a novel by JOHN GRABOWSKI

Posts tagged “Emma Thompson

“Putting my head in the toilet…would be a more cleansing experience.” —Emma Thompson

"Don't you dare 'like' me!"

“Don’t you dare ‘like’ me!”

Wow, tell us what you really think, Emma… Don’t be so Brit-polite!

The star of such literary fare as Much Ado About Nothing and Sense and Sensibility says she hates hates HATES social media, thank you.

Also, she HATES social media.

…And did we mention she HATES social media???

Though she’s publicly forgiven fellow thespian Helena Bonham Carter for having an affair with former hubby Kenneth Branagh, if she never met Mark Zuckerberg in an elevator something tells me she’d strangle him dead.

And then kick him in the jewelbag just for fun.

Asked in a recent Vanity Fair interview about joining Twitter, Thompson said:

I’d rather have root canal treatment FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE than join Twitter. That’s not my scene at all. I can’t bear the thought of being connected all the time. God knows what it’s all doing to us. I hope that everyone does realize that we are all just one giant human experiment at the moment. We are just a great big bunch of little gerbils on wheels.

But it didn’t stop there. The two-time Oscar winner thinks these recent seismic changes in how we live are dangerous to our mental well-being, and she’s serious—we are in danger of our whole civilization going down the tubes:

In about 25 years time, maybe, a sudden generation will just drop dead. Everyone will just die on the same day. And I’ll say, “Oh, what do these people have in common? Hang on.” They were connected every day 24/7, you know! And no one knew what it was going to do to them. No one knew! Because we didn’t bother to find out. Because we’re stupid! We invent stuff, we just fling it out there, we let anyone use it. A three-year-old could fucking be on Twitter. A three-year-old! And then they go on and on and on about everything that there is. And get reviewed every day by Facebook. And then we will wonder why, at the age of 60, an entire generation chucks itself off a cliff like a bunch of lemmings. 

When asked if she ever Googled herself, she replied, “Putting my head in the toilet and flushing it repeatedly would be a more cleansing experience.”

Yikes.

She goes on about how today’s Americans are too monied and as a consequence have nothing to do but dream about owning the latest gadget. She said she doesn’t know what to talk to these people about. It reminded me of a famous Tocqueville quote that in democratic societies each citizen is habitually busy with the contemplation of a very petty object, which is himself. Emma must be a handful—and I love her for it.

The day after her comments emerged in that Vanity Fair interview, an article in a San Francisco Bay Area newspaper pointed out  how app developers more and more are targeting young children—very young, as in one or two.

The Oakland Tribune story talked about developers who want to put smart phone gizmos in the hands of children who don’t really understand concepts like data mining or opting out, or even privacy. Some parents defend these apps—one family says their third-grader is reading at the level of an eighth grader, something I find hard to believe simply because to read at such a high level requires more than just early exposure to technology. It necessitates life experiences, not just being able to process larger batches of words than your peers, and these can’t be rushed along; they have to happen. How was it ascertained he was reading at an eighth-grade level? Who tested him and how? Is “reading at an eighth grade level” defined as just assuring his parents he “knows what the words mean”?

Besides, every parent believes their little puddin does things so much better than all the other tots. Remember, at Lake Woebegone, all the children are above average.

Read more about Emma’s rant here.

…And about the trend of apps for tots, which interestingly had its headline changed from an originally critical one to this more positive one, here.

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Fewer stars in the Hollywood heavens?

Endangered species?

One of the basic premises of my novel is that a huge and versatile movie star with tremendous box office power exists.  I’m starting to wonder what’s happened to them in real life.

Just ten to fifteen years ago there were dozens of them, and despite the fact that Hollywood made plenty of junk movies (and that a number of these stars were in them) they also made a good deal of Oscar-buzz films built around the Gwyneth Paltrows, Juliette Bincohes, Nicole Kidmans, Joan Allens, Emma Thompsons, Daniel Day Lewises, Lawrence Fishburnes, Nicholas Cages and Kenneth Branaghs.  Just take a look at some of the great, literate films these actors cut their teeth on.

Now things have changed.  So many of these stars are now doing mostly comic book movies.  You know the type: films people go to see largely for the CGIs, not the acting or stars.  Do you think Iron Man or Iron Man 2 sold any more tickets because Gwynnie was in it?  Were you as shocked as I was to see Adrian Brody and Lawrence Fishburne in Predators?  Has Nicole Kidman made anything recently that’s worthy of her potential?  The point isn’t that these aren’t or are “good” movies.   The point is that the stars aren’t the draw.  They seem to have lost some of their luminescence.

Meanwhile the celebrities that are making headlines are people who are accidentally famous, the “reality stars” and scandal sordids we just can’t seem to get enough of. (Just watch TMZ some night.)   It seems today we don’t want famous people to have actually achieved anything, and I hesitate to arm-chair psychoanalyze, but I wonder if this says something about us.  While there have always been the disproportionately famous, Paris Hilton began the present cycle of notoriety for absolutely nothing.  And she opened the floodgates for all the Kate Gosselins and Kim Kardashians and Jersey Shore “celebrities.”

So what is fame?  Is it recognition for achievement, or just hitting the lottery?  It’s a good question—and one not easily answered.  And is the premise of a Paltrowesque heroine now an outdated (or at least anachronistic) one?

P.S.: I just found this post, which seems to agree with me—movie stars as such may be a thing of the past, Welsey Shaw excepted!  This writer thinks franchises are the draw now, and while that may be true, it’s interesting to note that a lot of franchise movies have landed with a thud this summer.  So what’s next?  Who knows?