Flying away from social media: Emma Thompson at the Empire Awards in London in March.
Which would you rather do: peruse social media and search engines, or undergo major dental surgery? If you chose the former, that puts you on the opposite side of the fence from Emma Thompson, according to Vanity Fair's latest interview with the beloved actor.
"I’d rather have root canal treatment for the rest of my life than join Twitter," Thompson said. "God knows what it's all doing to us." And that was just for starters. Asked if she would ever Google her own name, she'd prefer "putting my head in the toilet and flushing it repeatedly."
For the Saving Mr. Banks star, this goes beyond personal preference; she believes social media is destructive to society as a whole. At least, that's what we believe she's saying in this rather bizarre answer:
I hope that everyone does realize that we are all just one giant human experiment at the moment. We are just a great big bunch of little gerbils on wheels. In about 25 years time, maybe, a sudden generation will just drop dead. Everyone will just die on the same day. And I’ll say, “Oh, what do these people have in common? Hang on." They were connected every day 24/7, you know! And no one knew what it was going to do to them. No one knew! Because we didn’t bother to find out. Because we’re stupid!We invent stuff, we just fling it out there, we let anyone use it. A three-year old could fucking be on Twitter. A three-year old!And then they go on and on and on about everything that there is. And get reviewed every day by Facebook. And then we will wonder why, at the age of 60, an entire generation chucks itself off a cliff like a bunch of lemmings. Actually, that’s the most likely outcome, don’t you think? It’s like, 'I can’t take this anymore!' It’s the lemming generation, I’m telling you.
Much of this, of course, suggests Thompson simply doesn't know whereof she speaks. (What does it mean to be "reviewed every day" by Facebook?) Which is especially odd given that one of her oldest and closest friends from Cambridge, Stephen Fry, has been a major Twitter celebrity since he joined the service back in 2008. He's now closing in on 7 million followers, and helped a couple get engaged on the service.
But fret not, social media fans. Thompson and Fry's mutual pal Hugh Laurie — a.k.a. Dr. Gregory House — gave in and joined Twitter last October at the age of 54, after a long period of professing his dislike for the service. "Having damned this technology as the seed of Satan, I finally succumb," he tweeted.
Perhaps we can expect Thompson to join Fry and Laurie on Twitter in another six years — once they've all turned 60 and nobody has chucked themselves over a cliff like a bunch of lemmings.