March 19, 2019

"20 years ago, if you saw something on TV that offended you and you wanted to let someone know, you would’ve had to get a pen and paper and write, 'Dear BBC, I’m bothered.'"

"But you didn’t do it because it was too much trouble. Now with Twitter, you can just go, 'Fuck you!' to a comedian who’s offended you. Then a journalist will see that and say, 'So-and-so said a thing and people are furious.' No. The rest of us don’t give a fuck and wouldn’t have heard about it if it hadn’t been made a headline. Everything is exaggerated. But everything’s also an illusion. No one would talk to you in the street like they do on Twitter. They’d never come up and say, 'Your articles stink.' They’d never do that because they’re normal, but they’re not normal on Twitter because there’s no nuance, no irony, no conversation there."

Said Ricky Gervais, interviewed in "Ricky Gervais on Provocation, Picking Targets and Outrage Culture" (NYT). I uncensored the "[expletive deleted]"s.

I like the quote because I have tags for nuance, irony, and conversation.

ADDED: I forgot my "normal" tag.

34 comments:

madAsHell said...

because there’s no nuance, no irony, no conversation there.

Are we having second thoughts about the new moderating system??

tcrosse said...

Louis CK, before he dropped into the oubliette, did a bit about how drivers will yell things at one another that they wouldn't dream of saying when on foot, up close and personal.

Nonapod said...

I try to follow the basic policy that I won't say anything online that I wouldn't say to someone's face. I think it's a pretty good policy, but it certainly seems like a lot of people don't follow it. Especially on Twitter.

In our day to day life we filter ourselves in polite conversation that's face to face. In many cases it seems like people's normal social filters are completely removed on Twitter and other online forums that let you post anonymously. In a way it's like mind reading. It's like you're getting a peak into their heads, or their Ids at least.

bagoh20 said...

I quit Facebook, Twitter, and I wish I could quit Youtube, but for now they have the content I want to see, but I'm working on it. It has been said, and I agree that there is a huge market for a service like Youtube that does not censor or demonetize conservatives. Where is it? All the alternatives I know of do the same shit.

Bay Area Guy said...

Ricky Gervais is exactly right. But he is still too soft on the Left. Most comedians won't ever set foot on a college campus, because of all the politically correct tripwires set up by the Left.

I saw John Cleese on campus 35 years ago. He gave a hysterical riff on life. At one point, he said, "Some people are under the mistaken belief that they have a right to not be offended." We all laughed at the time, but sadly, the Great Cleese has been proven wrong -- at least at the University setting.

madAsHell said...

Perhaps, there is an opportunity here.......

Start another blog, and call it Meadehouse, Everyone can roll up their sleeves, and throw uncivil comments without moderation. Worthy comments can then be "front-paged" to Althouse.

bagoh20 said...

The scary thing is that people are spending more and more time not interacting face to face, but more and more in the rude, boundary-free cyber world. That could make treating each other badly or even destroying each other a lot easier.

readering said...

I've never joined Facebook or Twitter. Only joined linked in because my firm signed everyone up. Won't use my real name here. Still remember when my first letter to the editor was published (London Sunday Times, 1974, about an article about the notorious Milgram Experiment at the university I was about to attend). Did not write many after that.

rehajm said...

They’d never come up and say, 'Your articles stink.'

Has he never been to Boston? Second thought- he's right. They'd say Your articles suck.

Best example: A long time Boston Globe sports reporter is at the Super Bowl in New Orleans walking down Bourbon Street when a guy in a clown suit with big shoes and rainbow hair walks up to him and says, Shaughnessy, you suck! In a Boston accent, one suspects.

Ficta said...

Reminds me of the old Goofy short where mild mannered Mr Walker becomes the demonic Mr Wheeler when he enters the anonymity of his automobile.

Ken B said...

I never much liked his shows but recently I have been liking HIM a lot.

Kevin said...

I really like his new show, After Life. Though I'm really thrown by the town he is supposed to live in.

His neighborhood is so stylized/idealized it is straight out of the Gilmore Girls, but a bit more English. But he is apparently in walking distance of: a massive underpopulated park, a spectacularly pristine and unpopulated beach on the ocean, and a wildly dangerous high crime area that has 3 life threatening violent crimes that the main character personally witnesses in a matter of a couple of weeks, unambiguous street prostitution and drug dealing in broad daylight, and homeless heroin addicts so commonplace that all the main character has to do is chat with one and he is set for a steady supplier.

And somehow the free newspaper that he works on that covers this populace only has the kind of quirky human interest stories to write about that would bore the citizens of Mayberry to tears.

Jim at said...

Conversely, there are 'uncivil' things I'd be more than happy to say to someone's face than write on-line.

Often, there's a lurking audience on-line. Not face-to-face.

alanc709 said...

A common comment of mine in online games/blogs, is "anonymity makes heroes out of cowards". People will post statements they wouldn't dream of making if they could be held accountable.

Paul Ciotti said...

Alanc709: "anonymity makes heroes out of cowards".

I bet Althouse could save herself a lot of time moderating comments if she just required people to use their real names when they post here, as I do, and a real (hopefully recent) photo.

Jay Vogt said...

Making no judgements about others [REALLY], it's one of the reasons that I use my real name as a poster.
The other is that it seems reciprocal, as our hostess and host use hers and his.

I can see the attraction though. I've censored most of my own best stuff. . . . . . . trust me.

traditionalguy said...

You also forgot a tag for Victorian Prudery. It's back and is angry this time.

Achilles said...

Twitter used to be a place where people who support freedom would poke fun at the stupid fascist leftists and their journolist tools.

But twitter is run by fascist leftists who are banning things they don't like.

So naturally it has turned into a playground for the left.

Any playground of the left invariably turns into hate fest.

The only thing the left has is what they take from other people and hate.

Be said...

One of my favorite SNL long-form pieces, with Ricky Gervais's wonderful money line at the end.

https://youtu.be/BmTfxyoEqAc

He makes a good point on gleaning (as opposed to garnering, maybe?).

bagoh20 said...

But, isn't it also true that people are being more honest on line? If Rome had the internet, Caesar would have known to enter the Senate armed, and "Et tu, Brute?" would not have been a question, but rather a statement from the opposite end of the knife.

William said...

I saw his limited series, After Life, that is currently playing on Netflix. It gives the sensation of being politically incorrect, but his only real targets are overweight white men and other such game park targets. Still, you just know that if he could have his way, he'd be politically incorrect. It's the spirit of the thing that counts.

dbzdak said...

I love this, from the interviewer, right after Gervais talks about the problem with virtue signaling:

Interviewer: I disagree. The problem was that his [Louis C. K.’s] new material was not good.
Gervais: That’s an opinion.
Interviewer: They’re hackier jokes.

Be said...

bagoh20:

Depends on how "Et Tu, Brute?" is read / emoted. It's entirely possible that Caesar delivered that line with bemused resignation.

Michael McNeil said...

If Caesar wanted to avoid being murdered by an assassination squad of Senators, carrying a single knife (or even two) wasn't going to help him very much. Better would have been to have not been declared “Dictator for Life” by the popular assembly in the first place — along with avoiding a bunch of other hubristic actions.

His successor, Caesar's nephew Octavian who became the first emperor Augustus, was far more politically perceptive, or at least had Caesar's bloody example in front of him, so that he did nothing was obviously unconstitutional (according to the late Republic's constitution). By so doing Augustus lived out one of the longest reigns in European history — so that by the time he was gone hardly anyone was alive who still remembered the Republic.

Bob Smith said...

How’s this? Don’t trust anybody under 70.

Steve said...

Alternate title: "Outrageous Provocateur Annoyed When Targeted"

Ten years ago Gervais could be a prat to anyone and everyone with little pushback. He made his reputation with base, belittling humor and now he is angry that people that aren't famous have a way to voice their displeasure. He tore a hole in the social compact and now he's annoyed that people are using his tactics. I'll cry for him later.

3/19/19, 10:17PM

narciso said...

Another theory was that caesar knew exactly was going on, but didnt want to remembered like the gracchi brothers,

stlcdr said...

Blogger Kevin said...
....

His neighborhood is so stylized/idealized it is straight out of the Gilmore Girls, but a bit more English. But he is apparently in walking distance of: a massive underpopulated park, a spectacularly pristine and unpopulated beach on the ocean, and a wildly dangerous high crime area that has 3 life threatening violent crimes that the main character personally witnesses in a matter of a couple of weeks, unambiguous street prostitution and drug dealing in broad daylight, and homeless heroin addicts so commonplace that all the main character has to do is chat with one and he is set for a steady supplier.


Never been to Britain, have you? You get used to locking your doors on your car while pumping gas, and learn to live with the fact that crime occurs anywhere, even in rural districts, that you make sure your doors and windows are solidly locked, and valuables locked away.

There’s a reason you move to the US: it’s acrually a lot safer (with certain caveats).

Mazo Jeff said...

Ricky is right. Just read the headline on Channel 3000 whose reporter, Keely Arthur, just drove to a small town in SW Wisconsin in Green County to interview a Town Clerk.
Seems this Town Clerk, while recouperating from surgery, made a comment on Twitter about a current headline story. That's why I quit watching the the "talking bubbleheads" on local news

Leeatmg said...

Doesn't this phenomenon somewhat imply that the "real us", in person, is really the fake and the persona saying these things freely on Twitter the real us?

Gahrie said...

I like the quote because I have tags for nuance, irony, and conversation.

Too bad that you no longer allow conversations.

Gospace said...

Modern electronics and modern services make communication much easier than ever. Don't know if coarseness has actually increased, or if everyone can see each act of coarseness rather than receive second and third hand reports of coarseness.

Anonymity encourages talk of unpopular thoughts- or unapproved thoughts, which aren't necessarily the same thing. An anonymous placard posted on a pole might upset the king, but people reading it before the king's men take it down get the message- and unless someone reports the placard hanger- no retaliation is possible. And a wise king, and they aren't all wise, doesn't punish the population because an anonymous individual among them irritates him.

Anonymity doesn't necessarily lead to coarseness, but it does make it safer.

Modern electronics and services making communication easier than ever has increased communication tremendously. And allows immediate feedback. Whether this is good or bad depends on your viewpoint, as does all effects of change. Dan Rather likely feels it's a bad thing, as his "fake but accurate" reporting was called out as fake within hours. Just a few years earlier, he'd have gotten away with it. And the contortions that supporters of the fake documents went through to try and prove that some backwater Texas ANG office might have been able to produce a document with a then non-existent font with proportional spacing and perfect centering was truly amazing. It's ,like they had never used a typewriter...

It's harder and harder for politicians to say one thing to one group and an entirely different thing to another. Because of modern electronics and services. This, again, depending on your viewpoint, is either a good thing or a bad thing. I consider it a good thing.

I resisted texting for the longest time. For two reasons. I saw texting as a backwards step towards telegraphy. And TELCOS charged extra, a lot extra, for texting, which I knew cost them literally nothing, as texts were carried on the signals the phones are using to stay connected to the networks. All the equipment used in texting was already in place for use in talk at the TELCOS and was a sunk cost. And texting uses far less bandwidth than talk. Charging for texts was a total and complete ripoff. Once it became unlimited as part of basic phone service I got it, and realized how my thoughts of it being a step backward were wrong. Telegraphy requires a third party to communicate, and has a delay; texting is direct. And if the text consists of "Pick up {shopping list} on way home." better than a phone call.

I now communicate with what can roughly be divided into 3 groups. Friends and family I've met, friends and family I've never met, and complete strangers. This blog comment is an example of the last. There may possibly be some friends or family reading it, but I don't know.

I use all avenues of communication with friends and family I've met. In person, by telephone, text, Facebook, whatever. And regularly see many of them at functions on a regular basis- Scout meeting, church, whatever.

Friends and family I haven't met? Facebook. I have numerous distant cousins who are now Facebook friends of mine. Some I've reached out to, some have reached out to me. How have I found them? Mosrly though another online service- Ancestry.com. I was told growing up by my parents and grand-parents I have no second cousins. I have several on both sides of the family. One graduated from my HS the year before I did. We never met- different social circles, class sizes about 400. My mother lived in the next town over from her first cousin for decades and didn't know it. Friends I haven't met? Facebook groups with people I have stuff in common with. And I've met some of those people- making them friends I have met.

tim in vermont said...

In the UK, theft has been basically decriminalized, which is why you don't pop your trunk to get your laptop until you are out of the car.

tim in vermont said...

"I've censored most of my own best stuff. . . . . . . trust me."

Exactly, nothing leftists would like better than to know whom to shut up, refuse service at restaurants, whose business to bomb with bad reviews.