Who knows exactly what response Netflix expected supernatureRicky Gervais’ new transphobic standup special, but forgive us while we refrain from clapping.
After the backlash to Dave Chappelle Transphobic Netflix Special 2021 the closerNetflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos saying he believed in “artistic expression” and that his stance towards Chappelle’s comedy had not changed, implying that trans people would have to get over him. That seems to be the platform party line on transphobia. The company’s long-term investment in Gervais includes launching shows in which he stars, such as Derek Y after lifeY reportedly paying him $40 million in total for his most recent pair of comedy specials. Humanityreleased to Netflix in 2018, as well reeked of transphobia. In supernaturethe level of transphobia goes several degrees beyond Humanity and even beyond Chappelle’s apparent fixation on pronouns and genitalia. Gervais parrots numerous ideas that form the backbone of transphobia TERF ideologythen blames transgender audiences for being angry.
Gervais, like many other comedians of recent times, has spent his last cycles on the comedy circuit reacting again and again to so-called “awakened” culture and comedy, as if the concept of comedy that refuses to hit is so egregious that all you can do is continually react to it, and then react before the reactions to their reactions
This time, having suffered repeated backlash for his previous offenses, he goes out of his way to explain the structure of his comedy, to explain to us why he puts comedy above his future unseen catcalls. Look, she stops to inform the audience that the joke that she’s about to tell isn’t offensive because she’s being tongue-in-cheek. Now it’s being metaphorical. She is now using figurative language to illustrate that words are not violence.
Gervais, unsurprisingly, given his open approval of TERF’s talking points, it builds its entire outraged anti-awakening stance specifically around transgender people: their anatomies, their pronouns, their existence. It takes him two minutes to make his first trans joke: a mention of British comedian Eddie Izzard, who has long identified as transgender and started using the pronouns she/her two years ago. The “joke” isn’t really a joke, because Eddie Izzard just existing isn’t inherently funny; but the public laughs at Izzard’s name, just at the right time, because Gervais, who has already deigned to explain the irony, expects us to laugh at everything concept of Izzard, or maybe the concept of finding Izzard funny, or an awkward mix of both.
It doesn’t matter which of these jokes is intended, because Gervais has already rejected the counterargument that a hateful joke is only “ironic” when everyone is involved and when no one sees its actual fanaticism secretly reinforced by cruelty at the time. center of said irony. Towards the end of the show, he presents a gruesome sketch filled with racist synophobic stereotypes, which he insists is not racist because it’s “ironic.” No matter that this kind of “irony” is allowing white supremacists to operate in plain sight. It doesn’t matter that five minutes later supernature an audience member laughs audibly at the mention of rape, which could indicate that perhaps Gervais’s audience isn’t as wryly humorous as he wants it to be. No, Gervais seems to have decided that because the words are not literal physical violence, nothing he says can cause harm.
And once this is established in advance, he proceeds to use trans people as a punching bag (metaphorical).
Gervais has saying repeatedly that “real” trans people are not being disrespected; rather, he only mocks specific people he sees as male sexual predators who have usurped the “real” trans identity to prey on women by posing as women. This is pure TERF rhetoric divorced from reality.
Gervais has spent years making fun of trans women on stage; on social media, she has spent the last few years amplifying transphobic TERF talking points about what trans people (usually women) are like rapists, perverts, liarsY language terrorists. Like JK Rowling, Gervais claim (it is be very concerned about the status of cis men who pretend to be women to rape them, while insisting that “real” trans people should be respected; but if you look for examples of Gervais embracing, supporting, or affirming “real” trans women, you won’t find any. Trans people only seem to interest Gervais when he has an excuse to fire or dehumanize them, or joke about hitting them either compare them to rodents.
On stage, his obsession with trans people includes a vile fixation on anatomy. He hopes his audience will laugh at the idea of a trans woman with a male anatomy; he expects us to ridicule the idea that someone I would not do it laughter. Over and over she “jokes” about trans women having penises. He says he personally supports trans rights, then talks about trans women raping other women, implies that trans people are “mental,” and implies that trans people invented “self-identification” sometime after the 1960s to exploit their status as marginalized. Woe to today’s children, she suggests, whose overly-awakened parents might force them to adopt a “trendy” trans lifestyle.
Any trans person who complains about his comedy is a “virtue sign.” These trans people are, he tells us, motivated by superiority and the desire to bring other people down. Surely it has nothing to do with him. astronomically high levels of violence against trans people, nor the equally high levels of mental health problems Y suicidal ideation – all of which are directly linked to harmful transphobic rhetoric. Of course, Gervais does not mention this; it’s not funny, after all, and he undermines his final thesis that insensitive or deliberately offensive humor should be seen as a form of affection and caring. We are expected to speak its lingua franca of lame jokes and halfway reach it by agreeing that “identity politics” should be just as susceptible to mockery as everything else.
Given the TERF-y interludes, supernature it is an unnecessarily cruel piece of transphobic rhetoric. But without the TERF-y parts, it feels superfluous; there is no real reason for it to exist. Gervais needs transphobia to have a say, and apparently Netflix does too. The streaming service surely understood that by releasing this special, it would get more of the backlash it received afterward. the closer. During that reaction, Sarandos first said who did not believe the closer could cause any damage in the real world, so retracted that statement, possibly after trans activists and their allies pointed out horrific trans suicide statistics. (It’s worth noting that Netflix has also made a significant financial investment in Chappelle.) Netflix went through all of this once, but still chose to release supernature at a time when vulnerable trans people are already being hit with wave after wave of unnecessary cruelty.
The implication seems clear: Netflix is fine suffering transphobic chumps for views. It’s okay to inflict hateful, bigoted rhetoric on your subscribers. It’s fine with the subsequent real-world harm that comes from amplifying such views. The platform’s choice to release this special now, during an unprecedented wave of anti-trans legislation, is inconceivable. It’s not just that Gervais, his fellow comedians and his large audience may feel validated and affirmed in their hatred of trans people and will pay for it in the form of more cruelty and discrimination. It is not just that real trans people can be hurt, can internalize harmful messages and be ashamed of supernaturethe existence of Es que Netflix is an influencer; their decisions make waves. By openly pointing out that trans people and their allies are disposable within its business model, Netflix sets a precedent that many other companies in the technology and entertainment industries are likely to follow.
And, of course, this is nothing new, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. If trans people are to be thrown to the wolves of comedy, one would expect the wolves to be at least funnier.