The thinking person's Dalai Lama, Ricky Gervais, took his social conscience to the Golden Globes this week. He simultaneously hosted the event, promoted the second series of his show Afterlife and tore shreds off various celebrities. He did this in large part by making fun of physical attributes over which they have no control, such as their height (Martin Scorsese) and appearance (Joe Pesci). The multi-millionaire also seemed to have a problem with the personal wealth of many attendees.
The master of having his cake and eating it slammed many in the room for their pretensions to moral superiority, which he predicted in his opening remarks would form the text of their thank-you speeches.
The environment, diversity and other hot button topics would be their themes. As he spoke, many in the audience looked increasingly crestfallen as they realised their carefully prepared platitudes would have to be delivered in this context.
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Their messages were for safe subjects, designed to be delivered to a roomful of people who agreed with them. They were emboldened to speak out, not by the rightness of their messages but by the fact that everyone was on the same bandwagon.
In his own comments, Gervais broke ranks by bringing up something that wasn't on the list of topics everyone had been given to swot up.
He criticised the production studios who were the room's main employees, notably Apple for its use of child labour. Now he's brought it up, we may see #notinfavourofchildslavery trending next year.
But he also seemed to suggest actors weren't entitled to have opinions and express them. He hinted they might have been a little out of touch with political reality.
That seemed debatable. But then along came award-winner Joaquin Phoenix, who announced that he would wear the same Stella McCartney tuxedo that he had on to every other event of the awards season.
Just in case you thought this would involve an element of self-interest, McCartney stood by her client, tweeting: "This man is a winner ... wearing custom Stella because he chooses to make choices for the future of the planet ... I am proud to join forces with you."
One wonders how much further he can go to save the planet.
As far as I can tell, Joaquin Phoenix has never been arrested on behalf of an issue. He's just not that kind of actor. Unlike, for instance, Martin Sheen who has been arrested 65 occasions for acts of civil disobedience on behalf of various causes. But, for all I know, he may have worn a new outfit every time.
an we please stop referring to the Prime Minister of Australia by the adorable diminutive "Scomo". Although he may be a sock puppet, he is not a cuddly toy as the sobriquet suggests. He is a coal-crazed loon who is content to see his country burn in the interests of the mineral industry and his deranged Pentecostal religious beliefs.
As a footnote to events in the Middle East, it's worth noting an old analysis of what's really been going on in Iran. Negotiation expert Chris Voss observed several years ago that the reason Iran sacrificed tens of billions in potential oil revenue by refusing to buckle to foreign sanctions was not that it wanted to build nuclear weapons – it didn't - but that it refused to be bullied over what sort of power it could generate. "Why, Iran wonders, is it considered a pariah for enriching uranium, when India and Pakistan, which clandestinely acquired nuclear weapons, are accepted members of the international community?" And that was before foreign leaders started assassinating Iranian public figures.