Nicely Timed Ethics Quote Of The Month: John Cleese

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Monty Python legend John Cleese apparently has decided that to hell with it, he’s going to get himself canceled, and he doesn’t give a damn if he is. The tweet above was part of a long string of them tweaking transgender activists, J.K. Rowling haters and more, but his “woke joke” was especially apt.

The Australian singer Sia (never heard of her—you?) wrote and directed an soon-to-be released movie titled “Music” about a young woman with autism. Music is played by actress Maddie Ziegler, who is apparently not on the autistic spectrum.

The Horror.

The cyber-mob, almost all of which have never directed or cast anything, were outraged, with reactions like this from Irish actress Bronagh Waugh:

“Hi Sia, can I ask why you didn’t cast a disabled actor for this part? It’s pretty offensive the way you’ve chosen to portray this character? People with disabilities are not broken and don’t need fixing. Many of my friends have different disabilities and they are some of the coolest, most talented, funny, kind, intelligent people I know. They are also the most under-represented and inaccurately represented group in our society. This kind of inaccurate, offensive representation causes so much pain.”

Wait, so now an actress says that any portrayal of a character by an actress who doesn’t actually have all of the traits of that character is “inaccurate” and “offensive”? I guess Waugh can only play Irish idiots.

Another critic fumed,

“Incredibly disappointing to see yet another misrepresentation of neurodivergent people. What an incredibly wasted opportunity to showcase autistic talent, and share an authentic story from that community. Will not be watching this.”

Neurodivergent! Is there a machine that grinds out euphemisms for words that don’t need euphemisms? What’s the matter with “autistic”? Again, since when did acting become misrepresentation?

The American Association of People with Disabilities joined the mob, saying, “Don’t watch the Sia video.” That’s a classic example of how bias makes you stupid.

Foolishly, Sia attempted to reason with the mob and initially responded, “I actually tried working with a a beautiful young girl non verbal on the spectrum and she found it unpleasant and stressful. So that’s why I cast Maddie.” Gee, what a surprise. Performance art productions are difficult and stressful even if you aren’t autistic, and the director’s job is to minimize obstacles to a successful result, not add them to gain political correctness points. Special needs performers, whether their problems are physical, emotional or behavioral, threaten a project and its budget, employees and stakeholders.

Eventually Sia efigured it out, tweeting, “Fuckity fuck why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY.” Why? Because her attackers couldn’t care less about the film or Ziegler’s performance, that’s why. They are just trashing Sia and her creation to advance their own agendas. The eventual result may be, of course, that no one will produce any movies about autistic individuals.

[As an aside, this is something else the Trump-Haters endorsed when they voted Democratic in 2020.]

The Sia episode tracks with the now dead “Rub and Tug,” which perished because Scarlet Johanssen withdrew from her starring role in a film about a real life transsexual. What I wrote then applies here:

It’s pretty simple: this door swings both ways, or it doesn’t swing at all. Limiting the casting of a character who was a biological woman identifying as a man to trans actresses  is a step away from unbiased and creative casting, not toward it.

I also suggested what Johanssen should have said, instead of withdrawing from the project with some ambiguous snark. I also recommend an equivalent response from Ziegler to offended alleged actors like Waugh:

“I’m a professional actor, and I can play a wide range of characters who are completely unlike me in every way. If you are actors, you should be able to do the same. If I can play you better than you can, then I might get the part, and if I am offered it, I’m going to take it, just as you would if you were cast as me in “ The Maddie Ziegler Story.” The only limitations to what roles an actor can play should be their ability and talent, not their DNA or life choices. That’s what you should want too, assuming you have the ability and talent to succeed in this business. Be a professional, and grow the hell up.”

It’s certainly better than “fuckity fuck.”

24 thoughts on “Nicely Timed Ethics Quote Of The Month: John Cleese

    • I like it, too. It’s up-to-date – so much more contemporary and hard-hitting than the tired, old “Go to hell.”

      (“What hell? What is hell? WTF?!” the eternally, unrepentantly, self-anointedly politically correct ask.)

      Tranny activists and their “allies” need to wake up to being just a tad more woke. But of course, accepting reality is not what they’re about, generally; they are more into: “This is MY reality, and you had BETTER deal with it! I’ll have the LAW on MY side soon enough, so you had BETTER get on the RIGHT side of history, with ME and MY kind – QUICK!” Eventually, a kind of Murphy’s Law of backlash, opposition, and resistance-to-the-death comes into play: Any individual’s or group’s quest for social acceptance will, eventually, produce the opposite effect, in the worst possible way, at the worst possible time.

      Or, is it OK now, for me to say:
      Repent, and accept Jesus Christ as your Savior. TURN!! – or BURN!!!
      ??

  1. This is where it all breaks down, doesn’t it? If you can’t do a job for whatever reason, you still should get the job. That’s the take away, ¿no? Well, then. Only white males should play white male roles. Only white women should play white women roles. etc. All should be paid exactly the same, regardless of whether Charlize Theron can make a movie more money than Maddie Zielger. That will push social equity forward. Or so we thought.

    Do you remember Robin DiAngelo? Last we heard she was pedaling her white fragility theory far and wide, to the adulation of progressives the world over. She and Channing Brown presented a talk at a annual diversity forum (!!!) at the University of Wisconsin. It turns out she was paid $12,750, and her co-speaker was only paid $7,500. That means Robin received 70% more (the horror!) than her counterpart, Channing Brown. IT turns out their agent negotiated the fees so they didn’t know there was a racial inequality in the number of digits in the respective checks. Did Robin cut a diversity check to equal the pay gap? Surely you jest! She did say, though, that the disparity was just one more example of white privilege. Nice. Check out the story at this link:

    https://freebeacon.com/culture/antiracism-icon-robin-diangelo-paid-more-than-black-woman-for-same-job/

    jvb

  2. The point that still gets me, related to Scarlett Johansen’s situation, is the double logic it sends:

    “Trans-women are women, but women are not Trans-women.”

    Like, trans-women can play themselves or women, but women can’t play trans? Or should we all take up arms if Nicole Maines is cast as a traditional female lead?

    Or for the pro-wrestling fans out there, consider that Nyla Rose could play the role of Nia Jax in a movie about WWE, but Nia Jax could not play the role of Nyla Rose in a movie about AEW.

    Maybe I’m being too hard on the Scarlett situation. Is it much more narrow in scope and really just an issue because it was intended to be the quintessential transgender story to define a generation about the struggles of the transgender individual and Scarlett would be welcome in a transgender role in any other production where the character simply happened to be transgender? I think that sounds better and would have been a better argument to make, like: “We would like *this* role to be accurately cast and portrayed but we do not want to create an edict that women can’t play trans roles, it’s simply this role that is very important to our community.”

    I don’t know if that’s what was said, but I think I could get on board with people advocating for an “exception” without creating a “rule”.

  3. I’m just relieved that the Lord of the Rings movies were made before there was a requirement to gather enough elves, wizards, hobbits, goblins, dwarves, trolls, etc. to cast in all the roles. That would have taken a while ….and probably gotten very messy.

  4. Wait. I thought so many gay guys got into acting because they so enjoyed having a chance to be and act like all sorts of different people and characters. You know, dress up? Pretend? Sing and dance? If only straight people can play straight people on stage or in the movies or on TV, how’s that going to work? Or is it like the NBA where teams are supposed to look like America, unless they’re NBA teams and are supposed to be essentially 100 percent black.

    Or more to the point, what is it about the verb “to act” that people don’t get? If acting is verboten, all we’ll have is reality TV and documentaries. How are we going to have Shakespeare productions insofar as there are no extant Elizabethan people, or Romans, come to think of it.

  5. I have been waiting for AI to develop to scrub Dustin Hoffman from Rain Man so I can finally watch it.

    I am shocked he hasn’t given back his Oscar.

    Sia has some great songs, BTW.

  6. Sia is one of the major pop vocalists on the scene at the moment – not surprised that Pop isn’t quite your jam, Jack, but cultural literacy wise, she’s on par with a lot of other modern music icons. She’s well known for focusing on the music – typically appearing in a face covering wig for on screen appearances, rather making herself front and center of the music videos and broadcasts – and for having quite impressive vocal control (not at the pinnacle of female vocalists like Floor Jansen or Amy Lee, in my personal opinion, but only a step or two below there). One of the major things that sets her music videos apart is that they tend to be less about sex appeal or the singer, and more about showcasing modern dance and its ability to tell a story.

    One of the things that is being missed in the discussion of her casting Maddie is precisely how long running their relationship is. Ziegler has been performing/starring in almost all of Sia’s music videos and work for more than half a decade at this point. I think their first time working together was the Chandelier video (which google tells me is now 6 years old, and still plays as an earworm whenever someone says the word).

    Which makes Sia’s decision to switch to Maddie after trying to work with someone else who found the video work stressful even more understandable- a failing video project would be stressful for everyone involved, and typically doesn’t come cheap. If you’re trying to do one, and your attempt to work with someone who more accurately reflects the role isn’t working out, a director/producer reaching out to an actor/dancer who they have a long history of working with, and know can come in and handle doing a production in a rush if another plan has fallen apart is totally normal – it’s an attempt to save a project which has a lot of money and livelihoods hanging on it.

  7. When I was still acting in Community Theatre, I was usually cast as the “Bad Guy”. For instance as Bob Whats-His-Name in “Mockingbird” Once as Earthquake McGoon. I enjoyed every minute of, But, I am not by nature, a bad guy. But it was fun getting to act like one.

  8. In reading through Sia’s Twitter thread, it seems a lot of people are concerned not just about the casting, but also about Sia consulting with “Autism Speaks”, an organization that has a rather bad reputation for treating the autism spectrum like a disease (here’s an old video of theirs which talks about autism in a really creepy way). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UgLnWJFGHQ

    While I don’t care for the extreme rhetoric, I can sympathize with the concern about autism not being portrayed accurately.

  9. Has anyone ever heard of “The Queen’s Gambit”?

    *Spoilers Ahead*

    I thought of it while reading through the non-autistic person cast as autistic. See, “The Queen’s Gambit” is a Netflix adaptation of an 80’s novel about a woman who started out in a cold war era orphanage, got addicted to tranquilizers, learned chess from an orderly, and then went on to be crowned #1 in the world.

    It’s pure fiction. There’s wasn’t a woman within sniffing distance of the top 10 in the history of chess until Judit Polgár took the 8th spot in 2005. Currently, there’s only one woman in the rankings, Hou Yifan is placed at 88. The main character, Beth, is very loosely based on Bobby Fischer, sans the chemical addiction and the orphanage; They both operated around the same time, were both phenomes, and had an aggressive playstyle (in fact, Beth uses strategies named after Fischer in both the book and the film).

    It hits me…. Why should we have stories about women in positions no woman has ever achieved? If we require that actors not act so much as represent the truth of the roles they take on, should the scripts not also reflect reality? How dare scriptwriters appropriate women’s identities to shill a narrative so unlikely as a woman doing something approaching competent?! What’s next, a female astronaut?! Brhrhrhrhrhrhr.

    Poppy and cock, I say! No! People not only need to represent the truth of the roles they take on, but the roles need to reflect the sad sack reality of their day to day, otherwise people like the youths or the poors might develop blasphemous ideas like that they might be able to achieve something better than the roles assigned to them by dint of their birth, the color of their skin, or their genital configurations! Could you even imagine?! The humanity!

    (How’d I do?)

  10. Bravo to John Cleese for a badly needed public pushback to the woke insanity sweeping comedy and the creative arts in general. I’d like to hope that were he 40 years younger with a rising career still in the balance, that he would say pretty much the same thing.

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