"Don't apologize": Ricky Gervais takes on verbal terrorism

The environment around us seems to be one in which actual racists and actual Nazis feel increasingly comfortable. Why might that be? “Everyone knows that you can make a joke about race without being racist,” Gervais says. Yet everyone who says anything that gets labeled offensive gets thrown into the same box. Disagree with progressive dogma on anything? You must be a white supremacist. Gervais smartly explains this willful failure to distinguish actual malevolence:

“Everyone that’s being fired and publicly embarrassed about a misdemeanor and being called a Nazi — there are real Nazis who are getting away with it. This must be amazing for real racists to be out there, and going, ‘It’s all right, everyone’s a racist now, this is a great smokescreen, we’ve got people out there calling people who aren’t Nazis, Nazis. . . . They don’t know the real Nazis from people who said the wrong thing once!’ . . . It plays into the hands of the genuinely bad people.”

A favorite tactic of Gervais’s detractors on Twitter is to point out that someone on the right agreed with something he said. Does that bother him? No, actually, he likes finding common ground with people on the other side. Yet “it’s not about the argument anymore. It’s not about the joke. It’s about who’s saying it because there’s a point-scoring system going on now. It’s like everyone’s trying to get into heaven by having more points scored for them and more points scored against the opposition.”

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