This video is a mild example -- and I do mean mild -- of some of the off-color humor that characterized actor/comedian Ricky Gervais' monologue and comments as host of the 2010 Golden Globes. Some were highly inappropriate, most irreverent, all reaction-provoking. Other stars' comments were very similar in that regard.
A lot of talk has been going around about the use of language in political circles -- especially by Sarah Palin in the wake of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (see Thursday's post). Can we argue that, just as political figures should be held to higher standards of accountability in what they say, so should those in entertainment?
I think most people would say that we are talking about two very different situations here. To insist that there be no irreverent humor in entertainment -- especially on the part of those whose job it is to make people laugh -- would probably be unrealistic and oversensitive. Sure, one can go too far with it, but generally speaking, we can probably afford to "lighten up" a bit more with entertainment than with politics -- as long as it is understood that there is a time and a place for irreverent jokes.
My concern, however, is not with the overall irreverence of Gervais' (and others') comments. Rather, I am concerned with the questionable behavior of many of the stars throughout the night. A number of statements and words that came out of people's mouths -- including Gervais' -- were censored. Non-subtle sexual references were made on at least a couple of other (that is to say, non-censored) occasions.
Christian Bale, in concluding his acceptance speech for the Best Supporting Actor award, went over his allotted time to make some apparently inappropriate comment to Robert De Niro. Whatever the comment was, it took about 5 seconds to say and was thoroughly censored.
Paul Giamatti, in accepting the award for his performance in "Barney's Version," talked about how grateful he was to have worked on a movie where he could get paid to drink and smoke; he did specify what he was drinking and smoking, but this part was censored.
It is true, of course, that celebrities are not necessarily role models. Still, if someone is a high profile figure whose example, good or bad, is made available to people of all ages worldwide, he/she should realize that his/her deliberate bad behavior (especially in a high profile atmosphere like the Golden Globes) has the potential to set a bad example on a broad scale.
I think the media would probably do well to focus more on that aspect of last night's Golden Globes ceremony. In my opinion, their exclusive focus on the humorous jibes of its host only distracts readers from the more important issue.