Bill Maher bestows Cojones Awards for anti-wokeness

April 22, 2023 • 11:00 am

Reader Gregory sent me this clip from last night’s Real Time show, in which Bill Maher recounts how censorship, once the purview of the Right, now comes more often from “Twitter, the Ivy League, and the progressive Left.” (He defends J. K. Rowling, which of course will rile his opponents.) In response, he suggests starting an awards show “to honor the brave people who fought back” against Cancel Culture.

The award show, called The Cojones (honoring “outstanding achievement in growing a pair”), begin at 3:05. And the winners, who receive a mounted pair of golden testicles, are:

Martha Pollack, the President of Cornell University, for her rejection of trigger warnings.

Trader Joe’s, which refused to give up the names of “problematic” products like “Trader José’s Beer” and “Trader Ming’s” Chinese food.

Ted Sarandos, the CEO of Netflix, who refused to give in to those who demanded the cancelation of Dave Chapelle and told employees that comedy can cross boundaries, and employees who didn’t like that might want to work elsewhere.

Ben Stiller, who directed and starred in the movie Tropic Thunder, which and recently defended it. Maher says it’s a great movie, though I haven’t seen it, but apparently, while highly rated and popular, it was also deeply controversial for supposedly mocking the mentally disabled, using anti-Semitic tropes, and showing blackface. As Maher says, “The scolds have been after it for years.” Here’s what Wikipedia says about Stiller’s defense:

In February 2023, Stiller defended Tropic Thunder on his Twitter account by stating he had “no apologies” and that he is “proud of it and the work everyone did on it.” Stiller’s defense was a response to a fan of the film who suggested that the former cease apologizing for making the film in light of the pervasive cancel culture which rose during the late 2010s and early 2020s

A tweet from Stiller in response to another one:

Maher’s lesson, which is a good one, is this:

“If you stand up to the mob—for just a day or two—their shallow, impatient, immature, smartphone-driven gerbil minds will forget about it and go onto the next nothingburger and you—you will still have your cojones.”

If you’ve seen “Tropic Thunder,” weigh in below.

And I have a shortlist of my own Cojones Awards, none of them going to conservatives.

J. K. Rowling, for extraordinary aplomb and passion in defending women’s rights in the face of vicious trans activists

John McWhorter and Glenn Loury, who refuse to adhere to the Critical Social Justice playbook and say what they think about race in America

Riley Gaines, an NCAA swimmer who was chased and assaulted at San Francisco State University after giving a talk opposing the inclusion of transgender women in women’s sports. She’s been a vocal critics of this “inclusion” that is actually a trampling on women’s rights, and she says she’s not going to stop just because a pretty dire attack on her person.

And there are all those academics who were fired or disciplined for speaking the ideologically improper, but I don’t have time to list them all. Who would you award a Cojones Award (or perhaps a Golden Ovaries Award) to?

34 thoughts on “Bill Maher bestows Cojones Awards for anti-wokeness

  1. A similar award should be granted to anyone in the publishing industry willing to take a principled stand against the censorship of Christie, Dahl, and, most recently, Wodehouse. This trend is disturbing and disgraceful indeed.

    1. I had not heard about censorship of Wodehouse. Publishers who censor works of dead authors are a disgrace to the industry. It is one thing when they are working with a living author who can work it out with the publisher, but a dead writer may not have anyone to properly defend them.

  2. Tropic Thunder was funny af, with Robert Downey Jr. giving a (to my ear) perfect simulation of a very black actor. And you won’t recognize Tom Cruise. I keep saying that his range as an actor is very under-utilized. But it is a crude and lewd movie. Last I checked, most streaming services pointedly will not play it. It has been pretty much cancelled.

      1. Dumb funny is just as great as smart funny and often requires a lot of intelligence to work(unless it’s unintentionally funny), like ZAZ movies like Airplane!, or The Naked Gun.

  3. I saw Tropic Thunder once when it came out in 2008. The first time I laughed out loud was a death scene they were filming. The soldier was injured in battle. His intestines and other guts came flowing out, and flowing and flowing, enough guts for ten men. I was laughing loudly- along with everyone else in the theater. It was witty and clever. In 2008 we were aware that the black face and other boundary crossing humor was not politically correct, but it’s humor. I don’t find adolescent fart and puke movies funny. Anyone who makes me laugh out loud over and over for the duration of a movie has my respect. Good for him for not apologizing.

  4. Can there be a lost cojones designation (with perhaps a lost article claim slip for the award?) for people who uncritically go along with the loudest voices?
    Steve Novella was the recipient I had in mind since in addition to all his biological sex nonsense on the Science Based Medicine site, he has also disputed that cancel culture even exists on his other site Neurologica.

    1. He’ll have to be joint recipient with PZ Myers, a once-fearless defender of the truth turned embarrassment to his profession and antithesis of the ‘freethought’ he purports to value. His defence of transgender dogma is a sight to behold; his posts ‘explaining’ why human sex is far from binary are filled with irrelevancies without ever actually offering any substantial evidence for his initial claim. They are, in fact, so confusing, leaping from irrelevance to irrelevance so swiftly and so often that they make the famous ‘Gish gallops’ seem succinct by comparison.

      1. I would put PZ Myers way ahead of Steve Novella for a lost cojones “award.” Novella has disappointed me but I still respect a lot of what he has done. PZ Myers started with some good biology/science posts and pointing out errors in “scientific” Creationist claims, often using a Monty Python idiot graphic when quoting bad Creationist arguments. Then he moved onto mocking and attacking anyone that didn’t have quite his same views on politics, social justice, atheism, skepticism, and so on, again using the idiot graphic. He wasn’t arguing objectively, just attacking anyone that didn’t think exactly the same way he did. It got to the point I couldn’t read a post by him without getting angry at the nonsense, and have avoided reading anything by him for a long time. I’m not at all surprised he would buy into gender ideology and sex spectrum pseudoscience. Remember the Atheism Plus fiasco?

    2. He also sided with Christian Cooper, the birdwatcher Amy Cooper called the cops on in central park. There was a lot more to that story including troubling aspects about the guy’s behavior in the past and in this instance, including actually making threats. I asked Novella to present a more balance ‘skeptical’ take on the situation, but he declined, and I haven’t listened to their podcast since. It isn’t really a sceptics guide, or science based position.

  5. A Golden Ovaries for Ophelia Benson would be apt. She faced down the baying mob at FTB, refusing to comply with their ridiculous demands and standing by her principles, left what had become the poisoned, hive-mind network that FTB had devolved into, and continues to be an unflinching supporter of feminism and women’s rights whilst pulling apart the central tenets of trans dogma with her trademark style of wit, anger and unflinching honesty.

    1. True, perhaps.

      But her previous bad faith characterizations of Sam Harris as a sexist pig left a stench, IMO.

  6. I’d nominate PCC(E)!

    Your choice of species and gametes, of course, or to decline the “statue” altogether.

  7. Agreed, golden backbone awards to PCC(e) and to Loury and McWhorter, and Ophelia Benson, and Bill Maher himself. I would add James Carville, Colin Wright, and Professor Stanley Goldfarb of Penn, author of “Take Two Aspirins and Call Me By My Pronouns” about the woke onslaught on medical education.

  8. Golden Cojones to:

    Helen Joyce
    Maya Forstater
    Arif Ahmed
    Nigel Biggar
    Alice Sullivan
    Kathleen Stock
    Keira Bell
    Peter Boghossian
    Andrew Doyle

    to start with …

    1. Absolutely. I’d add to that list:

      Professor Jo Phoenix, who gave up a much better paying job at the University of Durham to work at the Open University, only to be effectively forced out for convening the Gender Critical Research Network.

      Allison Bailey who won an employment tribunal claim against her chambers. You would think that a barristers’ set that boasted about its values of diversity and social justice would have been proud to count a black lesbian, who had successfully seen her childhood rapist convicted and jailed, amongst their number. But no, she believed in the twin heresies of sex and same-sex, not “same-gender”, attraction …

      Kellie-Jay Keen, who has promoted Let Women Speak events around the world, at no inconsiderate risk to her own safety.

      It is probably no coincidence that Stock, Phoenix, Bailey, and Bell are lesbians and so doubly impacted by the misogynist and homophobic transgender identity ideology.

      A memorable mention to James Esses, too. He was expelled from his Master’s in psychotherapy without warning after expressing his views on improving safeguarding, therapy, and counselling for vulnerable children with gender dysphoria. His court case is currently pending.

  9. A number of good suggestions by your discussants! Loved the Bill Maher piece. It’s good to see someone with a platform as large as his take a stand. He gets a Cajones Award—Supersized, since he’s joined the fight for the long haul.

    1. As someone else pointed out, the movie was “dumb and funny”, an invariable feature (particularly the first) of Stiller’s work. In this realm, bad taste is probably unavoidable. Consider, as another example, Mel Brooks.

  10. Les couilles d’or to:

    Frances Widdowson
    Hymie Rubinstein
    The Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Centre
    And any private citizen the Canadian Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations accuses, from his lofty authority as a minister of the Crown, of hate speech in the form of residential school “denialism”.

  11. While I disagree with Jordan Peterson on any number of issues he has stood up to the woke as much as anyone. Gad Saad too.

  12. Given it seems to be a fairly simple path to wealth, audience, clout, political power, Netflix specials and now awards, I’m not sure how much “cajones” being antiwoke takes but sure, sounds like fun.
    The hilarity of this pearl-clutching about “cancel culture” is clearly shown in the bit about Tropic Thunder. This is a movie that has never been ‘cancelled’ and Ben Stiller has never apologised for. Unfortunately, that doesn’t fit the antiwoke narrative so someone had to start a twitter thread lying about the movie being cancelled and Ben Stiller apologising for it. Now Ben can be lionised for not doing something he never felt any pressure to do in response to an outcry that never happened.
    This is my problem with a lot of antiwoke rhetoric. It seems to be a lot of chancers virtue signalling about how great they are for not bowing to an oppression that never happened.

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