My wife and I have been working our way through Season 3 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, an Amazon Prime comedy that I strongly recommend. At this point of our viewing (mild spoilers), it’s 1960, Midge Maisel’s father, a mathematician and professor at Columbia, has been trying to regain his social justice (to use the modern term) mojo back by hanging out with a bunch of communist beatniks who are trying to create a newspaper that’ll, presumably, speak truth to power or some such.

The Maisels live in a huge Upper West Side apartment overlooking the Hudson, and have a full time maid/housekeeper/cook at their beck and call. The communists, even as they spout their radical platitudes, afford themselves full use of this apartment, as flop space, and by ordering the housekeeper around as if she were their personal waitstaff. The joke is obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less accurate, for it is a predominant lesson of history and culture that those who aspire to collectivist ideologies always see themselves as the masters of that domain.

The parallels with last weekend’s Golden Globes ceremony, specifically host Ricky Gervais’ razor sharp opening monologue and other remarks, are obvious. Gervais mocked and scolded the glitterati, who had gathered in yet another of their endless self-congratulatory circle jerks, opening with a reminder that “they’re just jokes, we’re all gonna die soon, and there’s no sequel.” He then proceeded to zing many celebrities. By name, which, based on the many audience reactions of non-mirth, didn’t sit well with many bedecked and bejeweled masters of the universe.

Among the many memorable moments, Gervais fired off “he didn’t kill himself, just like Jeffrey Epstein.” To the oohs, boos, and groans, Ricky retorted “shut up! I know he’s your friend, but I don’t care.”

Yes, many laughed at many jokes, so it wasn’t a total sourpuss-dirge. Toward the end, he deftly segued into commentary about the hypocrisy of all these superstars who “say you’re woke, but the companies you work for, I mean, unbelievable.” He then suggested:

If you do win an award tonight, don’t use it as a platform to make a political speech. You’re in no position to lecture the public. About anything. You know nothing about the real world. Most of you spent less time in school than Greta Thunberg.

If you think that this message was heeded, you deserve the naif-du-jour award. The daring non-compliers included Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, who informed us that the Australian wildfires are due to climate change, not the dozens of arsonists (some of them enviro-warriors) that have been arrested; Patricia Arquette, who urged people to vote against Trump; Joaquin Phoenix, who also offered climate change as his message-of-import, in conjunction with saying the the serving of a vegan dinner at the awards was a “very powerful message;” and Michele Williams, who implied that she had had an abortion in order to favor her career path.

None of this is edgy, or risky, or speaking truth-to-power. All these are darling issues of the progressive Left, and to be a star in Hollywood virtually requires that you conform to a particular slate of political positions. When was the last time you heard a celebrity at an awards show utter a non-progressive political statement? While there are numerous notably non-liberal folks in Hollywood, they live in a hostile environment, and more than a few have suffered career-wise due to their beliefs (both political and religious).

The press split along the expected lines in response to Gervais’ performance. Left-leaning and progressive outlets (i.e. most of them) reminded us of the importance and history of political speeches at awards ceremonies, while more conservative and otherwise non-woke outlets applauded his actual speaking of truth to power. Particularly in the face of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

The Founders built a nation that divorced itself of the royalty, nobility, peerage, and elitism that dominated the political landscape of their day. Certainly, there have been many big political voices and great leaders in the nation’s history, but the “father of our nation,” George Washington, reinforced the “no kings” notion by voluntarily stepping down from the Presidency after two terms. That notion has ebbed and flowed across the decades, but the twentieth century has, concurrent with the rise of socialistic and progressive thinking, seen more flow than ebb. This culminated with the election of Barack Obama, who was looked upon with messianic reverence by so many, and endlessly feted by this Hollywood elite that, somewhere along the way, decided that they should also be the political elite. Much of the mainstream press came to look upon itself as part of the same army of aristocrats, and they throw wholehearted support for those of their ilk and proclivities in power or seeking power.

Gervais also pointed out the obvious – that the best actors and writers have moved to the small screen, and that the Big Hollywood of all the Golden Globes glitterati was making its money off superhero and CGI-spectacle movies. This doesn’t align, obviously, with the self-importance on display – you shouldn’t stand tall on a crumbling platform. There used to be a mystique about Hollywood superstars. They weren’t accessible, their glamorous lifestyles were mostly hidden from public view, with only occasional glimpses that were fuel for fans’ daydreams, fantasies, and hero worship, and the mystique that this created benefited both the actors and the industry itself.

Familiarity breeds contempt, of course, and today, where a celebrity needs to have a big social media presence in order to maintain popularity, the mystique gets washed away. In no small part due to the stars’ own vapidness, narcissism, and detachment from reality, which is now on Broadway-bright display.

So, when celebrities attempt to hector us about climate change as if it’s the most critical issue of the day, we roll our eyes rather than ponder their words. And, when they take offense at having their hypocrisy and insipidness called out, we re-roll those eyes and laugh at them.

Gervais walked into a target-rich environment and scored multiple ten-ring hits. The self-appointed elites were not amused, but a great big swath of the country was. Among them are the ones who put Trump in office, and among them are those who did so to put thumbs in the eyes of those elites. As I’ve noted before, Trump is a symptom, not a cause, and his Presidency is a manifestation of a cultural reset that’s rejecting our equivalent of a nobility class the way the Founders rejected that of their era.

What emerges from that reset remains to be seen. As is true of most of history, it’ll be clearest in hindsight, and we won’t know the true import of the Trump years until we’re well into the next presidency. The elites, however, aren’t accepting their fall from over-reaching ‘grace.’ They’re backing the likes of Sanders, Warren, AOC, and others who’d impose their collectivist schemes on us – all the while themselves living high on the hog, like the beatniks in the Maisel apartment.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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