Last night, 386 miles south of San Quentin State Prison, NBC televised a “live” execution from the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.
Outside, where twin palm trees stand like paintbrushes beneath the hotel’s logo, where a cursive, lower-cased “the” runs above the hotel’s name, where the marshmallow white exterior highlights the hotel’s red signage, where the letters engrave a giant sheet of hotel stationery, the contrast is clear.
A monument to mid-century design rather than a mausoleum for the living dead, whose ranks include death row inmates and men with life sentences, the hotel is where Ricky Gervais committed legal homicide.
As the host of the 77th Golden Globes Awards, he did more than kill. He fired a series of comedic missiles that destroyed all sense of calm and comity.
An Englishman, he conquered America by mocking the hypocrisy, ignorance, and self-indulgence of Hollywood.
By refusing to have Hollywood politicize another awards show, by refusing to have the world’s richest stars propound about the globe’s gravest problems, by refusing to yield the spotlight to celebrities who crave the limelight, by refusing to surrender the stage to actors who pontificate onstage, Gervais condemned the millionaires and billionaires in the room.
He condemned Amazon, Apple, and Disney too.
He condemned his guests by laughing at them. He gave Americans the last laugh.