Short Take: Nothing To Hide

Maybe Idris Elba will play a lawyer in the movies, but he’s not one for real, no matter how sexy he is. That didn’t stop him from parroting the same simplistic slogan that cops have used forever to persuade people from refusing to consent.

British actor and 2018 “sexiest man alive” Idris Elba recently told The Sunday Times that the #MeToo movement is “only difficult if you’re a man with something to hide.” Vanity Fair contrasted Elba’s uncompromising stance with remarks made by Matt Damon and Henry Cavill, who both had to walk back their criticisms of #MeToo’s potential excesses and their perceived sympathy for accused men.

The appeal of the simplistic is undeniable. Short. Pithy. The sort of “answer” anyone, no matter how mind-numbingly shallow, can grasp.

Valerie Jarrett and Shonda Rhimes tweeted praise for Elba. Essence said his answer was “perfect.”

Riding high after being floated as the next James Bond, which he rejected because Aston Martins weren’t sexy enough, it’s understandable that Elba would want to firmly establish his bona fides as the guy women can get the hots for without feeling like traitors to the cause. But his “perfect” answer was, well, a little too perfect.

Is #MeToo only a problem for men who have something to hide? I doubt Aziz Ansari—who was smeared in the pages of because of a bad date involving some misinterpreted cues—would agree. Or Stephen Henderson, the first black editor of The Detroit Free Press‘ opinion pages, who lost his job for vaguely-defined inappropriate behavior that had generated zero complaints. (My colleague Shikha Dalmia called this a clear case of #MeToo run amok.)

Whether Elba will nail the role of H.L. Mencken remains unknown, but as much as his simplistic solution to #MeToo, “only difficult if you’re a man with something to hide.” is palpably nonsensical, it’s exactly what the unduly passionate want to hear from a celebrity.

But the irony is that this sort of assertion is the one lawyers have fought against for decades from the police, who play on fear to overcome sound judgment and overcome an individual’s will.

Elba’s comment mirrors language we often hear from conservatives who defend the national security state, the TSA, the PATRIOT Act, and other incursions on civil liberties: You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide. It’s an attempt to shut down legitimate criticism of well-intended but recklessly illiberal policies by making it seem like the only reason to oppose them is fear of getting caught.

Contemporaneous with this #MeToo pandering are the TrumpLaw cries on matters such as the “perjury trap,” where the sides flipped wildly when it was raised in defense of Michael Flynn and the cries were heard across social media that there’s no such thing, as long as people just “tell the truth.” The cognitive dissonance is enough to give you whiplash.

It’s hard to blame Elba for saying what he did. He’s got a brand to protect in troubling times, and who is at greater risk than the sexiest man alive? It’s almost begging for someone to come out of the woodwork and complain that he was a lousy date, or had a flaccid moment, or uttered a word years ago that sounded remarkably familiar to one that is taboo as of yesterday. Let’s face it, when you’re atop the pedestal, there is always someone trying to knock you off.

But Elba’s statement is utter nonsense, not that an actor would have any reason to know better. It’s not his job to think deeply, be intellectually honest or advise people on how they should conduct their lives. His job is to act, and to not get burned at the stake in an industry rife with progressive rapists. His job is to survive. But make no mistake, his advice is dumb and wrong, and exactly the sort of simplistic tripe that will end up harming others.

And there is no sexier car than the Aston Martin DB5.

44 thoughts on “Short Take: Nothing To Hide

  1. Richard Kopf


    Your East Coast affection for the silly British Austin Martin DB5 is regrettable. Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to say that it borders on the treasonous. Real Americans like me favor the 755-Horsepower Chevy Corvette ZR1 in orange.

    Can one say “shame” and “all the best” at the same time? I guess I will.


        1. Richard Kopf

          Bastards, both of you.

          The only difference between Skink and SHG is that Skink eats road kill and SHG favors eating ducks that have been tortured by stuffing shit down their throats. I don’t know which one is worse.

          To hell with you both! But, all the best anyway.


          1. Skink

            Rich–#metoo aside, that’s a mighty sexy machine. If you can’t get some on that, well. . . .

            I could use it to make stew. Cuttin’ the possums, boars and armadillos gets a little tough with my worn blade. Does it have a grenade launcher? Does it spew oil out of the back?

          2. ShootingHipster

            Road kill can be better. It can be worse. Just going to leave it at that since I’ve already been warned about leaving personal anecdotes here.

  2. wilbur

    I’d truly never heard of the “sexiest man alive” until this morning. So I looked up the link provided, and now I feel empowered to decide for myself whether he deserves that title.

    Thus, Able was I ere I saw Elba.

  3. Hunting Guy

    No. You’re wrong.

    The sexiest car around is the 63 corvette.

    (I know, it’s not Tuesday, but if someone is wrong on the internet, I have to correct it.)

      1. ShootingHipster

        Speaking of XK…. The Jaguar XKSS is hands down the sexiest car in existence. And Scott knows this.

        1. SHG Post author

          First, let’s not conflate production cars with race or novelty cars, k? And second the D-Type (which was the model for the XKSS) had the fin.

          And third, different XK, but you knew that.

          1. RB

            Jaguar…is that a good enough segue to the Toyota 2000GT? (supposedly E-type inspired)
            The Bond convertible looks great, but I still prefer the hardtop lines.

            While not pretty, a Ski-doo Rev 600 HO is a lot of fun this time of year. Though that’s my complete experience for Bond vehicles. I’ll “admire” the 2CV from a distance, thank you.

    1. SHG Post author

      No dispute that the split window vette was the best vette (with the ’57 Fuelie a close second), but it’s still just a vette.

  4. Raccoon Strait

    My short take from this story is that anyone on the side of #MeToo actually recognizes something called “sexiest man alive” and doesn’t have a conniption fit on Twitter. I wonder how they feel about Miss World, or Miss Universe?

  5. Paul

    “I know; shit is weak, but, y’know, shit is weak all over. The thing is, no matter what we call feminism, it’s gonna get sold. Shit is strong, we gonna sell it; shit is weak, we gonna sell twice as much. You know why? ‘Cause a fiend, he gonna chase that shit no matter what. It’s crazy, you know. We do worse, and we get paid more.” – Stringer Bell

    Aston fan here, but I prefer db9. You may call me uncouth.

  6. Mark Brooks

    Dear Mr. Greenfield, wondering if you are aware of Jeremy Clarkson’s description of how the Aston Martin DB5 drives ? Quoting him from a review he made about the DB11 in Driving in The Sunday Times of 19/Dec/2016, ” The DB5, trumpeted by many as the best, most iconic Aston Martin of them all, feels pretty much like a Seddon Atkinson dustbin lorry to drive. There’s a scene in the Bond film GoldenEye where Pierce Brosnan races his silver bin lorry through the Alpes-Maritimes against a Ferrari 355. It was supposed to be very exciting but for me it was just annoying because I was being asked to believe that if someone entered a cow into the Grand National it would be in with a shout of winning. ”

    I know you don’t like weblinks, but perhaps you might have a laugh at the other Clarkson descriptions of various Aston Martin models.

    Mark Brooks
    St. Elizabeth
    PS Best to you and your family for the Seasons

    1. SHG Post author

      Good to have you back! It takes a certain sensibility to appreciate driving a DB5, as opposed to a fast-moving silent couch that has none of the attributes that make the senses tingle.

      One of my pals lent me his Maserati Ghibli for a weekend. It felt like I was driving a truck.

      1. Guitardave

        My mom rented a Viper for my pop on his 60th b-day. After he scared himself a few times, with a silly 16 year olds grin, he said,” have at it boy, be careful”. Four hours I’ll always remember! Kinda ugly in my book, ( i like curves, ala XK 140 ) but shifting from 4th to 5th at 135mph, with a gear to go….is truly awesome. It started to drizzle that nite….that was NOT fun, but i got it home in one piece.

        1. SHG Post author

          Biggest problem is finding a safe place to open up. A highway cop buddy of mine let me take the Healey out on the LIE to see what it could do. Got it up to 120, smooth as glass, and I was satisfied.

      2. Mark Brooks

        Mr. Greenfield, Top Gear (Jeremy Clarkson et al) did their usual time lap around their track with an original DB5 and a modified E-Type Jag. The DB5 set a record !! But not the one you might want. Enjoy !!

        Do you think mentioning Jeremy Clarkson will get me in trouble with the PC police ?

        Mark Brooks

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Don’t forget Jezza’s famous description of the Aston Vanquish’s exhaust note as Tom Jones dropping the soap in the shower block at Strangeways.
      Back on topic, “you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide” is one of the most frightening things a politician, policeman, or an actor who thinks he is consequential can say.

      1. Casual Lurker

        “All middle-aged physicians agree with you.”

        I remember reading a quote from a judge, something to the effect that he knew he had reached a correct decision when both parties were equally unhappy. While a logically flawed notion, I nonetheless found it useful.

        Several years ago, I made clear to a pair of middle-aged sons that they would not be inheriting my mint-condition Triumph TR4, nor would I sell it to either of them. It was sold shortly thereafter. They have still not forgiven me. C’est la vie.

          1. Casual Lurker

            “At least they can divide up the $27.59 proceeds from the sale of the TR-4 when you die.”

            I’m pretty sure they weren’t expecting a financial windfall from its sale. (They’re looking to other assets for that). Just a way to circumvent the spousal veto. Otherwise, they’d have competing Jags.*

            I did get considerably above the current market high. Although, that’s not saying much. I’m sure I spent more on maintenance than I paid for it, not to mention speeding tickets. However, it was in mint condition (none of the underside body rot so many complain of), red, shiny, and fast.

            Speaking of fast, a Westchester highway patrolman, whom I used to encounter on a fairly regular basis, used to kid me that they were going to put a commemorative plaque below some signage on a stretch of 495, just short of the Connecticut state line, honoring my contributions to roadway maintenance. So much for youthful exuberance. 😉

            *Sibling Rivalry, at its best.

  7. Jim Tyre

    It’s amazing how quickly the comments devolved into car talk. But no one will ever convince me that the sexiest car ever wasn’t a 1963 Chevy station wagon, with three on the tree and no power anything.

    Why? Because it was my first car, and I lost that certain something in it.

  8. Elpey P.

    I’m glad to see everyone doing such a bang-up job of staying on topic.

    Now who ordered a Meat Loaf sandwich?

    1. Elpey P.

      Aw man, direct links don’t embed?

      It’s those who respect the rules who are least competent at breaking them.

  9. B. McLeod

    Just like the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, The Terror, and McCarthyism. All only problems for people with something to hide.

  10. Morgan O.

    If you want something that has power, handling, and can give the charging hordes a whiff of the ol’ grape, then you must buy German. Like, says, the Leopard 2A6. Nothing mows a lawn like canister.

    In seriousness though, I was accused of generic MeToo violations just for owning an Audi. So maybe German isn’t the way to go.

    1. SHG Post author

      My “daily driver” is a ’90 BMW 325ic, from back when BMWs didn’t have cup holders and could give you whiplash.

          1. Ayoy

            Cool ride. Photoshop clone tool that bucket out (or put it back in the shed).

            And get rid of the Prius. Immediately.

  11. Ayoy

    Holy shit that Connery/DB5 image is *HIGHLY PROBLEMATIC*. If the pink pussy hats see this there will be big trouble. Wow… and this is just off the top of my head…

    1. Overconfident/aggressive male exhibiting posture/stance violations and general cocky look/demeanor.
    2. Non-conforming historic sports vehicle.
    3. Non-conforming historic sports vehicle likely containing problematic items, golf clubs, squash/tennis racket, and possibly a cricket bat.
    4. Non-conformant historic sports vehicle likely parked outside hetero-patriarchal privilege institution “boys club” (likely golf/country)
    5. Numerous golfing/sportswear attire violations…check out the cut of those slacks!
    6. Perfect parallel parking.
    …and likely MANY other #REASONS violations.

    Picture at minimum requires TRIGGER WARNING. To be safe tho take-down. Phew…

    Dream Garage: er… stay safe: go pink and electric

Comments are closed.