It’s so obvious that Ricky Gervais was right that it seems absurd to have to say so…

I mentioned this in a comment on a previous thread; I’ll give it its own post…

I see that Ricky Gervais has been castigated for Tweeting the following:


Now there‘s an assertion that should hold a permanent and honored place in the annals of “duh.” How could anyone question it, much less object?

And yet he’s being pilloried for… wait for it… “blaming the victim.” Which is possibly the most preposterous thing I’ve heard today…

29 thoughts on “It’s so obvious that Ricky Gervais was right that it seems absurd to have to say so…

  1. Bryan Caskey

    Of course he’s right. But people don’t like to be told that some of their actions can have negative consequences. Whenever someone says something like what Gervais said, a knuckle-head will say it’s victim shaming.

    For instance, people get really upset if you tell college girls: “To reduce the risk of sexual assault, don’t drink too much at fraternity parties”. People will get upset and say that the boys shouldn’t be raping anyone, drunk, sober, or otherwise. And that’s true – both parts are true. Boys should be raping people, and girls should keep their drinking under control.

    Girls should be told that they’re entering a potentially dangerous place when they go to fraternity parties, AND boys should be told that there is never an acceptable reason to go to far with girl.

    But apparently, you can’t do the first part anymore. I guess it’s because there’s a hint of judgment in telling girls not to drink too much, or not to take nude pics of yourself, because they might get out.

    I mean, it’s pretty obvious advice. If you run around barefoot in the swamp and get snake bitten, it would kind of be a jerk move to tell the bitten person “Well, you probably should have worn some boots”. And you shouldn’t be a jerk in the moment. First, you help the guy, and THEN you give him a talk about boots, but not in a smug way. Not doing it in a smug and judge-like way is the key.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I wouldn’t tell the guy he should have worn boots right after he got bitten. But I WOULD tell him beforehand.

      And if there’s a rash of people getting snakebit while going barefoot through swamps, I will loudly say that anyone who just has to go traipsing through a swamp should wear boots (adding in my own dim view of gallivanting in swamps to begin with).

      Because you know, I’m a Dad. That’s my worldview.

  2. MP Baldauf

    I’m so glad to see that post! I feel the same way, but it’s definitely not a popular view to have. Even some of my most reasonable friends don’t get it. It’s like taking nude pictures is a unalienable right or something. If that’s your thing, I’m all for you taking them. Just don’t be surprised when one gets out. It seems to me a hacker is less a worry than an ex, but that’s just me…

      1. Bryan Caskey

        Objection: Relevance.

        Doing lots of dumb things is a right. It’s irrelevant whether something is a “right”. No one is saying that they don’t have the right to take the pictures. I’m questioning the wisdom of doing so.

      2. Brad Warthen

        Don’t get me started on privacy being a “right.”

        But as Bryan says, it’s irrelevant. You may have a right to jump off a cliff; you’re still foolish to do so. Gervais was pointing that out.

        We live in a really messed-up world when a) anyone even needs to point that out and b) people get mad at him for doing so.

        1. Doug Ross

          Please do get started on privacy being (or not being a “right”). I’d like to hear how a big brother aficionado views it. Although I think it boils down to “if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t worry about your privacy”.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            That was an irrelevant aside on my part, as I pointed out.

            If you must interpret it, the correct way to do so would be narrowly. It was a reference to the abominable Griswold v. Connecticut, in which the Supreme Court “discovered” a nonexistent “right to privacy” in our Constitution.

            Because of that precedent, our law operates as though such a right were a reality. Therefore it is, functionally, a reality. But it’s not there in the Constitution, and never was.

            And therefore it’s hard for me to see the words “right to privacy” without uttering a protest, whether it is germane or not.

            1. Mark Stewart

              So what you are saying is that you find this court case abominable because it was related to birth control?

              It’s hard to square with the likelihood that in all other areas you would appear apt to agree with the concept of a general right to personal privacy within the context of an ordered civil society.

  3. Kathryn Braun Fenner

    Let’s suppose hackers posted pictures of celebrities’ kids, celebrities who take great pains to keep their kids out of the limelight for their own safety. Would you say that those parents shouldn’t take photos of their kids?

    1. Bryan Caskey

      No, but I would say that any celebrity who is famous enough to have people interested in their kids to not store pictures on some hackable internet database. Maybe use an external hard drive.

      Again, it’s a “duh” kind of moment. The advice is obvious.

    2. Silence

      If you live and die (figuratively speaking) by publicity, as most all celebs do, please don’t be suprised if someone takes your photo and puts it online. Even if it’s a part of your life you are trying to keep private, like your family.

      1. Doug Ross

        Especially if you sell the “exclusive rights” to your first baby photos to magazines like People…

          1. Silence

            There’s a few who do not, and are fiercly protective of their kids’ privacy. I view that as sort of having their cake and eating it too… Most of the so-called “paparazzi” photos are staged, even. The star’s publicist places a call to a media agency and says “so and so will be shopping at XYZ boutique on Rodeo Drive, Thursday at Noon. Then the paparazzi don’t have to waste their time just standing around LA, and the celebs get in the tabloids, and the rags get their pageviews. It works the same for vacations. You think that there are photographers camped out all over Cabo or wherever? It’s all a game.

  4. Brad Warthen Post author

    I suppose that somewhere, sometime, someone has uttered the phrase “blaming the victim” in a context in which I would agree with that person’s overall point.

    But I can’t think of such a case. Usually, when I hear it, it is within the context of emotionally lashing out at someone for articulating common sense.

    1. Kathryn Braun Fenner

      The concept arises out of rape victims who are unwilling to come forward because they will be blamed for the rape’s happening. It is wrong to have sex with anyone who does not consent to it, even if they come back to your dorm room.

      When someone is badly injured in a car accident where they were hit by a red-light runner, we don’t say “It’s your own fault for driving a car in Columbia and not double checking every intersection because everyone knows folks run red lights around here.”

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Exactly. We don’t say that after it happens. But we do say that every driver should drive defensively, and assume other drivers are going to do something stupid and completely unjustifiable.

        Similarly, after a girl has been raped, it does little good to talk about what she should not have done. That only causes her more pain.

        However, we SHOULD say, before such a thing happens, that it is always a terrible idea to get drunk and tag along with a boy back to his dorm room. We can say, by all means AVOID such situations, because you’re are unnecessarily making yourself vulnerable.

        Feminism has taken a strange turn in this past generation. It has ventured into wishful thinking. We are not supposed to recognize the fact that it is highly probable that a male, being physically stronger than a female, will take advantage of her sexually, particularly under circumstances in which both his and her inhibitions are chemically eroded. When someone says we should recognize that reality, someone will cry, “You’re making excuses for the rapist!” Which is idiotic.

        Recognizing that there ARE sexually predatory people in this world, and that most of them are male, and that it is best not to offer them opportunities to engage in said predation, does not make an excuse for anyone. It just says beware — there is evil in the world, and you can easily be hurt by it.

        1. Kathryn Braun Fenner

          I would like to think that it is not remotely “probable” that a man would rape a woman if given an easy shot. It is certainly possible, and happens with alarming frequency, but I believe most men are not like that. Some are, so sure, be careful and thoughtful. Just don’t lead with criticizing the woman before you criticize the man. Nobody should get inebriated. Nobody should take advantage of another’s weakness. We should come down a lot harder on boys and young men that non means no, and drunk means no, full stop. Maybe boys and men need to be taught not to put themselves in positions where they could be accused of taking advantage. Instead we harp on girls.

          1. Mark Stewart

            I agree with Kathryn on this one. Predatory behavior should be punished. Not weakness, nor fun (sorry Kathryn, you lost me on that part).

  5. Bart

    Equating rape with hacking private emails and iCloud photo storage is a bit of a reach. While both violate the individual who is the victim, the issue at hand is the hacking and publishing of nude photos of celebrities by onerous websites.

    My son is an IT security specialist and no matter how secure a site is advertised to be, it is always, repeat, always vulnerable to hackers. So, if you are aware of the simple fact that being a celebrity automatically qualifies you as a target for hackers, then storing nude photos on iCloud or whatever the site may be, you are exposed – period. Gervais may have stated the obvious in a manner objectionable to some but he is right.

    But, there is another side to the issue. One of the hacked photo files was that of a gymnast, McKayla Maroney. She is 18 now but the fact that she was 16 at the time now qualifies the hacking crime as a form of child pornography and the hacker and anyone publishing the photos could be prosecuted under child pornography laws.

    Maybe the question should be asked; who took the photos of her in the nude at the age of 16 and who stored them in iCloud? Could the person who took the photos be over the age of 18 and therefore guilty of child endangerment? Were they selfies? I don’t know and have no desire to “find out for myself”. If my observations and questions are considered to be politically incorrect, so be it. Your problem, not mine.

    My wife and I never place anything on the internet or store in the Cloud or iCloud that is of a private nature. No information that can be used for criminal purposes and no personal information either. If I cannot give my credit card number on the phone, I don’t buy.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No one means to equate rape and hacking photos. Obviously, a beautiful starlet whose nude photos are being ogled is not being violated in the same degree as a rape victim. It’s like a molehill and a mountain. The hacking is bad; rape is exponentially worse.

      We’re saying that the reflexive “you’re blaming the victim!” response to common sense assertions works much the same in both situations, and for the same reasons.

  6. Brad Warthen Post author

    And of course, we’ve all been too polite to mention something else that is just as obvious as Ricky Gervais’ commonsense advice:

    No one would bother to hack into anything to see nude photos of Ricky Gervais. Which sort of puts him in the “it’s easy for YOU to say” category. But that doesn’t change the fact that he’s right…

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