I've been reading about this Unbelievably Controversial Joke in Vince Vaughn's upcoming movie The Dilemma, and I finally watched the trailer, unsure of what to expect. Would it be like The Aristocrats? Would it be like Louis C.K.? Dear god, would it be like that scene in Oz where the guy crapped directly on the face of another guy?
Well, not exactly. Here's the line in question:
Electric cars are gay. Not "homosexual" gay. But, you know, "my parents are chaperoning the dance" gay.
You know what? Give me a goddamned break.
Yes, I understand that words can be hurtful. And yes, I understand this is a sensitive time, due to recent tragic events. But let's assume we should all follow Anderson Cooper's lead and make the word "gay" unacceptable (except, presumably, for its original reference to feelings of being carefree, or its current meaning with regards to homosexuality but only if it's used in a positive way). If we do that, we surely shouldn't stop there, because there are MANY other potentially offensive words we should probably address.
In fact, maybe we should re-issue Vaughn's old movies with all the improper phrases deleted. It'll take a while, of course. Here's just a few choice quotes from his various roles:
It’s time to put your mouth where our balls are.
You’re adopted! Your parents don’t even love you!
Can you do me a favor and tell Mitch it’s perfectly okay to have sex with a 17-year-old?
Why don’t you try getting jacked off under the table in front of the whole damn family and have some real problems, jackass.
Come on. Do we really expect moral guidance from these films? Or do we expect crass humor that pretty much deliberately goes for the R rating?
Vaughn issued a statement—not an apology—about the joke, saying, in part:
Drawing dividing lines over what we can and cannot joke about does exactly that; it divides us. Most importantly, where does it stop.
I agree. I don't want Hollywood deciding what words are and are not okay for me to hear. I'll make that choice myself, and I won't expect movies to teach my children values, either. That's my responsibility as a parent, not Vince Vaughn's.
(And by the way, I don't see anyone getting worked up over, say, the dean on Community. You ask me, that character's a lot more offensive to the homosexual community than a throwaway joke about electric cars.)