Matt Gaetz quoted a line from the 2002 Mike Myers comedy “Austin Powers in Goldmember” on Wednesday, but the Florida Republican didn’t get it quite right, attributing the joke to Myers’ character instead of Michael Caine’s.
When addressing the heated issue of campus speech about the Israel-Hamas war during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Gaetz segued to the James Bond spoof. “I am reminded of the great words of the philosopher Austin Powers, who said, ‘There’s only two things I can’t stand. People who are intolerant of other people. And the Dutch.’”
It’s a funny line, except it’s not Austin Powers who says it, but his father, Nigel Powers, who was played by the inimitable Caine.
Nigel’s actual dialogue form the film is also slightly different: “There are only two things I can’t stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people’s cultures. And the Dutch!” The villain Goldmember, also played by Myers, is Dutch in the film.
It’s not the first time Gaetz has quoted the fictitious spy. In 2022, when speaking about gun control legislation, he said, “I’m reminded of a quote from Austin Powers. Where Austin Powers introduces one of his colleagues as a representative of ‘the militant wing of the Salvation Army.’ I didn’t know we had a ‘militant wing of the department of education.”
The topic of Wednesday’s hearing was “Free Speech on College Campuses,” with Gaetz saying there’s “an inherent tension” between liberal and conservative factions.
“We have people saying, ‘We have speech that we would like to have vindicated and we are under this tremendous pressure from these entities that offer a heckler’s veto of what we’re trying to get out,” Gaetz said.
“And then on the other side of the table, you have people saying, ‘Well, there’s speech we really don’t like that’s antisemitic and problematic, and we gotta figure out ways to root it out.” He added that “constraining speech” is “problematic.”
Online speech about the Middle East conflict is also a hot topic. Hearst magazines is seeking to limit its employees social media posts to non-controversial ones.
The move comes after Hollywood agents, politicians and editors have been censured or fired for expressing sympathy for Palestinians.
David Velasco, the editor-in-chief of Artforum magazine, was fired in October after the magazine published an open letter which read, in part, “We support Palestinian liberation and call for an end to the killing and harming of all civilians, an immediate ceasefire, the passage of humanitarian aid into Gaza, and the end of the complicity of our governing bodies in grave human rights violations and war crimes. “
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