Laurie Penny was the woman saved from being flattened by a New York cab this week by none other than Ryan Gosling, the dashing actor and and celebrity heart-throb who has already been honored here for his willingness to come to the rescue of others in peril. He pulled her back as the British journalist was about to step off the curb in Manhattan without looking, right in the path of a speeding vehicle.
The celebrity and gossip media went bonkers over this, as you might imagine. After all, a typical headline for this crude segment of the media is that Tia Tequila got a new tattoo or that a Kardashian broke a nail. Let’s see…what’s today’s buzz? Ex-child star Amanda Bynes was bailed out if jail following her DUI arrest, and Heidi Klum filed for divorce. But the attention being paid to Gosling’s good deed just annoys Penny, and, she says, is proof that America is trivial and misguided. In a piece authored for the gossip site Gawker, entitled, “Ryan Gosling Saved Me From a Speeding Car But There’s War In the Middle East So Everyone Calm Down,” Penny exposes herself as the kind of person Gosling might live to regret rescuing.
“Everybody needs to calm down about Ryan Gosling saving me from a speeding car,” she says, because,
- “I really think the sentiment ‘Ryan Gosling is a total hero and saved this woman’s life!’ needs to be reassessed, even though it’s technically accurate.People do lovely, considerate things for other people all the time. I don’t believe that the fact that A-list celebrities occasionally act like human beings is in itself news — it might have been slightly newsworthy had Mr. Gosling simply floated by on a cloud of his own cultural significance whilst a young woman got smeared into the tarmac, but lucky for me, even the most chiseled-jawed of us are usually boringly dependable in times of minor peril.”
- It’s no big deal, really, since people are pulled back from the curb every day.
- This happens to Penny all the time, since she’s usually in deep thought about really, really important things, like “the war on women’s bodies”
- The rescue lasted only five seconds. I mean, it’s not like Gosling had to do very much.
- This proves how ridiculous Americans are, making a big deal because an actor does something good, when they should be occupied by making sure “the United States doesn’t slide further into bigotry, inequality and violence.”
- “…as a feminist, a writer, and a gentlewoman of fortune, I refuse to be cast in any sort of boring supporting female role, even though I have occasional trouble crossing the road, and even though I did swoon the teeniest tiniest bit when I realized it was him.”
Okay! I’m willing to recast Penny as an ungrateful, self-absorbed, pompous jerk, who incidentally doesn’t comprehend the country she is a guest in or know the first thing about how cultures become and stay ethical, despite her deep, deep, oh-so-important thoughts.
Yes, people do good deeds all the time, but a lot of people don’t do them, and the way society makes sure that the Dos don’t overwhelm the Don’ts is to make sure that it identifies, recognizes and praises ethical conduct when it occurs. Gosling is one of the people I wrote about here, whose rescue instinct is in fine fettle, and whose ethics alarms are up to code. People die when we don’t react like Ryan Gosling, and do, rather frequently and tragically. If we pay attention to Laurie Penny, there will be fewer Goslings as time goes by, and more British journalists plastered to the grills of Yellow Cabs. Some of them we might even miss, unlike the insufferable Miss Penny.
Meanwhile, for decades I have heard arrogant foreigners accuse Americans of paying too much attention to everything from football to videogames to political intrigue to sex, usually by outsiders who think their priorities and values are superior to ours. Somehow we’ve managed to muddle through so far, and have saved Europe’s bacon quite a few more times than it has saved ours. Maybe we shouldn’t pluck the Old World back from the abyss next time it is tottering, since it thinks we are so trivial and absurd. Yes, we know Penny and most of her countrymen are quite willing to see Israel get vaporized….stopping that looming war with Iran, which, of course, is no threat to her, is one of the deep thoughts Penny was considering as she stepped off the curb to near oblivion. Look out for #1 is the rule, and it’s getting traction here, too. And that’s because there aren’t enough Ryan Goslings.
Penny spends the first part of her rant self-identifying as a ditz (“…I am constantly walking into things, losing my phone and keys, and wandering into traffic because I’m thinking about something else or have spotted something interesting in the sky..); she admits to “swooning” over Gosling, and then hits us with a feminist manifesto, claiming it is offensive for Gosling’s act to be praised because it turns her into a damsel in distress. well, Penny was a damsel in distress, due to her own irresponsibility; now she’s just ungrateful, ethically clueless, presumptuous and obnoxious.
I’m so glad.