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"I hate celebrity culture"
April 11, 2014 9:57 PM   Subscribe

Given to the Oxford Union, I submit a lecture on the nature of celebrity by one Jack Gleeson, best known as "Little Boy" in Batman Begins, but also for his role in HBO's "Game of Thrones".
posted by TheNewWazoo (37 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
Personally, after such an intriguing lecture I couldn't bear to watch it, but it was followed by a Q&A session, the first few minutes of which appear to be entirely about Game of Thrones.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 9:59 PM on April 11


Very smart young man. That's the kind of king Westeros actually needs.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:24 PM on April 11 [16 favorites]


In an odd bit of synchronicity, I was just commenting on a friend's facebook post about the Tyrion slapping Joffrey extended mix that it's a testament to Gleeson's skill that everyone loathes Joffrey.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:32 PM on April 11 [1 favorite]


I've never watched a single second of Game of Thrones but every time I see this kid I'm impressed with how damn thoughtful he is. Is he studying something? Will he be giving lectures in tweedy suits forever?
posted by Mizu at 10:38 PM on April 11 [5 favorites]


Mizu: He studies at Trinity College in Dublin and has stated that Game of Thrones will be his last role.
posted by PenDevil at 12:19 AM on April 12


Mizu: He studies at Trinity College in Dublin and has stated that Game of Thrones will be his last role.

I hope he changes his mind, he has so much talent.
posted by Pendragon at 1:22 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


Nice post. That was very informative to watch.

I especially liked the way he responded - quite quietly - with 'I'm only 21' when the question 'What do you plan to do with the rest of your life - if not acting?' was posed.

He came across as an intelligent, thoughtful and nice guy. I hope he escapes fame with his sanity intact.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:32 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


and has stated that Game of Thrones will be his last role.

good for him. a very sane position.
posted by philip-random at 1:45 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


It might be hard for him to get prominent roles after Game of Thrones finishes up regardless, he'll be so associated with Joffrey. Anthony Perkins post-Psycho comes to mind.
posted by Auden at 1:51 AM on April 12


I thought someone posted this here before, but I must have seen it somewhere else.

He is very charming, thoughtful, and funny. And his natural accent delights me for some reason, maybe in contrast to the way he speaks in character.


It is a testament to his gifts as an actor that it still took about a minute and a half before the urge to slap him waned entirely.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:13 AM on April 12 [4 favorites]


He threw everything into the most purposefully hatable role in a generation. Maybe he could do cheeky cameos in stuff form here on out but on screen he'll forever be Joffrey.

Cleary a smart, thoughtful, interesting guy with a hell of a life left ahead of him. Damn good for him.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:50 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


On the one hand, it's probably quite sensible for him to quit forever. On the other hand, it's a shame the talent is going to get wasted because the rest of the life is bad.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:07 AM on April 12


Thanks for this. He's so funny and sweetly self-deprecating, but also intelligent and thoughtful. I'm glad I've given up watching GoT because hating him was one of the most enjoyable aspects, and now I wouldn't be able to after watching this.
posted by billiebee at 9:12 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Keep watching!

NOT TOO SPOILERY SPOILERS

He becomes more likeable, after a fashion, in this season. And there's a lot less "Look what an asshole Joffrey is!" as Tywin takes a stronger role as policy-maker and, in plot terms, Chief Asshole.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:58 AM on April 12 [5 favorites]


That almost makes him worse. Tywin at least has cause to be so pompous, he's actually running a continent.
posted by spaltavian at 10:02 AM on April 12


The main impression I took from it - and it made me like him all the more for it, his acting talents notwithstanding - was that he really seemed interested in the academic study of what motivates his celebrity fans. So many celebrities seem to pay lip service to the cultural machine, but I was impressed that he seems to be so well read, and so damned thoughtful. This would have been an excellent survey lecture even if given by a professor and completely devoid of his personal experience, but it benefits greatly from his personal insight. Much like watching a great baseball player talk about the strategy of baseball, or like hearing a great engineer talk about the engineering process.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 10:05 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I especially enjoy the contrast to something like Inside the Actor's Studio.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 10:07 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


Given the nature of the culture that surrounds him, he could say this until he went purple and was choking on his words. No-one would listen - someone younger, more pliable and useful would soon come along to replace him.
posted by lalochezia at 10:47 AM on April 12 [15 favorites]


He becomes more likeable, after a fashion, in this season

I like the cut of your jib.

But speaking of celebrity culture, is this getting worse? Sure, the people who are celebrities without merit seems to increase, but let's leave that aside for now. I just get the impression, that being an actor and a celebrity at the same time is now almost a given. Very few recluses. Mostly because it's really hard to do -- first you had the paparazzi, now you have the whole internet. So the general response seems that more people embrace it -- the social media infrastructure certainly makes it easy enough. Sooner or later, most actors will have grown up with that and don't know anything else. From some point of view, being a "celebrity" isn't a binary state nowadays, it just means that more "friends" are "following" you.

But on the other hand, Gleeson is of that generation and disagrees, so maybe there's hope.
posted by pseudocode at 11:07 AM on April 12


clever, clever, lalochezia
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:08 AM on April 12 [1 favorite]


also, Gleeson is an absolutely fine actor, a fine thinker, and dayummmmmm he fine.

I think this kid is in for a rich and varied life.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:15 AM on April 12


Some people just don't have what it takes to be a career actor. No need to over-intellectualize it. The intelligent, thoughtful master actors out there (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Mark Rylance, Meryl Streep, etc) don't seem to have this problem. They just do their fine work and deal with celebrity to whatever extent THEY deem necessary.
posted by ReeMonster at 11:19 AM on April 12


If you can find it, there is a book called "Toxic Fame" by Joey Berlin consisting of interviews with celebrities about the experience of fame, and they universally describe it as Gleeson does -- as invasive and corrosive. Most say there is no way to know how it feels to lose all anonymity and privacy all at once, and it is a very hard thing to deal with.

Worse still, many are aware that it is possible to experience celebrity without accomplishment or reward. That the supposed benefits of celebrity, like wealth, can be disconnected phenomena. So there is the terrible possibility of having lost something the rest of us take for granted and gained nothing meaningful in exchange.

It's a fascinating book. Frankly, being famous sounds awful.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:43 AM on April 12 [8 favorites]


I dunno, it's generally opt-in. Very few celebrities who do not wish to be celebrities remain so. And those are generally people who are celebrities for bad things; high profile criminals and the like. Consider Gleeson, after all. He doesn't like celebrity culture and so he is choosing to stop being a celebrity once his gig on GoT ends with (REDACTED).

How many non-criminal celebrities can you really name who are both unwilling celebrities and have not benefited significantly (with wealth or power) from their celebrity? Sure, lots of people rail against celebrity culture but they mostly still cash the big checks. Gleeson may be the exception and, if so, good for him. It takes a strong will to turn down the kind of cash that will likely be thrown at him soon.
posted by Justinian at 1:09 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I don't know that "they cashed the check" automatically equals "the subject can be shrugged off."
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:16 PM on April 12 [6 favorites]


I'm not shrugging it off I'm just making the point that it can't be true that they gain nothing meaningful in exchange. It's almost tautological. If they choose to be celebrities it must be because they feel they're receiving something meaningful in exchange; why else would you choose it?
posted by Justinian at 1:23 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I'm not a celebrity worshipper but living where I do I've encountered many well-known people in real life and it's a very strange sensation. If you watch a certain TV show, say, and see those faces regularly, of course you think you know them. If you recognize someone, the natural instinct is to address them, especially if it's in an informal situation like walking down the street.

I've seen actors and musicians that I thought I knew from college, or as friends of friends. Sometimes I see someone whose life I know in detail (not even by choice but because there's no escaping it!), but they have no idea who I am. I'm not resentful, just curious -- so it's no wonder some people take the leap to obsession with the details of a public figure's life.

On the other hand, I once ran into a paparazzi scrum photographing an actress picking up her child from school and it was truly terrifying - I'm not really a fan of the actress but I felt bad for her, and for all the other kids and parents around her.

Gleeson said he's had no bad encounters with fans, but it seems there does exit a whole industry for taking down celebrities -- like TMZ -- I guess they walk a line between worship and take down.
posted by maggiemaggie at 3:39 PM on April 12


If they choose to be celebrities it must be because they feel they're receiving something meaningful in exchange; why else would you choose it?

Surely there are those who want to be performers, but not celebrities? If you believe in the transformative power of performance, and want to tell a story through the medium of acting, do you automatically give up your right to privacy just because you happen to act in something which becomes successful? I think people assume that actors wants to become famous actors, but I don't think that's necessarily always the case.
posted by billiebee at 5:35 PM on April 12 [5 favorites]


'Game of Thrones': Jack Gleeson reveals the meanest thing he's ever done
posted by homunculus at 7:10 PM on April 12


Fascinating. I listened to the speech this morning, and am listening again tonight.
More about Tehrani here and here (academic bio)
posted by seawallrunner at 8:58 PM on April 12


'Game of Thrones': Jack Gleeson talks royal wedding (Spoilers)
posted by homunculus at 10:34 PM on April 13


AWWW fuck you wikipedia, total spoiler alert on his wikipedia page for me since I didn't see last night's show yet.
posted by Theta States at 10:21 AM on April 14


That sucks. I stumbled across that spoiler by accident some time ago, but I wasn't too upset about it because it always seemed inevitable anyway. Still, it would have been nice to not know what was coming.
posted by homunculus at 11:19 AM on April 14


Smart, funny, charming young man. The very best of luck to him!
posted by turbid dahlia at 10:24 PM on April 17


Now that it's been a bit, and this thread has lingered:
When I went to wikipedia to read more about Gleeson, it said right upfront that he was a RETIRED actor, so obviously had died in the episode.

**SPOILERS**
Well, at least that wasn't his last appearance. Good of him to make an additional apperaance so his mom/dad / aunt/uncle could get it on next to his corpse. **SPOILERS**
posted by Theta States at 6:18 AM on April 23


Some people just don't have what it takes to be a career actor. No need to over-intellectualize it. The intelligent, thoughtful master actors out there (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Mark Rylance, Meryl Streep, etc) don't seem to have this problem. They just do their fine work and deal with celebrity to whatever extent THEY deem necessary.

Just a note that all of your examples are people quite a bit older than Gleeson. I think it has become increasingly hard to be an actor or other performer and escape celebrity. We prey on the young. I certainly don't think it's a given that everyone who would be an excellent performer WANTS to be a celebrity. And so we have the situation where in order to avoid it you have to avoid being a performer. It's a loss to us all.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:36 AM on April 23


**SPOILERS**
Well, at least that wasn't his last appearance. Good of him to make an additional apperaance so his mom/dad / aunt/uncle could get it on next to his corpse.


That's being discussed over on FanFare, btw.
posted by homunculus at 12:43 PM on April 23


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