By Rachel Krueger
I don’t think Ricky Gervais is a homophobe. But in his Golden Globes opening monologue he delivered a right zinger that was entirely predicated on “gay” being an insult. Referring to Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor in I Love You, Phillip Morris, he quipped, ‘Two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay. So the complete opposite of two famous Scientologists, then.”
Zing, Tom Cruise and John Travolta. You two dudes like dudes, and that is a ridiculous and comical thing for two dudes to do.
On the one hand, Ricky Gervais is British, which means that he can literally say anything and at least one person in the room will laugh. Also, he is wildly successful, which means ditto. Also also, the entirety of the awards show was awesomely or uncomfortably (depending on your tastes) uncomfortable. And the fact that he meant Tom Cruise and John Travolta but didn’t say “Tom Cruise and John Travolta” but everyone metaphorically looked over at Tom Cruise and John Travolta means the joke landed. Successful joke, in that everyone got it. But not a successful joke, perhaps, in its pointed meanness.
Because, ok. I’m not a fan of making fun of the gays right now, but I support the idea of one day being able to do so. A sign of the General Non-Oppression of White People is how “cracker” carries no real insultory weight. We’ll have reached Utopia when we can good-naturedly josh the gays and no one’s hackles will rise because they can get married and be in the military and all-around be treated like people. We are, obviously, not there.
So until we’re there, I suggest passing on the “You’re so gay” comments. How about “You’re such a Real Housewife of New York,” for a change, or “You’re so Jersey Shore”? Things that are actually mean.