Ordinarily, I’m on the side of the poor, the beaten-down, the marginalized. In short, the outsiders.
But this week, what’s on my mind is something a little on the opposition side, or what I’d like to think of as the middle.
Most everyone who knows me would describe me as a Lefty, or a progressive. And God knows I’ve taken some risks in the name of my belief system. However, I’m seeing more and more evidence that some of my fellow progressive types are so extreme, so intolerant, and so utterly humorless, that they’re nearly as bad as those on the far right.
This weekend I came across some tweet storms among people debating some comments from comedy legend John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, as well as Fawlty Towers, and movies like A Fish Called Wanda.
Now, I’ll admit I’ve got a soft spot for old Cleese. Not only was he my favorite of the Pythons, but also a favorite interviewee. The guy has always been, to me, both hilarious and brilliant. Well, evidently he got some heat because he made a comment that was dismissive of trans people. And someone on Twitter took a poke at him by implying that he was no longer “relevant.”
Woke Vs. Comatose
Look, I get it: gay people, trans people, people of color…everyone who isn’t a straight white male has been somehow marginalized in the past, and even the present. I’m on your side. But here’s the thing.
When I go on social media these days, I frequently see people fighting about pronouns at a time when we here in the United States, anyway, are teetering on the brink of collapse into a right-wing authoritarian police state. Would it be “dismissive” of me to suggest that maybe we’re focusing a teensy bit too much on things not quite as important as that?
Seriously, I do understand that these things are important. I’m 100% in favor of women’s right to choose, of people’s right to love and/or marry whomever they want, of the need for people to feel like they can be themselves. I am on board with all of that.
But man, oh man, you’ve got to be in one hell of a comfortable little safe space bubble to spend much time arguing about pronouns or what senior comedians think while we’re all in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and a possible coup that takes down the original U.S. of A.
Where I’m Going With This
So I scrolled through old Cleese’s Twitter feed, and found a few more nuggets. He mentioned the “sanctimoniousness and narcissistic posturing” of “the wokes,” but he also noted he is “not that interested in trans folks” but hopes “they’re happy and that people treat them kindly.” Fair enough.
Of course, that wasn’t good enough for a whole bunch of people, and now they’re piling on an 80-year-old man for not being progressive enough, and talking about humanitarian issues, and on and on and on.
Where I’m going with this will become more apparent, I suppose, when I release more previews of my upcoming novel, Jihad Insurance. In it, I pay a bit of an homage to the late, great Frank Zappa, namely by being an equal opportunity offender.
You see, I kind of miss the days when you could make a career out of making fun of absolutely everyone. Now, of course, you’re taken to task by cancel culture or the woker-than-thou, unless you kowtow to their incessant demands. I mean, I’m a liberal, but I read some of this stuff and think, “That’s why people hate liberals.”
So Jihad Insurance is coming, and it will have something in it to offend just about anyone—especially those without a sense of humor. Oh, and before I forget: don’t call me cisgender. I identify as straight, or heterosexual. I don’t want to be labeled with anything that sounds like “sissy.”
Happy Monday, everybody!