Friday, April 14, 2023

Loose Lips Sink Ships

I'm seriously considering blogging on a regular basis again. 

The recent passage of the hideously Dangerous-for-Canadians-with-a-Creative-Streak Bill C-11 and the impending greater intrusion into your private thoughts C-18, which goes by the charmingly Orwellian moniker of the "Online Harms Bill" are pushing me in that direction.

But, at least for the moment, what I post here won't get me banned on the more popular platforms.

Censorship has been an issue I've battled much of my life. Since back when the Toronto police Vice Squad used to close or threaten to close theatres like the "Toronto Free", "Passe Muraille", "The Factory" and others over the Canadian plays they were producing.

Well written, challenging and audience drawing shows like "Clear Light" and "I Love You Baby Blue" saw actors, writers and directors harassed and interrogated by real live police officers for nothing more than what you could see or hear in any number of American and British films which might suffer no more than a restricted rating.

Over the last year, I've received two "warnings" from Facebook over what most would consider jokes. The first came for asking how fans of hockey's Brandon Wheatkings could cheer for their team if social media banned the "Let's Go -- You know" chant.

The second arrived a week ago. Amid a flurry of funny memes and comments about a former American President and a Porn Star, I posted this one of the 42nd Commander and Chief.

Apparently "independent fact checkers" had determined that the above pictured gentleman's settlement with a woman named Paula Jones "differed in context" with the current case.

Guys, it was a joke. Now we have to choose between which aging Horn-dog it's okay to laugh at?

All that brings me to yesterday, when I told a joke to a couple of friends over coffee that related to the current Bud Light situation. One laughed. The other smiled but opined, "I wish people wouldn't use things like this to divide us". 

Oh. Right. I forgot. There are certain oxen you can't gore during the current news cycle. 

One of the new adages in Hollywood, "Go Woke. Go Broke" seems to get re-proven at least once a week and yet does not seem to be slowing the lemmings hurling their fortunes and working futures over a cliff just to be on the right side of -- what? History?

I mean, I recognize that I'm a product of the Canadian film business, where most people live hand to mouth creating government sponsored art that never gets a theatrical release or significant ratings; while I achieved a comfortable living and the occasional majority share in American Neilsen numbers by believing you had to add a little entertainment value -- and maybe not worry so much about what "some people" might think. 

My little joke from yesterday was included, in a less funny version than mine of course, in the video that follows.

Fox News -- yes, I'm going there -- has a late night show entitled "Gutfeld" which for more than a year has been garnering larger audiences than Stephen Colbert and the two Jimmys, sometimes attracting more viewers than all three put together. 

In the cable category, where show host Greg Gutfeld's ratings are officially counted, "Gutfeld" has six times the viewers of "The Daily Show" and up to 20 times that of his other competitors.

Last night, Greg Gutfeld's monologue was about the current Bud Light Brew-ha (to coin a phrase). But Greg's monologues also include comments from his guests for the evening. And that -- in my usual long-winded way -- is my point. 

Comedy and thoughts we're cowed into not speaking often lead to more substantial places than just "taking a side" or "not upsetting someone". For none of Mr. Gutfeld's guests gave a damn about who drinks Bud Light. Instead they revealed what those who would control our speech really don't want you thinking about...