I am endlessly fascinated by the number of artists who damage their careers with dumb, self-important expressions of thought on Twitter, Facebook and other viral outlets. You don’t have to be Jack Kevorkian to see that the misguided need to service ego with viral expression is becoming a fantastic way to attempt career suicide. This week alone, we’ve seen Two And A Half Men’s Angus T. Jones flat-line his professional future like he was drinking tiger blood, after condemning as “filth” the show that pays him over $8 million a year. He did this in a taped testimonial for something called the Forerunner Christian Church.
Then, writer-director James Gunn found himself hoping Marvel won’t fire him from its next big superhero franchise Guardians Of The Galaxy because obscure bloggers dredged up a two-year old Tumblr blog post Gunn wrote in jest. In it, he described in detail which superheroes he would most like to bed, mixing in homophobic references for good measure. Finally, British actor Jason Flemyng, most often seen in films directed by Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn, got into a playful conversation with some website guys with a camera-phone. As he cagily parried a question on whether Vaughn might direct the next Star Wars and hire him as an actor, Flemyng might have validated all the speculation. Or did he?
Celebrities have been strung up forever for saying dumb things in interviews while out promoting projects, but I find myself shaking my head when they fashion the noose themselves in web postings delivered when they have nothing to gain. Maybe it’s because I push words around for a living and maybe it’s because I’m lazy, but if I wasn’t being paid to write, I wouldn’t scribble a grocery list. For the life of me, I just don’t get the obsession with Twitter, Facebook and these other viral forms that celebs use to validate and sometimes snare themselves. I was taught long ago that it is fine to write stuff while your emotions are high and when you are riled up, but you should never publish until you’ve stepped away and taken the opportunity to consider all the angles, the potential for shrapnel, and consider the people your words might offend or alienate. I did find it interesting to observe this week’s blowback from celebs who didn’t do that. (more…)