The comedian Ricky Gervais — of British “The Office” fame — is not for everybody.
He can be pretty offensive. As the host of the recent Golden Globes, he joked about Mel Gibson’s issues with alcohol and about Paul McCartney’s divorce settlement.
Now an extensive interview that Gervais gave to a London newspaper is earning him all sorts of scorn.
A widely circulated article from Catholic Online declares: “Ricky Gervais is also a eugenicist. He promotes mandatory sterilization.”
I saw this and thought “Huh?”
It turns out that Gervais told The Sun that “useless people” should be sterilized.
He said that there are “too many people who are poor and struggling” and that “What there is, is too many useless people. Too many people who shouldn’t have children.”
These are bizarre and troubling words.
But Gervais also says: “If there’s a woman in leggings, eating chips with a fag in her mouth, sterilise her.”
That last line made me think that Gervais could not possibly be serious and that the whole thing is some sort of joke.
After all, elsewhere in the interview, he says: “I want to antagonise as many people as love me for it. And I want the people who hate me to hate the fact that so many people love me. It’s my mission.”
About his critics, he says: “”I’m far too famous. I’m far too rich. I’m far too successful. I’m far too unapologetic. I’m far too smug. And I’ve got far too many awards.”
Can he be serious?
He also says: “I do have a plan for what I would like to do with my money one day… but it’s weird.”I love nature and would like to live in a house where, when I open the back door, it’s like a wildlife park.
“It’ll be like something out of a Disney film – the birds will be able to come down on my shoulder, I’ll be singing a little song to the squirrels while they’re chatting to a badger… ”
And he says that he intends to move to New York because “artists are more revered there.”
He’s either joking the whole time — or mad. Is it part of his act to mix rational statements with offensive, irrational ones?
I think he’s kidding around, but I’m not sure.
Asked whether only poor people should be sterilized, he answers directly: “I’d never impose someone not being able to have kids because they were poor.”
And the Sun points out that Gervais and his longtime girlfriend have never had children. It would be “too much hassle,” Gervais said.
Catholic Online’s Deacon Keith Fournier writes that even if Gervais’ comments are dismissed because he is a comedian, popular culture is often a barometer of changing cultural attitudes (and may help shape them in the process).
The assertion by Ricky Gervais that there are “useless people” in our midst reveals a Gathering Storm of Eugenics in Western Culture. It is time for a public outcry and denunciation. The comments by this “comedian” are a deadly poison which will, if left unchecked, threaten our future as a truly free and civilized people.
Gervais has a new animated show premiering on HBO soon. He may have been trying to drum up interest.
He says he will soon appear on the American “Office” as his British “Office” character, David Brent. It will certainly be a much-hyped pop culture moment.
I wonder if Gervais’ comments about sterilization will come up.
(Mark J. Terrill / AP Photo)