More on the Gervais Controversy

I watched Ricky Gervais on Piers Morgan's new show last night, and he was offensive in the worst possible way.  He declared himself an atheist, refused to apologize for anything he said at the Golden Globes, stated he did nothing wrong, defended himself, questioned why religion has the monopoly on being "good," stated (like I had earlier) that nobody had a right not to be offended, and did not repent.

Obviously, I'm being sarcastic when I say he was offensive.  He defended himself the absolute best way I've ever seen a celebrity do so under the same kind of fire.  I applauded him.  Here was a guy who knew who he was, knew that comedy was an art and was able to articulate why, refused to admit that the religious were the only people who could be good (and he had the best answer to that age-old question geared to atheists I've ever heard in the mass media).  He was, as Girl put it, "open and honest."  And it was damn refreshing.

He continually stated he did nothing wrong and nothing was sacred.  He was centered and self-actualized.  He knew what worked in his comedy, and stated he didn't care what people thought of him.  That wasn't his problem.  He also stated that when he did his comedy the only person he cared about making laugh was himself.  It sent chills down my broken spine.  This is exactly how the arts should be.  As soon as you start caring about what the public or even your audience thinks, and then start tailoring your work to that, you are doomed.

I know that some of you reading this are artists.  If you are worth anything at your craft, you know this to be true.  I also know some of you are pure entertainers (I'm not making a judgment call this time, Bryan), and you may not even care about the artistic side of things.  All good.  Some of you may have no idea what I'm prattling on about, and that's okay, too.  (I'm being super diplomatic this time, perhaps because I'm in pain and have already resigned today into the dustbin as I have a training to look forward to.)  You don't need to get it, but you do need the artists you admire to get it.  That is absolutely essential.

I'm glad Gervais refused to apologize.  I'm glad he made people uncomfortable.  I'm glad Morgan didn't let up on him, demanding through sane, pleasantly asked questions, that he justify himself.  Why?  Not because I wanted to see Gervais squirm (he didn't).  Because I knew Gervais could do it, and you rarely hear it done.  Too many people apologize for what they have said and done, blame it on one such thing or another, and act contrite.  Not many people buy it.  Gervais, on the other hand, stated flatly that he has nothing to apologize for and won't. 

Thank you, Ricky Gervais.  You get your art.  You get what it means.  You speak your mind and remain true to yourself, and by doing so you make it so that nobody can really hold anything over you.  If more artists spoke out with the same candor, we may have a society that actually reaches my expectations of what we can be.  Instead, we have a culture of self-entitled, self-important, hypocritical, happy-to-be-victims, offended-at-the-drop-of-a-hat, apologetic folks who wouldn't know truth if it slowly chewed open their necks.

Cheers, mate.

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