Yesterday, the internet was absolutely ablaze with Ricky Gervais. I was totally fine with this 1) because I love him and I thought he was getting some great recognition and 2) he made me SAD I didn’t watch the Golden Globes.
Y’all, I haven’t REGRETTED missing an awards show since .. maybe since I was twelve and I had to catch the MTV Video Music Awards on repeat. And now that I’m an active consumer, I think Ricky Gervais did his job to the advertisers and the network.
I just can’t get behind some of the backlash he’s getting. I knew the celebs would be offended, but, hell. Like I care. They make more money than I’ll ever dream of seeing. But where I lose touch is where the viewers cared.
I love Liz at Mom101. She’s one of the few voices on the internet that I feel really embodies smart – witty – calm – level-headed – and wickedly funny. But she wrote yesterday how she felt Gervais was “mean” and described him as almost a bully. I actually stopped and went back to read some of the transcripts and .. I don’t know. I just don’t see it.
He basically just said what we’ve all said around the water coolers/blogs/tabloids/etc. And he said it to their face.
Since when did we equate being “mean” with being “honest”?
Did he push the envelope? Yes. Did he say some things that made even me gasp? Yes. Did I agree with everything he said? YES. (C’mon, really? The Tourist?) Not only did I NOT think he was out of line, I thought he was doing the job he was hired to do. And doing it really, really well.
The conversation carried over last night onto Twitter, where a DM conversation between several folks caught me wrong. We were all discussing how we felt about a post that was written, but we were scared to say anything other than “LOL!” and “Love you!” online.
“I don’t like that,” I said. “Community is good, but only if it’s honest. Otherwise, it’s a cult.”
While I typically try and avoid conflict online — fighting online is pointless — I shouldn’t be censoring myself or my opinions. Trolling is one thing; a meaningful dialogue or just an opposing point of view is not. I allow it on my blog from other commenters .. why wouldn’t I offer it back?
So here I am. And while I completely agree with Liz’s ultimate hope — “Is 2011 the year of kindness?” — I don’t think we should go about through dishonesty or coddling. So I’m going to be a bit more firm this year. I started small, presenting my position on a post earlier this week regarding Antoine Dodson. Sure, it’s probably not a groundbreaking position, but it’s one I’d never voiced for fear I’d be called “MEAN”.
We love the internet and social media and media in general for its ability to lend everyone a voice. That’s a powerful thing, and it comes with a lot of responsibility. Part of that responsibility is not just all flowers and sunshine, sometimes it is being honest with ourselves and others about how we feel.
For instance, I think I’ve lost the bubble on this post. Therefore I am cutting it off NOW.