Dominic West generated more headlines this week than most of his A-list peers.
In the 21st century, that isn’t necessary.
“They should have a transgender Bond because there are a lot of transgender people in the army. They’d be ideal because they can do everything.”
Naturally, eager editors pounced on the news. Did it matter that West has zero say in future Bond casting decisions? Or that the chances of a transgender actor landing the most iconic film role in history stand at roughly nil?
Of course not.
His comments were Virtue Signaling 101, and he wasn’t the only actor doing something similar in the span of a few days.
Darren Criss has played gay characters in the past, notably Blaine on the Fox hit show “Glee.” Now, the heterosexual actor has had a change of heart.
During a recent event for Clorox’s What Comes Next in New York, Criss said that the gay roles that he has played are wonderful. He followed that up with saying, “But I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”
Gay actors play straight people all the time. The reverse holds true, too. It’s called … acting. When you virtue signal you don’t think things through. It’s all about feeling something … superior.
Penn Badgley joined his fellow actors in the Virtue Signaling Olympics. The “Gossip Girl” alum told the press he demands a “worldwide directive” to give more oppressed communities access to roles.
“If anybody exists at any kind of intersection of oppression beyond the box of white male, I’d say let’s make damn sure that they’re being represented by the people who have lived this experience [and] not have people who haven’t lived the experience portraying them,” he tells PinkNews.
“Because then at the end of the day you’re getting a real portrayal.”
Penn Badgley Criticized “Privileged-Ass White” Actors Who Take Minority Roles https://t.co/QnNgNEwdQa
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) December 21, 2018
For the record, Badgley is a white male. It’s unclear if he ever rejected a role so that a member of an oppressed group could take it instead.
Snark, aside, why would three gainfully employed actors virtue signal like this?
Here’s five explanations:
Reporters pounced on all of the above stories. Why? As Derek Hunter explains in his book “Outrage, Inc.: How the Liberal Mob Ruined Science, Journalism, and Hollywood,” reporters can’t share their biases like they wish they could (even though some often do). So they’re eager to share far-left comments far and wide. It leaves a similar impact.
The actors, in turn, get a crush of free publicity, which more often than not helps their careers.
Ingratiate Themselves with Their Fellow Actors
Tim Allen does his own career few favors by sharing conservative viewpoints. The opposite holds true, too. Stars pounding their chests about progressive ideals earn kudos from their fellow thespians. It’s akin to saying all the “right” things at a business lunch or cocktail party. Their woke comments raise their industry status.
A Wee Bit of Guilt
Actors know all too well how lucky they are to get a gig, any gig. The business is brutal even for the most talented stars. So they may feel a measure of guilt for their continued success, and by theoretically helping marginalized communities it assuages those emotions.
Distracting from the Ugly Truth
Hollywood talks a great game when it comes to diversity. In practice, the numbers are downright ugly. So every time a star shares how vital it is to work in an environment where anyone of any race, creed or color can get the big jobs it distracts us from reality.
Don’t look at the latest studies. Listen to us embrace people of all communities in our sound bites.
There’s No Downside to Empty Rhetoric
If West, Criss or Badgley had come out in favor of a border wall or praised Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, all heck would break loose. Apologies would be demanded. The press would use all its collective might to “correct” their comments.
Here? The reporters covering the comments aired them in a neutral fashion. In some cases, the framing is obviously positive in nature.
Casting a transgender actor as James Bond would be a groundbreaking move for a major Hollywood franchise. Dominic West says “it’s a brilliant idea.”: https://t.co/X6LPlkbzyr pic.twitter.com/NaCfuotg4V
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) December 26, 2018
— NME (@NME) December 23, 2018
The usual Outraged Suspects didn’t demand retractions. Yes, conservatives “pounced.” These cultural observers roll their eyes and share sarcastic comments.
Late entry for Virtue Signaler of the year 2018?
— Peter Whittle AM (@prwhittle) December 23, 2018
What didn’t they do? Promise to shut down West, Criss or Badgley in any fashion unlike the far Left mob.