June 12, 2018
I see on Facebook that many are up in arms that Robert DeNiro took the stage at the Tony Awards on Sunday night and began his presentation by saying, “F*** Trump.”
DeNiro went on to say some other things after the standing ovation he received from the Broadway artists, actors, musicians, authors, dancers, playwrights, set designers, techies, composers, directors, producers, costume designers, and film critics in attendance had ended. I wasn’t aware of this, because I rarely watch the Tonys, nor, I suspect, does anyone else who isn’t a Broadway artist, actor, musician, author, dancer, playwright, set designer, techie, composer, director, producer, costumer designer, or film critic.
But DeNiro said what he said, and now everybody is talking about the Tonys, which, I suppose, is good for the Tonys, and probably the most interesting thing that has happened at a Tony ceremony in years. A lot of people who don’t live in New York City are angry and offended, and you know what that means:
Just for fun, and because I was waiting for my argument to be called this afternoon, I read some of the comments of those who claim to be shocked – SHOCKED, I tell you – at DeNiro’s comments. I also read the responses of people who aren’t six-year-old girls, and here’s what I can tell you:
People will find any reason to pick a fight, even if in doing so, they are revealed to be just about the stupidest, inconsistent, hypocrites to pick up a smartphone.
But, to be fair, let’s examine some of the stated reasons people are unhappy with Robert DeNiro and his antics and see whether anyone has a point (spoiler alert: They don’t).
1. “He used the F-word, and I find that OFFENSIVE!”
Most of the people who raised this concern also went on to express their support of our president, which is surprising, because that same president ALSO likes to use the F-word, as well as other words, like “p****,” as in “grab them by the….” If you’re offended by the F-word, it’s probably a good thing you don’t spend a lot of time in the Oval Office where, we are told, that word gets used a lot.
2. “I mean, he said ‘f***’ on national television!”
If all you knew about America was what people posted on Facebook calling out DeNiro, you would be of the impression that none of us EVER said “f***,” or tolerated it when other people did. I have to tell you…that’s not the case. I hear people use that word in public at least 15 times a day, and casually, by people ranging in age from 15 to 85. With the exception of Catholic nuns and preschoolers, pretty much EVERYONE uses that word. Which doesn’t mean it’s okay, just that pretending to be shocked is pretty disingenuous.
Complaining that you are actually OFFENDED by the use of the f-word is even worse, because I’ll bet you at least a few of those complaining about DeNiro’s choice of language have seen “Goodfellas” at least once, and if you don’t like the f-word, well, then you’re probably not going to like “Goodfellas.” Give me a dollar for every time that word gets dropped in “Goodfellas,” I’ll retire and raise alpaca.
As more proof that it had nothing to do with the F-bomb, remember when Meryl Streep called out Trump, without using off-color language? People hated on her, too. It’s not the word, it’s the man, and his supporters – like him – just go batshit crazy when anyone criticizes thim.
3. “I’m tired of listening to Hollywood actors give political speeches!”
Some think that Hollywood actors/directors/producers, etc. should not be allowed to express their opinions. Some people also think this about professional athletes but are okay when people like Ted Nugent, Clint Eastwood, or Kid Rock have something political to say. As with Number 1, if one is going to adopt a policy concerning who gets to say what, then one ought to be consistent. Also, the First Amendment.
And P.S.? The people who don’t like it when the entertainment industry talks about politics are the same people who elected a reality star to the highest office in our country.
4. “Roseanne got fired, but it’s okay for DeNiro to say f***? Double Standard!”
Actually no, because, (a) what Roseanne said was racist and anti-Muslim, whereas what DeNiro said, essentially, was that Trump is a poor leader, which is neither racist nor anti-Muslim; and (b) Roseanne was fired by her employer because it found her exercise of her First Amendment rights to be contrary their message/mission – which apparently is okay if you’re an NFL team owner. If you don’t like what DeNiro said, you can act like Roseanne’s boss (ABC TV) and not watch his movies or patronize his restaurants. So, no double standard.
5. “Those Hollywood elite don’t care about world peace!”
You know who ALSO doesn’t care about world peace? Donald Trump! Trump embraced the idea of reunification of the Korean Peninsula,
like, 15 minutes ago, for the sole purpose of currying favor with China and Russia and because someone told him he would win a Nobel Peace Prize if he did.
And don’t say he’s been working on it for months, because all he’d been doing through last fall and winter was calling the leader of North Korea names, some of which were kind of funny, but not necessarily helpful if peace and denuclearization is the goal.
I think, moreover, that if you asked DeNiro and the Tonys audience how they feel about denuclearization as one strategy for achieving world peace, they would probably say, “that would be super! You know what else would be great? If we didn’t alienate other nations which for decades have been important friends and allies!”
So, to those who think Trump’s “Give me a Nobel” stunt is worth applauding, all the while advocating for a return of Russia to the G7, I say, when our president has behaved like such a dick that Canada – CANADA – is pissed off, you don’t get to hold up Trump as the peacemaker.
6. “DeNiro has no morals so you shouldn’t listen to him.”
This one is my favorite: Some criticized DeNiro because he’s “been married twice and has a set of twins with a woman he is not married to and was linked to a protitution ring.” Given that Trump’s voters were able to get past the fact that he (a) ended his first marriage by having a very public affair; (b) got his mistress pregnant out of wedlock, and then divorcing her; and (c) has had a lot of sex with women in the adult entertainment industry, you would think Trump supporters would LOVE Robert DeNiro!
7. “Actors have no right to speak about politics because all they do is put on costumes and say lines that other people wrote for them.”
Sort of sounds like a politician, if you ask me.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter what DeNiro says, or that some people are annoyed. The arts have always led the way where social justice is concerned, and they will continue to do so, whether Trump like it or not. We are a far more liberal country now than we were fifty years ago, and in fifty years, we will be more liberal still. Those in government who attempt to legislate “morality” and “values” almost never succeed, and even in a country that, God help us, elected that asshat, a majority support equality for all regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. What’s more, most young people consider that issue pretty much closed, and guess what? They’re the ones who will run the country someday, just as most who were born in the fifties and sixties (those who aren’t assholes, anyway) are sincere in their desire for racial equality.
You can stoke your false outrage and pretend to be offended that someone you know to be a pretty outspoken person said something you didn’t like, or you can admit what we already know to be true: If you support Trump, you’ll find a reason why anyone who opposes him is the anti-Christ. Because that’s what y’all do.