I saw that Terry Gilliam was in the headlines saying things that get one on the front page of Yahoo. I was outraged. I was offended at his lack of sensitivity to people everywhere! How could he say such things? My hands trembled in a state of self-righteous indignation, clutching my phone, ready to send a self-inflating response to protect the defenseless whom Gilliam had assailed. Then I realized that Terry Gilliam is the American member of Monty Python so what he says doesn’t really matter.
The member of Monty Python who is most relevant to me these days is the deceased parrot-No! Sorry, deceased Python member, the late Graham Chapman.
I was fortunate to see Graham Chapman live on my college campus in the early 80’s. His performance then was simply a Q and A as he sat on folding chair on the stage. The auditorium was full and I was thrilled to see a member of Python in person. I had started watching the original Flying Circus as a pre-teen when the series first aired in the States back in the early 70s.
One bit of Chapman’s show I still recall was of him requesting “abuse” from those of us in the audience. This was a reference to the famous “argument sketch”, which Python fans know verbatim. For a minute or so the audience gladly complied. We called Chapman names and tossed paper wads at him. I remember one woman going on stage and tapping Chapman gently on his shoulder with her first clenched in a parody of physical abuse. Chapman thanked the woman. All in good fun.
I post this recollection, spurred on the American Python being in the news because it strikes me that we may be taking things too seriously these days. Can you imagine if Chapman were still alive and asked for abuse from an audience today? Chapman had already come out as being gay and had a well-deserved reputation as a boozer. Can you imagine? I think everyone would look around to their fellow audiences members and shrug their shoulders or not say a word. They would be terrified of offending not only Chapman but all the other audiences members. “Not me, I’m not insulting this man! Even if he asked for it! How would it look?”
Of course, the very same audience members would have no problem abusing and insulting the living shit out of anyone and everyone via their phone. Taking advantage of distance and the courage it gives one, the offended blast all those who dare even question their sensibilities. In the case of Terry Gilliam’s comments, they are completely missing the point ( hint: he has a movie coming out). To conclude, I ‘m sure that Graham Chapman would find all this finger pointing and name calling via the phone to be “very silly indeed”