When celebrities speak, people listen. That’s a mostly ridiculous thing — particularly when they stray and try to speak on matters of actual importance (Shalom Dave Mustaine, you crazy motherfucker) — but it’s a part of the benefit of being beloved, trusted, and worshiped. The trouble is, too many of us fail to keep one eye open and one hand on our wallets when we bow down at the altar and sometimes we get swindled because of it.
Today news broke that Bruce Campbell — “Ash” from the original Evil Dead (and Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness) — had told Digital Spy that he had seen Fede Alvarez’ reboot while in post production and that it was “fabulous”.
Naturally, numerous sites like ours ran with the story and proclaimed that Campbell was endorsing the new Evil Dead. Some noted that Campbell was a producer on the film that he was “endorsing” or wondered if Campbell was merely making the “obligatory promotional speech” and others, sadly, did not and in doing so they ignored a key piece of information.
Now, this is not to say that because Campbell has a vested interest in making this film a successful reality that his words carry no weight of truthiness. This could be the honest summation of things seen by a man whose word is un-impeachable — but it could also be thought of as a compensated endorsement, an un-labeled advertorial, or all of the above. Whatever it is though, it most surely is Campbell’s job and it is a job that most people realize he’s doing when he’s doing it. The thing that bothers me isn’t a celebrity doing his job, it’s us not doing ours.
See every day press releases and “leads” come in and then thousands of other sites feast on the trough. What comes out the other end is what you and I read on a daily basis. Some of it is awesome, a lot of it is shit that sacrifices the truth and details for snark and shiny over-valued brevity, and some of it is reported on to gain favor or earn a pat on the head. Everyone has done this and I mean everyone including me and this site, though I sleep at night knowing that I personally do it infrequently and I’m trying real hard to quit just cause if “pimpin aint easy”, you can’t imagine how burdensome ho’in is.
This is the game though — kiss a little ass then (hopefully) kick a little ass — but when people lay down and don’t so much bury the lead, but bury the thing that reveals the lead to be bullshit in an effort to earn favor or appease their need to do little more than cut and paste, well it is a bit stomach churning when you consider the reason why you’re reading and why we’re supposed to be writing.
That reason — as far as I can tell — is to get informed and to inform, and that means every little annoying tidbit should be considered and sometimes you should bite the hand. So when Campbell lowers that jaw and does the cheerleader thing, or when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman praises Michael Bay‘s coming assault on the origin bread and butter of his co-creation (a project that Eastman will be a consultant on) — call it as you see it internet and be as good at your job as these people are at theirs because smart people can tell what’s up and dumb people are just being made dumber by frothy bullshit.
One last thing: While I don’t have any ill regard for Campbell talking up this project, and while I understand both his stated reasons for supporting this picture and those left un-stated (being awesome doesn’t pay many bills on their own) I also have to applaud heartily people who can and do resist that urge.
There aren’t a lot of people in this world who would say no to $2 million dollars but Alan Moore did when DC wanted his seal of approval for Before Watchmen, something that was going to come out regardless of whether he took the money or told DC to fuck off.
Amazingly, Moore (maybe) figuratively told DC to do just that and in doing so he solidified himself as a man without an agenda, a man with unquestioned scruples, and a brilliantly rare idiot. In his own words from the interview on Leftlion:
“You can’t buy that kind of empowerment. To just know that as far as you are aware, you have not got a price; that there is not an amount of money large enough to make you compromise even a tiny bit of principle that, as it turned out, would make no practical difference anyway.”
I don’t expect others to be able to do what Moore did, both in terms of their wealth or standards, but that doesn’t mean his action isn’t superior to the fields and fields of people who have said yes to similar things and been nothing more than typical.
As for the new Evil Dead: wait for it to come out, see it, and then make up your mind about the authenticity of Bruce Campbell’s endorsement then — I know I will.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and not NerdBastards.com.