These days I kind of hate that I love the movies 12 Monkeys and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas so much because...boooooy, did their creator turn out to be a living, breathing dumpster fire of non-biodegradable trash.
Filmmaker and Monty Python member Terry Gilliam recently sat down for an interview with Alexandra Pollard of the Independent to talk about his new movie The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, only he decided he didn’t really feel like talking about the film but instead he’d rather discuss the “witch hunt” that is the #MeToo movement and the truly oppressed, marginalized victims of today’s society: white men.
The interview was about ten percent dialogue about his film and the other ninety percent chock full of him lamenting hypersensitivity and “PC culture” while, ironically, demanding the world be a safe space for him to be as offensive as he wants and express all his white man woes. If that wasn’t nails on a chalkboard enough, it takes a particularly bizarre turn once he lands on the subject of disgraced film producer and over 80 times accused “alleged” sexual predator Harvey Weinstein.
“There are many victims in Harvey’s life,” Gilliam said, “and I feel sympathy for them, but then, Hollywood is full of very ambitious people who are adults and they make choices. We all make choices, and I could tell you who did make the choice and who didn’t. I hate Harvey. I had to work with him and I know the abuse, but I don’t want people saying that all men…”
Later in the interview, he continues to rant on in his convoluted, just barely comprehensible fashion saying, “I understand that men have had more power longer, but I’m tired, as a white male, of being blamed for everything that is wrong with the world. When you have power, you don’t take responsibility for abusing others. You enjoy the power. That’s the way it works in reality.”
So, let’s recap:
- Gilliam knows Weinstein is an abuser but also wants women to take responsibility for the abuse they suffer. After all, the hell do they think they are being all ambitious and stuff?
- Gilliam understands that white men are in power but doesn’t think they should be held responsible for abusing said power because them’s the breaks, beyotch.
- Gilliam wants us all to stop being such meanies to white men despite the two aforementioned points above.
This, of course, is only the latest in problematic Gilliam gaffes. Last month he called Marvel’s Black Panther utter bullsh*t and complained that “It gives young black kids the idea that this is something to believe in.” Translation: “Science fiction and fantasy are all fun and games until you start giving niggras ideas about running affluent countries on their own.”
And who could forget in 2018 when Gilliam threw a hissy fit as long as his chin in response to BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning Shane Allen who, in answering a question about an updated Monty Python, said: “If you’re going to assemble a team now, it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes. It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world.”
(Side note: Modern world? Do... Do white people think nonwhite people are just now being invented?)
Gilliam responded to Allen saying, “It made me cry: the idea that… no longer six white Oxbridge men can make a comedy show. Now we need one of this, one of that, everybody represented… this is bullshit. I no longer want to be a white male, I don’t want to be blamed for everything wrong in the world: I tell the world now I’m a black lesbian… My name is Loretta and I’m a BLT, a black lesbian in transition.”
That “black lesbian” comment was revisited during the interview with Pollard leading to this unfortunate exchange:
“It’s been so simplified is what I don’t like. When I announce that I’m a black lesbian in transition, people take offence at that. Why?”
Because you’re not.
“Why am I not? How are you saying that I’m not?”
“You’ve judged me and decided that I was making a joke.”
You can’t identify as black, though.
“OK, here it is. Go on Google. Type in the name Gilliam. Watch what comes up.”
What’s going to come up?
“The majority are black people. So maybe I’m half black. I just don’t look it.”
But earlier, he described himself as a white male.
“I don’t like the term black or white. I’m now referring to myself as a melanin-light male. I can’t stand the simplistic, tribalistic behaviour that we’re going through at the moment.” He smiles. “I’m getting myself in deeper water, so I have to trust you.” I’m not sure what he’s trusting me to do.
At the end of the day, Terry Gilliam is a white man showing us the same white male fragility that most white men do in a time when whiteness and patriarchy are being challenged as the default for social and cultural normalcy. He comes from a time when society was content in having the white male archetype be the pop culture standard and he can’t stand living in a world where that pedestal is slowly being chipped away. It’s easy for him to call himself a “black lesbian” as long as he never has to experience the way society treats one. We all know he’d much rather just be a white man and, in a world where white men still dominate every aspect of our power structure, pretend to be marginalized.