Port: 'You're in no position to lecture the public about anything'
MINOT, N.D. — Three cheers for Ricky Gervais who, at last night's Golden Globes, delivered a harangue on Hollywood hypocrisy for the ages.
Here's the video of his open, in case you missed it. Which you probably did because, seriously, who actually watches the Golden Globes? I certainly didn't.
"You're in no position to lecture about anything," Gervais told a room full of celebrities who are wont to just that on the political topics of the day. "You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg. So if you win, all right, come up, accept your little award, thank your agent and your God, and [expletive deleted]."
I've got goosebumps.
The organizers of the awards show decided that this year's meal for attendees would include only vegetables because climate change. A principled stand which was undermined more than a little bit by the fact that flowers for the show were flown in from Ecuador and Italy .
That's the sort of thing Gervais is talking about, right?
He tore into Apple, accusing them of employing "sweatshops in China" with CEO Tim Cook looking on. He said Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was so long that, at the premier, Leonardo DiCaprio's date actually became too old for him.
He unloaded on celebrities generally for standing tall on principle until it comes time to sign a new contract with some corporate behemoth.
"If ISIS started a streaming service, you’d call your agent, wouldn’t you?" he asked the audience.
The jabs didn't stop after his opening, either. Here's Gervais, introducing the last award of the evening, and accusing Hollywood of keeping their eyes shut while Harvey Weinstein ran wild:
"I didn't do it, you did it," Gervais told the audience as they groaned.
Nor was Gervais the only star wanting to talk about Hollywood hypocrisy. Joaquin Phoenix got the musical hook after his meandering speech strayed into wondering why so many climate change woke celebrities are flying to Palm Springs on private planes.
What Gervais had to say was funny, but it matters to. It was a heavy dose of truth for an industry, a community, badly in need of it.
Like it or not, but Hollywood activism isn't just annoying. It has an impact on our day-to-day lives. In the 2018 election cycle North Dakota saw a ballot measure to amend our state constitution creating new ethics laws and an ethics commission. It's terrible public policy - the ACLU has highlighted the very real risks it poses to free political speech going forward - and now we're stuck with it.
Who were the folks who bankrolled the initiative? Who paid the professional signature collectors to gather signatures and stick that crap sandwich on the ballot?
At this point you're probably thinking that I don't like Hollywood activism because I'm a conservative, and Hollywood is thoroughly left-wing. That's not it. I'm not particularly enamored with the much rarer conservative celebrity loudmouths either (including the one we elected to the White House), and I'm not sure why our liberal friends should want their political ideas associated with these dingbats anyway.
Every single one of us has the right to express our points of view. That's the whole 1st amendment thing, right? But Hollywood needs to stop acting like their points of view matter more than ours because their work in the entertainment industry gives them a louder voice.
And we, the general public, to stop caring so much what they say.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, a North Dakota political blog, is a Forum Communications commentator. Listen to his Plain Talk Podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RobPort.