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In No World Did I Need to Know Mr. Bean’s Thoughts on Cancel Culture

'Mr. Bean weighs in on cancel culture': a real thing that now exists!

rowan atkinson
BBC

One of the reasons modern society is so tiring is because everyone has to give their take on everything at all times always. That is how you get a headline like this, from Variety:

Huh? Now I will admit to having been a fan of Mr. Bean in my youth. I saw the Mr. Bean movie and everything. I never got around to much of Blackadder, Rowan Atkinson’s other big claim to fame, though I guess I probably should, it being British and historically minded and all. I suppose that makes me about halfway familiar with the Atkinson oeuvre, but that feels like enough to know that Mr. Bean’s thoughts on cancel culture were not of the utmost importance. Mr. Bean doesn’t even really talk!

Nevertheless, here we are. Rowan Atkinson was asked the question—by Radio Times, it should be noted, not Variety—and he answered the question:

“It’s important that we’re exposed to a wide spectrum of opinion, but what we have now is the digital equivalent of the medieval mob roaming the streets looking for someone to burn,” Atkinson added. “So it is scary for anyone who’s a victim of that mob and it fills me with fear about the future.”

There you have it. Mr. Bean is filled with fear about cancel culture. I picture a Newsies-style teen running down the street waving his papers shouting, “Extra extra, Mr. Bean fears cancel culture!” Some research reveals that Rowan Atkinson has been agitating about “censoriousness” for a long time, but it wasn’t really a thing, because, well, it’s Rowan Atkinson, and why bother caring too much? But now someone has thrown out the question, “cancel culture, please comment etc,” and so he will surely become transformed from a man we all pleasantly remembered or ignored into the next free speech warrior. Did we need this? No!

PS: we did however need this part:

PPS I now know that Rowan Atkinson did a lengthy sketch where he plays an Indian waiter??? Life is depressing.