

Conservatives: As Dumb As They Are Humorless

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” It seems like sound military advice, and from a pragmatic standpoint it is, but it makes for very awkward ideological bedfellows. Take, for instance, the recently slimmed down Ricky Gervais.

Like some of you, the unlucky ones, I was forced to watch the Golden Globes by my better half over the weekend. I don’t see what the point of it all is; if I cared to know who bought the award for best make-up in a 17th century period piece about whaling, I would google it the next day and know everything I wanted to know in 5 minutes. Instead, I watched a couple hours of… well, actually, some hilarious mocking of celebrities.

The newly fit and trim Ricky Gervais was portrayed in some media sources this past week as “going too far” or “malicious” or “mean-spirited.” If I could just find someone saying he’s jealous of the success of Hollywod stars, I would have the complete set of excuses parents give their kids for why they were bullied.

I suspect it was his shots at the Hollywood Foreign Press that got some media outlets to blast him as “going too far.” You can’t actually say out loud at the Golden Globes that the whole thing is rigged and based on bribery! That would be too… honest.

But I also noticed that most people laughed at his jokes, that most people (even the so-called “Hollywood elite”) thought he did a great job. In an article titled “Robert Downey Jr. Says Ricky Gervais ‘Mean-Spirited,’” no less than five A-Listers, ranging from Christian Bale and Al Pacino to a studio executive, all praised his performance. Clearly some of these people can take a joke.

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen even gave Ricky some gentle ribbing when Hanks said, “We recall when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby, but very kind comedian.” To which Tim Allen predictably (but with good timing) replied, “Neither of which he is now.” [Note: for more punch, you need to put “neither” at the end, like “Now, he’s neither.” This is probably why Tim Allen has only done children’s movies and cocaine in the past decade.]

Look at me ramble… so anyway, the strangest thing happened… I saw an article titled, “Conservatives Rally Behind Ricky Gervais.”

If I didn’t immediately think of the quote, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” I would have probably fallen into a catatonic stupor, with drool dribbling down my chin as I sat for hours trying to piece together how this could be. Ricky Gervais is liberal by English standards, which makes him Stalin by American standards.

So why on Earth are conservatives rallying behind him? But of course: he made fun of the evil Hollywood fascists who ruin this country for hard working, blue collar Americans! You know, those Hollywood types who portray working class people with such determination and heart… they’re what’s keeping everyone down! It’s not the people refusing to pay their workers a wage they can live on, it’s the fault of people playing pretend in California. Brilliant.

Plus, conservatives are on a sort of free-speech high. Not when it comes to criticizing Sarah Palin, but if you’re going to criticize someone they perceive as liberal, the right-wing base is ready to march behind you, denouncing the evils of political correctness. Right-wingers love free speech when it seems to be criticizing their “enemies.”

“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,’” writes John Nolte.

And here’s where I get confused… Ricky Gervais has, in the past, been even more relentless toowards both Palin and Bush, and he even ended the Golden Globes with this gem, “I’d like to thank God, for making me an atheist.” What’s more, I have never heard a comedian called “courageous.” What kind of straw-man argument is that? And Gervais was, in fact, specifically called “edgy” for his Golden Globes performance.

Underneath all of this is the great nontroversy of Ricky Gervais “not being allowed to host the Golden Globes again.” Well before the big night, Gervais had said publicly he wouldn’t host again. In a way, I think this decision influenced his choice to really lay it on thick that night. It’s like that soccer player who was playing in his last game (no clue what year or who it was, I think he was French… who cares, it’s soccer) and he head butted a guy.

So anyway, Ricky Gervais may enjoy a very brief conservative following in America to supplement his already huge following of liberals (who all still love him after his amazing night of celebrity roasting). However, as soon as those on the right find out he harbors the same (if not more) contempt for Christianity as he does for Scientology, or that he’s a ceaseless advocate for several common-sense and time-tested liberal policies from gun control to socialized medicine to welfare, I suspect conservatives will go back to crossing their arms and donning a stern, joyless expression.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this. I'm glad I'm not the only one to notice the general humorlessness of conservatism and its literalistic, out-of-context reading of public figures to determine political agenda. It's also Colbert's whole schtick -- pretending to be a humorless conservative wonk who takes his guests' comments literally and takes them to task for it. It's also the problem with every mis-forwarded conservative chain email I've received.


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