I’m not sure if you ever noticed, but people aren’t very nice on the Internet. Heck, just recently a review I wrote for the Green Lantern movie, in which I thought I fairly and rationally explained my problems with the film, led to one commenter suggesting that I “shoot myself in the face.” Harsh, yes, but actually kinda polite and subdued by most online comment thread standards.
To be fair, I’m not immune to this sort of unnecessary hatred and aggression, either. Let’s face it, the anonymity of the Internet makes it quite easy to be a total prick, and people have been taking advantage of it for years. But at what point does it start to get a little tiresome? And what point do you decide to finally shrug off the rampant cynicism of the online masses, and instead – like your momma always told you to do – find something nice to say?
For me, that time is now. That’s not to say I can completely walk away from my cynical side, or that I’m going to turn into some sort of cyber flower-child, preaching peace and understanding across the World Wide Web. But when it came time to figure out what I wanted to contribute to Culture Wedge, I decided to temporarily put aside my usual harsh critiques, and instead try to be a little positive. What better way to do so than point out the ridiculousness of some of the most prevalent of these online complaints? And so this column, known as “Jeff Goldblum’s Black Daughter,” will be an ongoing attempt to both defend and find merit in that which is often derided by these purveyors of negativity. And what better place to start than with one of the Internet’s current favorite (and, as I hope to prove, undeserved) targets? That’s right, I’m talking about Megan Fox…and if I have to post a bunch of Megan Fox pictures to prove my point, well, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
It’s time to knock it off with the constant Megan Fox bashing. Seriously. Remember a few years ago, when it seemed like everyone (especially guys, duh) had Fox-fever? It seems like ages ago. Now, I can’t go one single day without seeing war declared on the poor girl, from men and women alike. I mean, I guess I understand why some girls have a negative attitude about Fox – though note that I said “understand” and not “condone.” I think that sort of “I hate the bitch because guys think she’s hotter than me” mentality should really get left behind once you leave high-school. I’m not saying that’s where ALL female Fox-bashers are coming from…but let’s face it, it’s true of a lot of them.
What IS surprising, though, is the level of nerd hatred towards Megan Fox. If there’s one thing nerds are supposed to love, it’s Star Wars. If there are TWO things nerds are supposed to love, it’s Star Wars and hot chicks in sci-fi movies that they don’t stand any chance with. So how did Fox, star of Transformers and unarguably one of the hottest chicks around, suddenly become Public Nerd Enemy #1?
Most of the reasons I see tossed about are either silly or downright illogical. For instance, how many times have you heard or seen someone say that Megan Fox is “the worst actress in the world?” Or even of all time? Look, I’m not here to claim Fox is a future Oscar winner or anything, but she’s perfectly adequate. Are we really going to use something like the Transformers movies to judge a person’s acting ability? If that’s the case, it might be time to re-evaluate John Turturro, as well. Personally, I thought Fox did a decent job in Jennifer’s Body (to date her one starring role). Maybe “decent” is the key word there, but there’s nothing wrong with that. In the right sort of role, she is perfectly serviceable, and she’s certainly not any worse than a number of other average to below-average actresses that Hollywood has tried to shove down our throats over the years. I mean, I won’t name any names…
*COUGH* Hayden Panetierre Annalynn McCord Lea Michelle Shannon Elizabeth Heather Graham Brooklyn Decker Alice Eve Cameron Diaz Katherine Heigl Kaley Cuoco Monica Keena Alyssa Milano Sienna Miller *COUGH*
Even better is when you see a string of nerds commenting on the latest Megan Fox photos, insisting that they don’t even find her that attractive. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I don’t doubt that there really are some for who Fox just doesn’t strike their fancy. But c’mon, I’m fairly sure that most of these guys would gladly punch their own mothers in the face for a night with Megan Fox. Calling her ugly is a reactionary strike against the knowledge that you stand absolutely zero chance with her, as is pointing out tiny physical defects like dumb tattoos (95% of ALL tattoos are dumb) and her toe thumbs (weird, but definitely not a deal-breaker); or that she has ruined her natural good lucks with too much plastic surgery (this one I kind of get, but I blame her decision on the unforgiving pressure of the Hollywood machine, and would argue that, in the end, it only lowered her value from “ridiculously hot” to “extremely hot”).
It seems the biggest complaint about Fox, though, is in regards to her alleged “big mouth.” In an era that supposedly celebrates outspoken individuals who speak their mind, Fox has been routinely criticized for all sorts of things she has spouted off during interviews. The general consensus seems to be that she often comes across as a complete bitch. Well, consider this – think of, oh, ANY girl you know. Now, imagine if that girl, at the age of 22, was plucked from semi-obscurity and suddenly within a span of months was gracing every magazine cover, being fawned over by every red-blooded male, and was regularly being declared the “hottest woman in the world” by various media outlets. Do you think that girl would keep her level, down-to-earth perspective, or do you think there’s a chance she would do a few interviews and end up saying some stupid things that could look pretty bad out of context?
Plus, it seems pretty obvious to me that most of these supposedly inflammatory comments are really just the joking around of a very sarcastic girl, blown out of proportion by the media (who have never met a star they can’t gleefully destroy just as fast as they helped create). But you can’t tell that to her critics. Heck, even Steven Spielberg isn’t above this sort of overreaction – it was recently revealed that Fox’s ejection from the Transformers series was in large part because Spielberg didn’t take too kindly to her statement that Michael Bay“wants to be like Hitler on his sets.”
Now, Fox certainly isn’t the first Bay-movie-veteran to speak of his tyrant-like behavior on set. But apparently, in the eyes of Mr. Spielberg, she took it too far by comparing him to Hitler (I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn when I say that, for some reason, Spielberg seems to have a real beef against Nazis). C’mon, Steven, do you REALLY think Fox was suggesting that Bay was eliminating an entire race of people on set? Or do you think that perhaps she was, like many young people before her, just using “Hitler” as a sort of blanket term for “asshole.” You need look no further than the political discourse of the past eleven or so years to see that calling someone Hitler is not all that uncommon – and in most of those examples it’s actually meant with far more real malice than what Fox was going for.
Was this really something she should have lost her job over? I know nerds read this and instantly want to side with their beloved Steven Spielberg, but let’s not hand it to him that easy. After all, Megan Fox has made just as many good movies as Spielberg has in the last ten or so years. Yes, I realize if you look at all-time stats, Spielberg comes out on top, but a) Fox is still young, and b) I have no problem fudging with facts and figures to further get my point across.
Now, not to throw anyone else under the bus (at least any more so than I have already done), but let’s consider something else – are all these Fox bashers really utilizing their time and energy properly…are they really going after the right person? I might not always agree with Roger Ebert, but on the topic of Fox we seem to be simpatico. In his review of Jennifer’s Body, Ebert says:
“Fox is also famous for her many tattoos, but in researching that aspect of her image, I made an encouraging discovery. Anyone can have a tattoo of a butterfly. Been there, done that. But Megan Fox has a tattoo that quotes “King Lear”: “We will laugh at gilded butterflies.” How cool is that? Plus, so far, there are no tiresome rumors about booze and drugs.”
Well, OK, Ebert digs her tattoos, but it’s his second point that is the most striking, and the one I want to highlight. Because it’s true – despite what I can only assume was an insane loss of privacy following Transformers, you still never really heard anything that bad about Fox. She clearly seems to purposely avoid the party scene, and has remained surprisingly gossip and scandal free. Isn’t that actually kind of refreshing? Isn’t it to be commended that, in the era of leaked sex-tapes and multiple trips to rehab, the two most embarrassing things you can say about Fox are that 1) she’s married to Brian Austin Green and 2) she was in Jonah Hex. Heck, at least one of those is true of Josh Brolin, as well, and I don’t see everyone getting all up in his grill.
So what is it, then? Why did all these nerds turn on Megan Fox almost as quickly as they started whacking it to her after seeing the first Transformers trailer? I think on some level it’s more a reaction to her overexposure than it is to her personally. And that kind of makes sense – even though this article is a defense of Fox, there’s no denying that there was a brief moment there where she was EVERYWHERE, and that can be a little much to take with anyone (heck, a number of media outlets even called for a Megan Fox Blackout Day, to make a point of how bad it was getting – conveniently ignoring, I’m sure, how often they themselves had been using Fox to drive up their ratings and site hits).
But, again, was this overexposure really Fox’s fault? I guess it kind of was, since she refused to stop being so freaking hot. But apart from that, you can’t really put this on her shoulders. Not many people would turn down that sort of instant attention. She decided to live it up for a short time, which I don’t see a problem with. Heck, maybe she even knew how fleeting fame is, and figured she might as well make the most of it while she could. Considering how her career has gone since, that might have been the right call.
Still, she might be back on the right path now. In recent months, Fox has signed on to two high-profile comedies, one from Judd Apatow and the other being the new project from Sacha Baron Cohen. That’s probably a good move – she needs to distance herself from brain-dead action films, but doesn’t quite yet have the acting chops to jump into indie dramas. But she has shown a nice, subtle comedic timing in both Jennifer’s Body and, well, uh, a pretty good Funny or Die video. Hey, baby steps, right?
So if you’re reading this, Megan (and I know you are), I’m rooting for you. I want you to prove the naysayers wrong, and have a long and admirable career. I want you to rise above the scorn, and continue to be better than the rest of the sludge that is Hollywood’s young actress scene. And, most importantly, I want you to remember that I said all these really nice things about you, and think of me as a shoulder to cry on should you ever have any problems with Brian. I’m with you, Megan, unlike the rest of these nerds.
- – - – Trevor Snyder