Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Dammit Gary Oldman. Why'd you have to say those things?
Oldman has long been one of my favorite actors. I dare anyone to watch The Professional and then the Batman movies, and find any resemblance between the evil cop Stansfield and the hero cop Commissioner Gordon. Oldman imbues each role with a personality that goes beyond what's written in the script. One is a monster, the other a saint, but they both feel real, thanks to Oldman's acting talents.
And now he says this:
"No one can take a joke anymore. I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things. We’re all fucking hypocrites. That’s what I think about it. The policeman who arrested him has never used the word nigger or that fucking Jew? I’m being brutally honest here."
"Mel Gibson is in a town that’s run by Jews and he said the wrong thing because he’s actually bitten the hand that I guess has fed him—and doesn’t need to feed him anymore because he’s got enough dough. He’s like an outcast, a leper, you know? But some Jewish guy in his office somewhere hasn’t turned and said, “That fucking kraut” or “Fuck those Germans,” whatever it is?"
Oh boy. Are people really still using the whole "The Jews run Hollywood" line? Forget about "political correctness," this is just a stupid, meaningless thing to say. What exactly are you getting at? That the titans of Hollywood don't decide which summer blockbuster to promote until they first consult with their rabbis? That because somebody's ancestor didn't stop the Romans from crucifying Jesus, they gained a superhuman ability to control the box office? That every Jewish child is guaranteed to get a starring role on the silver screen, so that movies can brainwash the populace into eating kosher? What do you mean that the "Jews run this town?" Did I miss the city ordinance that requires Christians to stitch crosses to their clothes if they want to walk the streets of L.A.?
Many of those in the entertainment field are Jewish. So what? I am Jewish and I am not in showbiz (yet). My grandfather was a taxi driver. His brother was an auto mechanic. Both Jewish, and yet, far from the limelight of Hollywood. (Although my great uncle did retire to southern California).
The line, "the Jews run Hollywood," is so inherently bigoted because of what it implies--a brainwashing agenda of some sort--that there's no defense for it. There are those who long for the days when nobody worried about being "politically correct." These people are racists and bigots.
Because that time those people are talking about? It's a time where nobody but white, male, Protestant people were in positions of power and influence. As long as you didn't insult THEM, you weren't at risk of consequences. Calling an Italian guy or a Polish guy or a Jewish guy by a derogatory slur was of no consequence--because no one was in a position to do anything about it.
Make no mistake though, if you had slurred your white male Protestant employers, you'd face consequences. At your job and in society.
Our society has changed. People in power are still mainly white male Protestants, but it's a more mixed lot. A racist joke faces greater scrutiny because more people offended by that joke are in a position to have their voice heard.
We have freedom of speech in this country, but not freedom from consequences. Mel Gibson had every right to say the shameful things he did-- and the Jewish people who often hired him for their movies had every right to say, "listen, you anti-Semitic fuckhead, we don't want to hire you again." There is nothing hypocritical in this arrangement. If you act like a complete ass in public, insult people, and sound like a raving lunatic, you probably don't deserve to be broadcast on a platform that reaches millions of people.
I am a Jewish guy, sitting in an office, and I can tell you, I've never said those words Gary Oldman assumes everybody says in private. People who say those things in private, and seriously mean them, are racists and bigots. Is Oldman saying EVERYBODY is a racist or bigot?
Keep in mind, Mel did not say this stuff in the privacy of his office either, and wasn't responding the the ethnic cleansing of his people by another ethnic group. In one case, he was insulting a police officer he assumed to be a Jew. In the other, he was threatening a woman with violence. This is defendable? People are hypocrites if they punish this behavior?
Now, with Alec, I can maybe see a point. Full disclosure, for many years, I used the f-g insult... Directed at straight, heterosexual douchebags who were itching for a fight. I justified using the term because I deemed it a bigger insult to a straight male than a homosexual one... There were few things you could say that would insult some meathead hothead more. I wasn't using it against gay people.
But then one day, a friend mentioned, in casual conversation, that someone had "Jewed him down." Growing up in a pretty Jewish, liberal area, I never heard that term before. He didn't intend it to insult me--"the guy wasn't even Jewish," he explained--but nevertheless, I reconsidered using ANY racial, ethnic, or sexual slur ever again. Some people, like Gary Oldman, apparently, call this "being PC." I call it, "not being a prick."
I really hope Gary was simply not thinking before talking, and that he really didn't mean to defend the words and actions of bigots by implying that everyone acts the same way. I sincerely hope he wasn't agreeing with Mel that "the Jews run Hollywood" is anything other than a loaded, ignorant statement that only serves to reflect badly upon the person saying it.
But he also bashed The Fifth Element, so even if that were the case, I'm not sure I'd be ready to forgive him.