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Proud Member of the Cumberbatch Brigade

Embracing freedom, one photo at a time.

by
Susan L.M. Goldberg

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August 24, 2013 - 6:20 am
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Benedict Cumberbatch … now move along, please.

Benedict Cumberbatch is sexy. Not because of his hipster name or “geek is the new cool” look (those are merely a plus). Benedict Cumberbatch is sexy because he’s got the guts to redirect the limelight on more important news than the shooting of series 3 of the BBC’s Sherlock.

“Go photograph Egypt and show the world something important,” he scribbled on a piece of scratch paper before encountering the paparazzi loitering around the set of the internationally popular television show.

A few days after his manual Egypt “post,” Cumberbatch once again crafted the paparazzi into his own personal Instagram staff by telegraphing more hand-written messages: “Hard drives smashed, journalists detained at airports … Democracy? Schedule 7, prior restraint. Is this erosion of civil liberties winning the war on terror…?  What do they not want you to know? And how did they get to know it? Does the exposure of their techniques cause a threat to their security or does it just cause them embarrassment?”

Britain’s Guardian newspaper took a typically classist view of Cumberbatch’s peaceful protest, most likely because the young actor openly criticized their handling of evidence in the Snowden case. Justifying their destruction of hard drives containing some of Snowden’s leaked documents, the Guardian responded by criticizing Cumberbatch for being a member of the “debased culture …the sort of people who might see the photos have such a lack of interest in anything else in the news that this is their only access to trenchant comment on the big news of the day.” To the newspaper snobs, “The signs hint – unintentionally, perhaps – that the world is divided into two discrete sets: people who already know about things such as Egypt and the Miranda case, and people who might be interested in set shots from the new Sherlock.”

In other words, that’s the snobby English hoi polloi way of saying, “You’re so bloody inferior.  Now, if you please, ignore the large mess of poo we’re standing in thanks to this uncultured Mister Cumberbatch.”

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All Comments   (13)
All Comments   (13)
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Not so sure "popular" can be tagged to a TV show consisting of 8(?) episodes. The Brits really like to drag things out. It's like BBC has one studio and they treat it like an NHS emergency room!
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
My respect for Cumberbatch, already high, just went up a notch.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whatever happened to "shut up an act" - or does that only count when you don't like what they say?

Celebrities making political statements is nothing new. To think this is somehow an artifact of the empowerment of individuals by social media is a bit foolish. Does the author actually believe if Marilyn Monroe had held up a sign for the paparazzi 60 years ago it would have had LESS impact?
I seem to remember Jane Fonda photos from the '70s that are regularly featured on this website. Does that demonstrate the power of instagram too?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't think those words mean what you think they mean.

Hoi Polloi literally means "the majority". In the stratified culture of monarchist Britain, it means "the great unwashed' or "rabble". High status Brits really do have a certain Teutonic bent in their attitudes towards their commons.

No self respecting upper class member, and certainly none of the aspirants to upper class British douche baggery, would ever refer to themselves as hoi polloi.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
When you ask for celebrities to speak their minds, then be prepared for the worst as well as the best. Think, Matt Damon; think, Alec Baldwin, or Barbra Streisand. By all means, let us think well before we ask for that which we may regret later.

Celebrities are only good at celebing, in most situations. Leave them to their tasks.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wouldn't it be wonderful if all celebrities did this instead of punching out paparazzi and making spectacles of themselves? But then, the worst of the celebrities would lose some of their all-important media attention. Who needs self-respect anyway?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is such a mischaracterization of the Guardian article. It's pretty much accusing the Guardian of saying the exact opposite of what it said. Ugh.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Guardian; " No doubt the Sherlock star means to use his power for good. But it's such a fine line, isn't it, between offering idiots some much-needed perspective, and subconsciously holding one's fans in contempt.

After all, the unfortunate implication of Benedict's signs could be that the sort of people who might see the photos have such a lack of interest in anything else in the news that this is their only access to trenchant comment on the big news of the day. The signs hint – unintentionally, perhaps – that the world is divided into two discrete sets: people who already know about things such as Egypt and the Miranda case, and people who might be interested in set shots from the new Sherlock.


Yep, just the exact opposite...
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep, it is. The Guardian article analyses the implications of the signs, as you have quoted, and then goes on to explain why they are not valid ways of looking at the situation. The author of this article apparently looked no further than what was needed to confirm preexisting prejuduces and got the whole thing backwards.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who'd be crazy enough to go photograph Egypt?
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Best done from LEO and we do have the tech. It would be informative to see such images.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Best actor of his generation, in my view. A fabulous talent and he appears to have something to say.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
Cue Cumberbatch!


On a more serious note. It is nice to see him pushing the pinheads toward something important.
47 weeks ago
47 weeks ago Link To Comment
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