Ricky Gervais mercilessly mocked Natalie Portman on Twitter, but his anti-virtue signaling crusade is itself a form of virtue signaling.
Ricky Gervais isn’t just a culture warrior; he’s on an anti-virtue signaling crusade.
When he presented the Golden Globes this year, he begged award winners to refrain from launching into trite speeches on “worthy” causes. Now he’s mocking Natalie Portman for pulling her own trite stunt at the Oscars.
But as much as we can agree with Ricky Gervais about Hollywood, there’s one problem: Crusading against virtue signaling is itself a form of virtue signaling.
So Gervais is just as guilty of self-promotion and posturing as anyone else in Tinseltown.
Natalie Portman wore a custom Dior cape to the Oscars on Sunday. It was embroidered with the names of some female directors she believed had been snubbed by the Academy.
But another Hollywood justice seeker, Rose McGowan, pointed out that Portman has her own production company. Worse still, this company has hired only one female director in its 13-year lifetime: Portman herself.
So yeah, Portman’s Oscars stunt is a classic case of virtue signaling. But fear not, because Ricky Gervais posted a satirical video on Twitter ruthlessly mocking the actress. So we can all feel good about our guilty selves again.
In the video, Gervais explains that he has written the names of various unpunished Hollywood sex criminals on his torso. The names are illegible.
Gervais proceeds to shame these “sex criminals.” We don’t know who he talks about, but we can at least assume these fictitious entities are loosely based on real actors, directors, and executives.
He’s a groper. But he paid them off. Pedo. He’ll f***ing stick it anywhere, this c**t is a complete nonce.
The video garnered just under 400,000 views in less than a day. So needless to say, it must have been a big hit with the anti-virtue signaling and anti-woke crowd. Hooray!
Of course, Gervais wasn’t only trolling Portman. He was also claiming that empty virtue signaling is beneath him.
In other words, he was signaling his own virtue.
That makes him just as guilty as any other Hollywood “activist.” Sure, his preferred virtues are different than Portman’s. But he signals them nonetheless.
And he does so for the sake of signaling them, rather than for the sake of effecting any substantial change in the world.
At a basic level, every political argument involves virtue signaling by default. By arguing for a political change that will somehow make the world “better,” we unavoidably associate ourselves with the virtue of that change. Intentionally or not, we imply that we are virtuous.
This is unavoidable.
And because it’s unavoidable, it becomes almost irrelevant to call attention to so-called attempts at virtue signaling. I say “almost,” because criticizing “virtue signalers” does usually have an aim: shutting down serious political discussion.
By attacking someone for “virtue signaling,” we imply that their political argument should be disregarded. “Forget about it: she’s virtue signaling,” we say, while the world continues to burn.
Ricky Gervais can get stuffed. Virtue-signaling twonk.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.