Well, if you’re going to make a change, it might as well be a BIG change. And this guy is swinging for the fences.
While being interviewed for a new film, Terry Gilliam pushes a ‘woke’ interviewer beyond her ideological comfort zone.
How much does a society have to change before an original member of Monthy Python — which had one movie banned in Scotland and Norway — gets bored with being offensive Maybe it has something to do with an entire generation being raised with ‘offended’ as practically the factory default setting.
It takes no effort at all to offend anyone anymore. Guys like him used to have to work at it to shock someone’s sensibilities. But now? Now, if you use the wrong pronoun and someone might be so offended that they’ slap you with criminal charges.
People are getting arrested for mean tweets. (Seriously.)
And a comic was charged because he trained his girlfriend’s dog to do the Nazi salute — which is the doggy equivalent of teaching your buddy’s parrot to say some kind of a naughty or embarrassing catchphrase. The Dog isn’t a Nazi, nor is the person ‘punking’ the pet owner.
But we live in an age where punchlines need to be explained (and sanitized) — ‘or else’.
There aren’t many with the guts of a Chappelle or a Gervais anymore. And those guys have already MADE their millions. ‘Cancel culture’ can’t destroy them the way it could ruin some others.
But — like them — Terry Gilliam is beyond the reach of any of Cancel Culture’s menacing threats. He’s already earned his place in Hollywood history and they have nothing else they can threaten him with. So he’s free to speak his mind.
“Don Quixote is a mad man,” says Gilliam, who has reluctantly deigned to talk about the film for a moment, “but his view of the world is a noble one. It’s about chivalry. It’s about rescuing maidens. All these wonderful ideas.” The film flits between the 17th century and the 21st. Is it about the clash between modern masculinity and old-fashioned ideals of manhood?
“There’s no room for modern masculinity, I’m told,” says Gilliam. “‘The male gaze is over,’” he adds, letting his derisive air quotes hover for a moment. He was trying to make a point with Angelica, though. Played by Joana Ribeiro, Angelica is a young woman who was in Toby’s film when she was 15. He told her she could be a star, but hasn’t spoken to her in the years since, and her attempts to make good on his prediction have failed. Now, she works as a model and an escort.
“In the age of #MeToo, here’s a girl who takes responsibility for her state,” says Gilliam. “Whatever happened in this character’s life, she’s not accusing anybody. We’re living in a time where there’s always somebody responsible for your failures, and I don’t like this. I want people to take responsibility and not just constantly point a finger at somebody else, saying, ‘You’ve ruined my life.’”
The conversation shifted to news of the day, including Weinstein and MeToo…
“There are many victims in Harvey’s life,” he adds, “and I feel sympathy for them, but then, Hollywood is full of very ambitious people who are adults and they make choices. We all make choices, and I could tell you who did make the choice and who didn’t. I hate Harvey. I had to work with him and I know the abuse, but I don’t want people saying that all men… Because on [the 1991 film] Fisher King, two producers were women. One was a really good producer, and the other was a neurotic bitch. It wasn’t about their sex. It was about the position of power and how people use it.”
…Gilliam mentions a famous actor he was speaking to recently. “She has got her story of being in the room and talking her way out. She says, ‘I can tell you all the girls who didn’t, and I know who they are and I know the bumps in their careers.’ The point is, you make choices. I can tell you about a very well-known actress coming up to me and saying, ‘What do I have to do to get in your film, Terry?’ I don’t understand why people behave as if this hasn’t been going on as long as there’ve been powerful people. I understand that men have had more power longer, but I’m tired, as a white male, of being blamed for everything that is wrong with the world.” He holds up his hands. “I didn’t do it!”
The interviewer describes trying to harangue him on the issue of white privilege and patriatchy or some such, and then he interrupts.
“It’s been so simplified is what I don’t like. When I announce that I’m a black lesbian in transition, people take offence at that. Why?”
Because you’re not.
“Why am I not? How are you saying that I’m not?”
“You’ve judged me and decided that I was making a joke.”
You can’t identify as black, though.
“OK, here it is. Go on Google. Type in the name Gilliam. Watch what comes up.”
What’s going to come up?
“The majority are black people. So maybe I’m half black. I just don’t look it.”
The interviewer is clearly made uncomfortable by where Gilliam is going here.
Then Terry baits the hook:
“I’m talking about being a man accused of all the wrong in the world because I’m white-skinned. So I better not be a man. I better not be white. OK, since I don’t find men sexually attractive, I’ve got to be a lesbian. What else can I be? I like girls. These are just logical steps.” They don’t seem logical. “I’m just trying to make you start thinking. You see, this is the world I grew up in, and with Python, we could do this stuff, and we weren’t offending people. We were giving people a lot of laughter.”
The interviewer then adds in a condescending paragraph judging his motives before adding what he said next, not realizing that she was condemning own attitudes in the process:
I’m into diversity more than anybody,” he says, “but diversity in the way you think about the world, which means you can hate what I just said. That’s fine! No problem. I mean, you can believe whatever you want to believe, but fundamentalism always ends up being, ‘You have to attack other people who are not like you,’ and that’s what makes me crazy. Life is fantastic, it’s wonderful, it’s so complex. Enjoy it and play with it and have fun.
She’s not much of an interviewer if she was blindsided by that comment. It was hardly the first time he’d said that. He was ‘taking flack’ in 2018 for saying something very similar.
Allen said that if the comedy troupe were to form now, ‘it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes. It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world’.
Speaking at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Gilliam replied: “You know I no longer want to be a white male and be blamed for everything; I tell the world I am a BLGT, Black Lesbian in Transition and my name is Loretta.
“Comedy is not assembled – a boy, a girl, white, black, a dog… I want to be trans-species. Transgender is not enough.” —Yahoo
Any actual FAN of Monty Python should have instantly recognized his reference to Loretta which showed that Monty Python’s cultural predictions were far better than Nostradamus.
It was one of those ‘teaching moments’ one that was almost certainly lost on her. Too bad. She missed out on something pretty important.
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by Doug Giles
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