Monday, June 5, 2023

Why Can’t Matt Damon Just Listen to Ricky Gervais?

Thank your agent, thank your God, and fuck off. Okay?

When comedian Ricky Gervais took a flamethrower to the Golden Globes last night and called out the Hollywood elites for their hypocrisy and faux-wokeness, I immediately thought of Matt Damon.

The father of four who shot to stardom after his lead role in Good Will Hunting has a penchant for running his mouth about how other families should educate their children and it looks nothing like what he chose to do for his own four daughters. When pressed, he admits that he wishes he could send his daughters to public school but he just couldn’t find one that was up to his standards. He goes on to bemoan how “expensive” it is.

“I wish I didn’t have to send my kids to private school. It’s expensive.” —Matt Damon

Damon earned $55 million in 2018 and has a net worth of $170 million.

And this is just one tiny example of why Gervais’ opening monologue has struck such a cord with so many people across America who likely haven’t watched an award show in years and probably didn’t even tune in last night. It is as if Damon and others have lost the ability to even hear themselves talk or understand how their words may land on the ears of regular people. The guy who became the third highest paid actor in the world in 2016 could not find a public school that was good enough for his children yet somehow he sees virtue in lending his voice and his money to organizations hellbent on ensuring that poor families have zero options when it comes to the education of their children.

Damon fancies himself an expert on the issue of public education because his mother was a teacher. If I had a nickel for every time Matt Damon has spoken the words, “my mother was a teacher” into a microphone, I might even have enough money to send one low income child to school with his daughters. It is almost impossible to logically connect the dots between Damon’s mother’s career as an educator and his efforts to trap low income families in schools that he would never accept for his own children.

Damon isn’t alone. John Oliver has also used his enormous platform to deliberately misinform viewers about charter schools and turn the real lives and needs of children into a cheap punchline. He of course does it all with a clever and intellectual vibe; he was educated in a private school after all. Oliver is now a father of two young children and something tells me educational options will be in abundance. That’s how it works for the Hollywood elite—too bad most of them don’t seem to think ordinary parents without their wealth deserve to have some options too.

Think these fancy guys know that only 10 percent of black boys in the 8th grade read on grade level? Or that only 1/3 of American children are proficient in reading and writing? Or that a majority of black and brown voters—and parents— support education policies that provide options?

We could keep laughing at the Golden Globes for days, mocking the event organizers’ attempt to appear more environmentally conscious and reduce their carbon footprint by serving meatless meals to attendees who had just hopped off their private jets and rolled up to the red carpet in limousines. But let’s leave that to the comedians and columnists and everyday gadflies — we’ve got a hill to charge so that more parents have access to the agency and self-determination that comes with educational freedom.

Erika Sanzi
Erika Sanzi is a former educator and elected school committee member. She is also a senior visiting fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Her blog is Good School Hunting and her Substack is Sanzi Says. She occasionally writes for other outlets including Scary Mommy, The 74, and The Hill. She is the mother of three school aged sons and calls Rhode Island home.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts