Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

So, coming off my extreme hate for Christian Grey making men look bad, I thought I'd shift gears and talk about something fantastic and brilliant. Namely Martin Freeman. 


  http://bbcsherlockftw.tumblr.com/post/23876068535
This blog post began as an analysis of this post on Tumblr. I thought I had somehow uncovered proof that Martin Freeman might be one of the few actors who receives no hate about his appearance and is protected by a magical shield of rainbows, kittens, and jam (or something cute and protective; I don't know, use your imagination) that keeps would-be Googlers from inquiring about his love life, relationships, and attractiveness.

But then I came across this Tumblr post and I felt an inkling of doubt. "Wait, people call Martin Freeman chubby?" I pondered. My reaction: You know that part of Love Actually where someone in the Prime Minister's Cabinet has just called his secretary chubby and Hugh Grant's character - the Prime Minister - says, "Ooh, would we call her chubby?" THAT is my reaction. Sorry, can't seem to find a clip or a gif of it, so my lame description will have to do. But here's Hugh Grant dancing instead:


Okay, back to our regularly scheduled Martin Freeman.

And then I found this, the mother-lode. The super-potent blog of Martin Freeman hate. I didn't really know how to react. I was stuck at this for a while:

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lzm9gixxRp1qa2cleo1_500.gif
And then this:

http://icicleman.tumblr.com/post/25058125093/the-last-gif-in-your-folder-with-words-are-your-last
And then, as per usual, I sighed and told myself to get over it. Because it's the internet and people have the right to their opinions (though that doesn't mean they have the right to be rude and rub it in other people's faces). And if you're going to call someone rude, fat, and racist, then you'd better has some damn good reason for doing so, and not because this all seems to stem from the fact that you can't stand Martin Freeman playing John Watson and seem to get pleasure out of hating one him.

But I just can't quite get over my initial shock. Because I mean, why would you say these things about anyone? Famous, infamous, average Joe - doesn't matter. I can't think of any situation where saying these things would be okay. And while most of it is subjective (Freeman's performance as Watson, his appearance) other parts are really... strange. Like the repetitive insistence that Benedict Cumberbatch hates Martin Freeman (unless you're Cumberbatch or Freeman, I'm pretty certain it'd be impossible to know this) and that Freeman is a racist. Okay, so can't confirm the friends thing. But I CAN look up the stuff about the racism.

I found this Tumblr post on it and, from there, tracked down this article where the posted comment came from. Okay, okay, I can see why people think his comments on multiculturalism might come across as racist. But I'm not convinced that's exactly the case.

This article is from the Daily Mail. Yeah, this Daily Mail. I don't pretend to be an expert on journalism (actually, that's a lie; I totally do - I've been writing journalistically since I was ten and have been a pompous know-it-all about it ever since; blame my father) but this looks like one of the least legit news websites I've ever come across. And upon Googling "The Daily Mail" I found this article: Daily Mail has a pernicious, lying agenda, says Jon Snow: Murdoch titles are not the only wrong-doers, veteran broadcaster tells Leveson Inquiry. Ah. Now we're getting somewhere. So Murdoch owns the Daily Mail. Why am I am not surprised?

A screen shot of The Daily Mail's home page as of 3:40 pm CT today. I like that Kim Kardashian is a leading headline.
For those of you who may not be up to date on the Rupert Murdoch scandal (as I was until recently), Murdoch is the owner of the world's second largest media conglomerate (he also, Americans might know, owns Fox News Channel. Fun fact for the day). He's come under attack for the international phone hacking scandal, in which his papers were responsible for hacking phones and bribing politicians, celebrities, and members of the British Royal family, all in the pursuit of a story.

So, I can't say I, a would-be journalist, hold The Daily Mail to a very positive esteem. If the best you've got to call Martin Freeman racist is this interview, then I'm finding your allegation rather lacking. (Besides, the article is rather hard to read. It just seems rather poorly organized and I'm confused by the quotations marks - when is the author quoting Freeman or quoting Freeman quoting someone else? It's a bit bewildering. And, can I ask why under one of the photos, the reporter finds it necessary to say: Freeman rarely uses computers and doesn't drive a car. Really? That's important? Also, the dude makes a movie with Gwyneth Paltrow and it's more important that he gets to snog her and that he can't drive than what sort of acting performance he's giving? Methinks this articles priorities might be a tad bit off. )

What I'm implying from all of this is that The Daily Mail's interviewing accuracy and reliability seem a bit...dubious. I am unlikely to base an actor's entire reputation on one interview they do. Quotations could be taken out of context. Explanations could have been dumbed down or cut out all together. There is something incoherent about the article and that's often due to how the interview was pieced together as a printed text. I don't know Martin Freeman so I can't speak for him; maybe he really said what was printed exactly as he said it. And even then, his comments don't read as really racist to me. He has a point about multiculturalism polarizing people; if we become too focused on differences more than similarities, it can cause more harm than good; but, as he says, differences should be recognized and colorblindness is no good. At least that's how I read it - well, after read it over a few times. Seriously, I think it's the article; it took me several read-throughs just to figure out what was being said.

http://dudeufugly.tumblr.com/post/25066312802/dangling-thpider-windandwater-this-photoset
But again; I'm not Martin Freeman; I can't speak for him. He doesn't strike me as racist but maybe he has an opinion you disagree with him on. Maybe you don't like how he phrases things. God forbid he make mistakes and be imperfect and human. (You know what this blog is turning into? Fangirl analysis, feminism (and more feminism), and celebrity endorsement. I think I can deal with that.) Considering a lot of this is coming from a questionable Tumblr blog, I'm not terribly convinced of any of these rumors. I have heard these allegations mentioned elsewhere, but I never see anyone explain WHY (much like the rumors about Michael Fassbender being abusive, which I didn't know much about until I read the hyperlinked source. If you want to read a great post that doesn't call him a prick or say the ex-girlfriend is an opportunistic bitch (like most blogs about the allegations do), READ THIS. It's good at getting into the fact that we just don't know and shouldn't feed the rumor mills and trolls.)

So, long story short - don't know, can't know, so I'm going to focus on what I do know (and get out of some of the really heavy shit for a few minutes): Martin Freeman is damned good actor.

Okay, okay, so I've seen a pathetically small amount of his work. But from what I HAVE seen, I like it. A lot. And considering I cried tears of joy when I saw the trailer for The Hobbit in the theater this weekend, I'm pretty sure that movies going to bloody brilliant (yes, I cried. I'd already seen the trailer but I wasn't expecting to see it before Brave and BAM there it was. And I had an embarrassing fangirly moment of absolute giddy joy. I'm sorry; I have serious hobbit feels.)


http://dudeufugly.tumblr.com/post/25066312802/dangling-thpider-windandwater-this-photoset
Much like Benedict Cumberbatch, I don't know much about Martin Freeman because Googling info about him seems weird and bizarre and slightly creepy. So other than reading over his filmography on IMDb and from what Tumblr informs me or links me to, I don't know much about the man. Which is a damn shame, but I feel like such a creep Googling people (dude, finding stuff about the Fassbender allegations was causing me physical pain; if it wasn't for the good of human kind, I wouldn't have done it). Now that I've admitted that I'm the worst researcher and fangirl in the world, let's get back to highlighting why I like Freeman from the scant things I know.


He, like Cumberbatch and Hiddleston, appreciates the fans. And his girlfriend, Amanda Abbington, is also very appreciative (as highlighted in the link) and also pretty BAMF (seriously, read this interview with the Baker Street Babes. I don't care what the Martin Freeman hater has to say about her; she seems to legitimately care about the fans, which is pretty fantastic. I mean, we're not always so easy to love, sending weird fan letters and creating pornographic fan art (which they are fully aware of - and appreciate), and doing exceedingly strange things in the name of art and fandom. So their interaction with the fan community is really inspiring and considerate.


 http://thebritishteapot.tumblr.com/post/24012708367/im-not-even-sorry-for-the-graphic-original
Also, Martin Freeman really loves records. For some reason, that makes me ridiculously happy (probably because records are boss and I'd love to have a turntable. Where I'd put it in my tiny, tiny apartment I have no clue. But just to listen to some Nina Simone and Frank Sinatra and Kansas on vinyl....ooh, that's be sooooo great.)

 And, because I'm getting rather silly here, I really love this picture:

http://the-classic-top-hat.tumblr.com/
Mr. Freeman, your feet don't reach the ground. According to IMDb, he's 5'6''. YOU'RE STILL TALLER THAN ME, MR. FREEMAN. YOU'RE STILL TALL IN MY MIND. (No, seriously, I'm 5'2". I suspect that I'm part hobbit (and a secret ginger, based on the ludicrously bad sunburn I got this weekend. I HAVE BLISTERS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD)). Point is, I like that Martin Freeman is "short" for an actor. We should be bros, Mr. Freeman. We can commiserate about being short and then I can stand next you and you'll look tall. Seriously. (I was at the Saloon's block party for Minneapolis Pride this weekend and the shortest man I saw there was STILL TALLER THAN ME (which he took great happiness in). I spent the night hanging out with my friends Kevin and Zach and two of Zach's friends and they are all six feet or taller and I realized how short I am. But I love it. It makes me feel graceful and tiny, two things I totally never usually feel. But I totally digress...)

So, there you go; some Martin Freeman appreciation after all this time (since this blog is named from him, after all). It's interesting me (and maybe this is my blogging bias) but I have a harder time coming across posts (especially text posts) linking to interviews and quotes from him. He likes his privacy so maybe that's why. But back to the opening of this post, I see a lot about Hiddleston and Cumberbatch's looks and a lot of stuff about Freeman looking like a hedgehog or being made out of kittens and rage. Once in a while I'll stumble across something that talks about him being attractive or cute... but the rhetoric feels different. Why is Martin Freeman cute and Benedict Cumberbatch sexy? Why am just asking this now, when I was going to try to wrap this post up?! Well, I'll consider that for next time...

And now that we're at the end, I've decided to refrain from ending with a picture of hedgehogs that look like Martin Freeman because... well, Martin Freeman is not a hedgehog. But here's something far more ridiculous: rabbits that look like me.

Yeah, that's a bit of a stretch...

18 comments:

  1. It's nice to see someone take a sensible approach to that article. It gets posted on tumblr every so often (in fact I believe it happened again today), and the responses are just a mess.

    I don't know Martin Freeman, but from what I do know he seems like a genuinely good person. I've noticed he tends to treat interviews like a casual conversation with a friend, and I get the feeling this interviewer took advantage of that, if that makes sense? There's definitely something off about the way it was written.

    The Daily Mail loves to cause shitstorms about race and constantly tries to divide people. They did it just the other day when Will.i.Am was on The Graham Norton Show.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The article did get posted again on Tumblr; I came across it not long after I wrote this post, actually. I totally agree with you about the reporter taking advantage of interviews that feels like a conversation. Can't say I'm surprised the Daily Mail operates this way; if it's run anything like Murdoch's Fox News Channel is, then they love controversy about race and gender like nothing else.

      Delete
  2. Just ran across this article - very interesting, very sensible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, anon. And thank you for reading!

      Delete
  3. You need more comments on this! This needs to be posted everywhere because its the most logical thing I have heard when it comes to this whole racist business.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yea... Totally did the exact same thing when I saw Brave... Pretty sure I bruised my best friends arm from slapping him so hard I was so excited.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :D I'm surprised I didn't slug my friends in the arm out of joy. I did however jolt up in my seat like an excitable rabbit.

      Delete
  5. Ah I love this, especially "The Daily Mail" part, I know they speak some absolute crap and come across as quite a racist newspaper themselves. Whatever he actually did say you cannot judge him on if your only source is the UK's shittiest newspaper.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed; thank you so much for reading!

      Delete
  6. What about the part about Muslims? Did I misinterpret that? It felt like religious profiling to me.... don't get me wrong, this article eased my fangirl pains so much. But I kust don't understand how else that can be interpreted. Help!

    ReplyDelete
  7. i think the thing about the muslim, how i read it, sounded a bit like he was saying 'there's no need to panic over a muslim with a bomb yhou think is going to blow you up' in a sense of, it's not goign to happen, stop generalising, you're focusing too much on differences. Either that or it is a joke, which is fair enough, as he is a rather sarcastic person anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you! I think I see that now. They could have easily been manipulating his words or taking them out of context. He really doesn't seem the ignorant stereotyping type to me; in fact, he seems quite intelligent. Thanks again! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the late response on these comments! I agree, I think it's probably a sarcastic comment or a twisting of his words to make it sound bad. Hope this helped; let me know if you still have questions!

      Delete
    2. I get it! I saw some interviews and reread the article. It's so poorly written that it's easy to see many diffrent scenarios where those words MAY have come out of his mouth but were not meant to be literal. Thanks for posting, it really helped! I was freaking out, but this article really makes much more sense than the Daily Mail's.

      Delete
    3. Wonderful, glad to have helped! I freaked out the first time I saw the Daily Mail article too, so you're not alone. It's a very poorly written article and I'm disappointed that the Daily Mail doesn't seem to have made any further comments about it.

      Delete
  9. This is the most level-headed article I've read about the issue pertaining Martin's statement. Good job on it! I was about to explode from the irrational comments on the internet about one article which clearly was filled with interest opinions and dry wit. I believe Mr Freeman may have said it but I believe that the general public interpreted his words wrongly. Interestingly, many were very angry with his usage of the word Nigga and from what I read from the article, he stated that he doesn't approve hiphop because of the excessive use of the word Nigga which he find very offending. Also, many were outraged by his interpretation of Muslims but it was clear from his statement that he is just painting the biased view of at large about Muslims. It is not his belief. It's just amazing how haters manage to skew the meaning of his statements so much. And the hipsters-wannabes on the internet just have to jump onto the bandwagon of hate just to be cool. Sigh.. Kids these days..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wholeheartedly agree about haters skewing the meaning - instead of having an open mind, they use their existing bias in how they perceive the article. Also, I very much like your idea of the "bandwagon of hate" - that's a great way of putting it. Here's for believing that haters never win. Thank you so much for reading and for commenting!

      Delete