‘Jim Jefferies: Intolerant’: Comic's Netflix Special mines oversimplified binaries and reveals problematic politics

The special makes for an interesting case study of the comic’s worldview, which works in oversimplified binaries, hyperboles, and straw man fallacies


                            ‘Jim Jefferies: Intolerant’: Comic's Netflix Special mines oversimplified binaries and reveals problematic politics
‘Jim Jefferies: Intolerant’. (Netflix)

Spoilers for ‘Jim Jefferies: Intolerant’

In his fourth and latest Netflix stand-up comedy special, ‘Jim Jefferies: Intolerant’, the Australian-born comic, while segueing from a rant about why women’s aversion to chivalry today is painful to him, took a dig at the 2016 women-led reboot of ‘Ghostbusters’.

“Like, I was in a movie with my son. We were watching the ‘Ghostbusters’ movie, the new one with the female cast. My son - he’s four at the time. And he turns to me, watching ‘Ghostbusters’, and he goes, ‘This movie is not as good as the other ‘Ghostbusters’,” he tells the audience. “And I went, ‘Shut up. Shh. You’re not allowed to say that’.”

He goes on to call it a “s*** f***ing movie”, adding, considerately so, that the film’s actors were good. The director was good. They had all done great movies in the past. “It wasn’t s*** because women were in it. It was s*** because it was s***,” he says. He took the same line of defense as many did back in 2016. 

Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, and Kristen Wiig in 'Ghostbusters'. (IMDb)

He isn’t wrong about the film being subpar in its execution. It was not a good movie, at all. What he is wrong about is completely ignoring the fact that the film did receive an extraordinary amount of sexist hatred. Fans had made up their mind about disliking the movie even before it was released - proof could be found in the severity with which the trailer was downvoted on YouTube. It was seen on Twitter and on Reddit and in YouTube comments.

But Jefferies’ set is replete with tales like these. It makes for an interesting case study of the comic’s worldview, which works in oversimplified binaries, hyperboles, and straw man fallacies. 

For example, accommodating those with peanut allergy suddenly became the rest paying the price for their affliction in the form of not getting peanuts on a plane. How  Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton’s 1980 comedy ‘9 to 5’ should have an opposite-gender reboot where three men torture their female boss (a revenge fantasy worthy of Barry Levinson’s 1994 erotic thriller ‘Disclosure’). How women are painfully dependent on a skin-care routine - he doesn’t have to, because he has great skin despite his past alcohol and cocaine addictions.

Each hot take from Jefferies is a testament to just how much of a status-quoist he is. He’s not regressive, after all, he convinced his once-homophobic father of voting yes on the marriage equality referendum in Australia. He just doesn’t like how “woke” everyone has become. 

Jefferies isn’t alone here. Far too many non-conservative folks believe that those who demand a shift from status-quo are being too extreme. This leads to bizarre false equivalences between left-wing and right-wing extremism.

And this is where a dangerous precedent is set. How demanding cultural change is seen as a pest. And how it’s these so-called millennials who think they are better than everyone else. Jefferies’ stand-up set is thus aptly named. It may be a play on both his annoyance towards those who challenge the status-quo and his lactose intolerance. But it's far more about the former.

‘Jim Jefferies: Intolerant’ is available for viewing on Netflix.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.