Earlier this week when Ricky Gervais' new stand up special "SuperNature" dropped on Netflix, I wrote about the immediate, predictable, online backlash from people objecting to him making these LGBTQ-related jokes. Rest assured, the few, the proud, who have sworn an oath to protect the public from comedy are first-responding well beyond simply taking to Twitter. They've pulled on the kevlar riot gear, strapped up, and answered the call of duty so we citizens can sleep peaceably tonight.
First. by taking out that symbol of oppression, the park bench Netflix had put in the town where Gervais' show Afterlife, about a guy who's suicidal after losing his wife to cancer, takes place:
Source - A bench inspired by the final series of a Ricky Gervais TV show about loss has been broken into bits by vandals.
The After Life bench in Nottingham's Arboretum was one of 25 donated to councils by streaming service Netflix and suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
Nottingham City Council said the vandalism over the weekend was "unacceptable and heart-breaking". ...
The authority said the bench was donated to the park in January via the Ricky Gervais show Afterlife.
And once they were done tearing down the fascist infrastructure that allowed sad, tired people to get off their feet and stare at trees, they took the fight right to Netflix. Sure, millions of people are entertained by Gervais' comedy. As they did Dave Chappelle's last couple of specials. But the scolds are not going to take this fight sitting down. The war on your enjoyment knows no borders. So some of the former employees who protested Chappelle are going to battle the old fashioned way: Anonymously bellyaching to a website willing to publish their drivel.
Daily Beast -Ricky Gervais’ transphobic Netflix special might be stirring up controversy, but its release should surprise absolutely no one.
After several controversies surrounding anti-trans programming, especially Dave Chappelle’s latest comedy special, The Closer, Netflix appears to have decided that bigotry masquerading as “free speech” can be a virtue, as long as audiences keep tuning in. …
“There’s this intentional doubling down—like, We do controversial things; you deal or you don’t deal,” a former employee told The Daily Beast. “I think Chappelle was the tipping point of them finally taking a stand instead of trying to kind of waver in the middle.”
The shift has not been subtle. In fact, Netflix enshrined its embrace of laissez-faire discourse in its recently updated culture memo, which now tells employees that they “may need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful."
The horror. Imagine the arrogance of an entertainment streaming service putting out content that the vast majority of their subscribers find entertaining. Then using a flimsy excuse like (quote) free speech (end quote) to justify content that hundreds in the audience and millions at home at laughing balls at because it's objectively funny. With no regard for the gatekeepers inside and out of the company who want an end to that fun and want it to end now.
So I guess this means Netflix is coming down on the side of letting grownups decide what they want to watch instead leaving it up to a few drones with liberal arts degrees who work (remotely) in the HR department and couldn't produce enough comedy to hold an audience's attention to survive five minutes at an Open Mic Night?
I'm a below average Catholic who sat back helplessly while Gervais took a flamethrower to Christianity. Which is to say, I sat back on the couch and was helpless because I was laughing my ass off. And believe that if my Lord and Savior who died for my sins was there (He's everywhere, afterall), He'd have forgiven me and laughed too, because we are pretty silly. And it was funny. But even if I wanted to file a grievance, I guess the Lord and I don't get to dictate what everyone else gets to enjoy anymore, thanks to the world's leading streamer's now "laissez-faire discourse." Chappelle was the tipping point.
The article goes on to talk about three Netflix employees who were let go after organizing protests and walking off the job:
As inevitable as they might seem in retrospect, however, the Netflix layoffs are also part of a bigger fight—one between a public that recognizes the real-world harm that hateful content creates, and Silicon Valley’s libertarian worship of “free speech” above all else.
Again, here's another blow to us all in the name of (quote) free speech (unquote). I guess this means that it's OK for a company to let you go, only because you form picket lines outside the building, publicly denouncing what they do. This mean you can't accuse your employers of being -ists and -phobes and expect they'll just automatically keep giving you the money you need to pay for your improv classes and feed your rescue emotional support Goldendoodle, and provide everything but the co-pay on your Dialectical Behavior Therapy sessions.
That might sound OK to some. But what if the content that they produce is wildly popular with a general audience and generates all the company revenue is something you don't approve of? Can you force them to stop because you don't like it?
What if I don't like the fact that Steven Cheah gives the Patriots an F on the draft, and it causes me depression? Or if The Dog Walk guys only invite me on their podcast by mistake because they thought my "Jerry@" email belongs to Jersey Jerry, even though I've been here since the Bronze Age and Jersey just got here, and I consider that an example of Ageism? If I see Dave Portnoy sitting courtside at a Celtics playoff game in Miami while I'm sitting on a ratty couch in the basement of my split level, then go to New York, make signs about the unfairness of it, and march up and down outside Barstool HQ demanding he stop, does this mean gets to just say "Have fun working for Bleacher Report" and fire me? Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.
These are sad days indeed. I guess the entertainment industry is starting to go by the Wrath of Khan theory, that says "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. It's getting so a miniscule percentage of humorless, self-important Thought Police can't prevent the masses from laughing at genuinely funny things any more. But they still have the power to vandalize our park benches. I don't know how see how civilization survives.