[guest post by Dana]
Last night’s Golden Globe Awards show opened with a caustic bang as British comedian Ricky Gervais delivered a take-no-prisoners monologue that sliced and diced Hollywood’s elite, proving that, as he repeatedly proclaimed, he really doesn’t care anymore:
Absolutely savage. pic.twitter.com/xxk3LgQou3
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) January 6, 2020
Sparing no one, Gervais took particular aim at Hollywood’s sanctimonious compulsion to lecture others on how they should live in spite of their own rank hypocrisy, and summed up his take with this beautifully aimed barb:
So if you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public about anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.
Cue the outraged response. Los Angeles Times media critic Lorraine Ali was dismayed by the comedian’s failure to recognize the “sober mood” of the evening:
The #GoldenGlobes mood was already sober thanks to an impeachment, threat of war with Iran and Australian bush fires. The last thing anyone needed was Ricky Gervais there, telling them they sucked. https://t.co/58PAMOikhu
— Lorraine Ali (@LorraineAli) January 6, 2020
What, your sober moods aren’t punctuated by sipping fine champagne and partying with the elite while wearing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of designer couture and waving to fans as you strut down a red carpet before dining on chilled golden beet soup and king oyster mushrooms made to look like scallops, as you laugh and joke with your equally-precious colleagues??
Further validating Gervais’s correct take on the insular, self-important community of Hollywood and its collective lack of self-awareness, Ali writes :
The last thing anyone needed was for the smirking master of ceremonies to reprimand them for having hope, or taunt the room for trying to use their influence to change things for the better.
Suffice it to say that it’s not surprising that a media critic would be unwilling to be an equal-opportunity critic, and would rather avert her own haughty eyes to that which is painfully obvious: Gervais wasn’t taunting the audience for having “hope”. He was taunting them for their smug hypocrisy, hectoring, and self-aggrandizement. Her response clearly demonstrates the need for a public figure who truly doesn’t care and is willing to be pull back the curtain, no matter the professional repercussions. Ali also assumes that the political policies that Hollywood advocates for would change things for the better, while ignoring that a huge swath of the population view those policy preferences as anything but changing things for the better. And the fact that Ali refuses to acknowledge that is yet another reason why watching Gervais publicly pull the mask off of a tone-deaf and insular community is so delicious. Yet as Gervais is cheered on by average Americans, there will no doubt be accusations that his fans are displaying little more than bitter envy at a privileged community of money, power, and position. For those who do make such accusations, all I can say is, you are only reinforcing the absolute rightness of Gervais’ commentary.
You can read the full transcript of Ricky Gervais’ opening monologue here.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)