See Emily Play
June 24, 2012 15 Comments
British ugly-cute actress Emily Mortimer has some thoughts about Americans she has graciously decided to share:
I do think that there’s a difference in America to where I’m from. There’s so much wrong with England, but I think people are informed in general. I’m going to make a huge sweeping statement, but you just get the news much more [in England]. Listening to radio stations that play pop music all day and all night, the news will come on every two hours, foreign news too. It’s part of your daily routine, being informed about what’s going on in the world. Whether you like it or not, you can’t really escape it. I don’t think the same is true here, and television broadcast news especially seems to me to be a pretty dicey area. You can’t rely on getting the facts, or getting them presented in a way that is actually objective and makes sense and puts people in a position where they can make informed decisions about who to vote for.
I must confess I was unsure who Emily Mortimer was when I first encountered this article. To be precise, I was unsure which bird-beaked ugly-cute dough-faced plainjane brunette British actress she was. Was she the chick who played the crazy British chick that Ross temporarily married on Friends when Rachel didn’t get on the plane in time? Was she the Lois Lane to Adam Sandler’s Superman in Punch Drunk Love? Or was she the plain-looking and naive rich chick who Jonathan Rhys Myers wooed for her money while lusting after Scarlett Johansson in Match Point?
Little-known trivia fact: she is the latter.
It goes without saying then, and I need hardly hasten to add, that in times of need we turn primarily to Emily Mortimer for insights into American politics. So if I may take the liberty of interpreting the above passage, what she appears to be saying is that in England the news is far more lovingly and carefully prepackaged into digestible and state-approved propaganda, and is so much more ubiquitous (even played on pop music stations, etc.), that everyone dutifully knows exactly what to think.
I have no particular quarrel with this observation.
It is distressing, however, that in the course of accusing Americans of being insufficiently ‘informed’, i.e. instructed by state-approved news, she reveals a worrying inattention to paying attention to partaking of her daily news catechism herself:
So you are a person who follows the news, who is up on the news?
I have moments. I stopped being up on the news entirely when I was doing this job. I didn’t read a paper or watch the television news for many months.
Emily, Emily. If you don’t read a paper or watch the television news how can you call yourself properly informed? Everyone knows newspapers and the television news are the best source of proper information. You are becoming too Americanized Ms. Mortimer. Next you’ll be saying you’ve stopped eating “digestive biscuits”.
But it gets worse:
And now it’s been quite hard to get back into it. It’s so loaded now because of this job that I’m doing. Even picking up the New York Times feels kind of loaded with meaning; I feel berated every time I look at it, like”‘Oh God, all these people know what they’re doing and I was just pretending.”
Oh boy. There are too many problems here to go into. What does a person like me do with ‘picking up the New York Times’ being ‘kind of loaded with meaning’. It’s just too much. But you know where I would start?
I would start with the word “was” in that final sentence. The tense is incorrect, dear Emily.