Emma Thompson would rather have a root canal every day than join Twitter


This is Emma Thompson. NO JOKE. These are photos of Emma – in character, with a wig, face prosthetics and a fat suit – in Scotland filming The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson with Robert Carlyle. I tend to think Emma is like a lot of dude actors, in that she loves to hide behind over-the-top costumes, prosthetics, body suits, etc. Director Richard Curtis even said she wore a fake bum for Love Actually. Emma is more like Johnny Depp than we ever realized! Pretty soon she’s going to wander around London in twenty scarves, ten rings, a dozen necklaces and a fug hat. Just you wait!

The last time we discussed Emma, she was alienating working mothers by claiming that if you want to be a “great mum” you have to stop working and, I suppose, get a job where you’re paid crazy money for a few months of work. Emma still hasn’t clarified those remarks, but several weeks ago, she did go OFF about social media and Generation Facebook:

“I’d rather have root canal treatment for the rest of my life than join Twitter,” the 55-year-old two-time Oscar winner said. “That’s not my scene at all…. God knows what it’s all doing to us. 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.”

Using some dark humor, she suggested that in another 25 years, the entire social media generation “will just drop dead,” leaving everyone to wonder what they had in common. “They were connected every day, 24-7, you know! And no one knew what it was going to do to them…. We invent stuff, we just fling it out there, we let anyone use it…. 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 any more!’ It’s the lemming generation, I’m telling you.”

And being anti-social media definitely puts her in a rarefied class. When the interviewer asked Thompson if she ever Googled her own name, Thompson shot back, “Putting my head in the toilet and flushing it repeatedly would be a more cleansing experience.”

[From Today]

I’m guessing that all of this was said with Emma’s very dry, British humor, but there’s probably an element of how she really feels. Some over-50 people love social media and they pick it up quite quickly. Some don’t. I guess I can’t really slam Emma too much because I feel somewhat similarly, even though I write for a blog and I have a Twitter. I’m not on Facebook or anything because… I guess I’m just missing the “Facebook” gene. I don’t see the point (for me!). But I’m not going to call all of you lemmings or anything.



Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

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42 Responses to “Emma Thompson would rather have a root canal every day than join Twitter”

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  1. Grant says:

    What exactly is the link between having a social media presence and committing suicide? I don’t really see a relationship…

    • Steph says:

      Studies have shown a link between Facebook use and the development of depression and low self-esteem.

      • Mel M says:

        Yes I’ve read that Facebook users have lower self esteem in general because all day you are bombarded by images of other people “perfect” lives and compare yourself to them. However, no ones life is perfect but people only put the images of their smiling baby or the amazing vacation they took. No one puts pics up of the pile of laundry, dirty dishes, or your baby screaming and throwing food in your hair.

      • mimif says:

        That’s interesting. I read a study that people who were *not* on social media, tended to have worrisome anti-social disorders, aka suffered from various forms of sociopathy. Which I found highly suspect, especially since I’m not on any form of social media (except Celebitchy) and I’m f-cking perfect. ;)

        Also, that header pic is everything.

      • Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

        @Mel M: Are you familiar with STFU, Parents!? If not, it will be an education.

      • Mel says:

        No doubt it can (and does) aggravate it – but I think it’s low self-esteem that drives people to FB in the first place. (OF COURSE there are many exceptions to this; nevertheless, I do believe they are *exceptions*. And I believe it can only aggravate self-esteem in those who struggle with it anyway.)

        As for the main article… I find this statement very odd: “Some over-50 people love social media and they pick it up quite quickly. Some don’t.”

        “Over-50″ would include, well, everyone over 50 (and 60, and 70, and so on), so how is that a meaningful category? How do people “over 50″ differ from those who are, say,” “over 40″?

        Moreover, the “social media” have been around for more than a decade, so a person of Emma’s age would have been in their early 40s when FB arrived (and only in their early 30s when the internet became widespread).

        Finally, the statement goes for every age because, well, some people like some things. Others don’t.

        (Full disclosure: I was the first among my friends to have many new communication and other technology gadgets, but I have never had a FB account, and I tend to look down on people who do have it. I AM NOT PROUD of this attitude, but that’s the way it is. The moment I realise someone has a FB account – an ACTIVE one – their “stock” falls slightly in my eyes. If I find out they use it for “social communication” – sharing the usually paltry details of their daily lives, photos of themselves and such, it falls sharply. But if they have a company or some other customer-service-oriented business, all is forgiven. :- ) Although I should add I have a high profile in my profession – and it is a public-oriented profession par excellence – yet I do not use any social media nor do I anticipate using them. Ever.)

        As for Twitter… the name says it all, doesn’t it?:))

      • Mel says:

        @Mimif: that “study” must have been the product of some third-graders who probably can’t even spell and who feel they don’t exist unless other people see them. You know, much like Schroedinger’s cat. :)

        Seriously, the quality of social media (and other sociological) “studies” I’ve seen lately IS worrisome. Some of those researchers don’t seem to be able to grasp even the basic distinctions between cause and effect – let alone the biases involved.

  2. Arlene says:

    Facebook is great, I use it to stay in touch with my daughter who is living in Dubai. Twitter is fun too. Seriously, it seem the la-di-dah thing to poo on social networking, but it’s not big and it’s really not that clever.

    • eva says:

      ITA, it’s the new, I don’t own/watch television

    • Josefa says:


      I think it’d be cool if the people whining about social media actually tried it. I was like that once, too, until I created an account on facebook and twitter. You see, it wasn’t that bad. When people get annoying, I go watch some crap on youtube instead. Problem solved.

  3. We Are All Made of Stars says:

    Quite honestly I just click on the article to see if that was a real picture of Emma Thompson or if she was just in character for a film. Now that I feel relieved, I will be making a quick getaway…. :)

    • Jaderu says:

      Ha me too! She looks hilarious. She looks like my grandma. Shit, that could be me in 25/30 years.

  4. Rice says:

    Well, I’m not as extreme as Emma when it comes to social media. I’m on Facebook and nothing else. Honestly, I think everyone has a right to join whatever social media that suits their fancy.

    • Sabrine says:

      Kids are wanting attention. Their mother is too busy texting to answer her children except to tell them to be quiet. I see this everywhere now and I think it’s horrible. The latest was at a restaurant. This woman’s kids were just staring at their engrossed mother in silence as she completely ignored them. Texting was her priority. The rest of the stuff I don’t know. I joined Twitter and thought it was ridiculous. Facebook doesn’t interest me. I have a tablet and that’s bad enough.

  5. Dancinnancy says:

    @Grant lack of social interaction and meaningful relationships. Feeling isolated and alone. She finds a natural progression.

    • Grant says:

      Ah, I see. But one could assert that Facebook allows people miles away to stay in contact so the argument could be made that social media actually promotes/improves relationships, right?

      • Steph says:

        Yes however most people use FB to interact with every person they have ever met. And most people only post good things on their Facebook. So if you are connected with a bunch of people you don’t see in real life on a regular basis, you start to feel that everyone has it better than you and thus the spiral begins.

        Because of that, I only have Facebook to keep in touch with my family bc they organize family events on there. And I only am “friends” with people I am actually friends with and hang out with on the regular. And this includes people miles and miles away bc I talk to them on the phone regularly.

      • Leen says:

        So true grant. I lived in three different countries and without social media (Facebook, Skype and whatsapp), it would have been extremely difficult for me to keep in touch with people.
        And as an Arab, Facebook and Twitter are godsends to find out what was happening in Palestine, Egypt and Syria. It was a great way to make sure the people I knew were well as well as knowing what was happening on the ground. I use twitter strictly for political reasons.
        I don’t understand why people keep sh*tting on social media. Thanks to it, I am more connected with everyone, know a lot more what happens on the ground in Egypt, Gaza, Tunisia and yes even Syria.

  6. mkyarwood says:

    Me too :)

  7. BangersandMash says:

    I just came to say that this cracked me up. What an odd friday!
    Shia interrupting Alan Cumming, *tisk tisk*

    Emma Thompson saying that having a root canal for the rest of her life would be more preferred choice than joining social media.

    Gary Oldman, great performance!!

    Lindsay’s telling the truth.

    FABOOOSH Friday!!

    • Jaderu says:

      You forgot Kate’s sourpuss face of doom and Benedict Cumberbatch’s car salesman outfit.
      It’s my kind of gossip line-up actually.

  8. Sixer says:

    Well, she’s right in that we are the experimental generation in terms of the internet.

    But it’s like every other development in the history of human civilisation – changes are usually for the long term good but cause short term problems. It’s not as though you can turn back the clock and uninvent the internet any more than you can uninvent the wheel and the printing press. And plenty of people thought the printing press was going to send us all to hell in a handbasket in its early days!

  9. ToodySezHey says:

    That hot Bitch, lol

  10. Adrien says:

    The most entertaining Facebook and Twitter users are the “oldies”. I have blocked a bunch of friends and relatives on FB but I’ll never block the grammas and grampas. They do not filter their thoughts. They do not stage a scene. They do not try to come up with something witty to post. Most of the time, they reveal the actual financial or marital status of that boastful FB friend.

  11. k miss says:

    Did you just get pictures of my grandmother and post on here?

  12. OhDear says:

    I don’t agree on the lemming part, but I don’t like social media either (and I’m younger than she is). I see the positives, but it’s not for me – I don’t want an online presence, hate most of the company’s privacy policies, don’t like a lot of people’s online behavior, etc. It’s not like there aren’t other means of contact besides social media.

  13. megan says:

    I don’t know anything about that movie, but after seeing Emma in that awesome costume, I can’t wait to see it.

  14. Jaded says:

    I don’t use Facebook or twitter to interact with people – I email them. Or pick up a phone [GASP] – how antediluvian!!!

    • Candy Love says:


      • Mel says:

        I don’t understand the reasoning of having to use FB or Twitter (etc.) to “keep in touch”. Whatever happened to email (not to mention more “antediluvian” devices)?

        If someone’s too… whatever to reply to email, then the “social media” aren’t going to be of much help either. And besides, why the need to keep “in touch” with people with whom you aren’t in touch already, by other means?
        Quantity over quality seems to be the answer.
        No, thanks.

  15. jess says:

    Ive never had twitter,facebook,MySpace or instagram. Ive seen way to many people get addicted to it. My cousin, for example cant even make it through dinner without checking her phone. When we went on vacation her phone wasnt working and she started freaking out. I even heard of à girl committing suicide causé hee parents banned facebook. It just consumes your entire life. Plus, when people started taking pics of their meals its just gotton ridiculous.

  16. Kiddo says:

    We have been a giant experiment from the beginning and will continue to be, no matter what. There is no fail-safe way to conduct being human.

    I’m not into facebook or twitter, but root canal is tremendously full of suck, so I would instead join twitter, but never log in: problem solved, no tooth torture. Yeah, I know hyperbole and whatnot, but I’ve killed two birds with one stone. And yes, killing birds is nasty. I take that back.
    Plus who has a bunch of big stones just lying around to throw? People in glass houses, that is, but only at their own peril.. I’m not sure how to exit this thread and shut up so I will just jump off…ahhhh

  17. Sighs says:

    I technically have a twitter account, but I can’t even remember what my name is and I’ve never tweeted anything. But l checked on it a few months ago and I apparently have 14 followers?
    Oh, and I <3 Emma Thompson.

  18. TX says:

    thats a shame because she seems like she would be a riot on Twitter. Shes so funny and just says whatever she thinks..I would be so in!

  19. someone says:

    I don’t understand people who use Twitter for evil. It’s one thing to come to Celebitchy and comment on a story about Kim Kardashian’s ugly outfit. It’s another to go on Twitter and tweet Kim Kardashian directly that you think she is an ugly ho. What kind of person feels the need to directly tell a celebrity thru twitter what they think is wrong with them (and in nasty language too)? I see the stuff that is tweeted directly to Leann Rimes and Brandi Glanville and it is beyond rude. What is wrong with these people that they think tweeting that kind of abuse is acceptable? My biggest concern for the younger generations is that they believe every opinion they have about something is worthy of being blasted out for all to see on social media.

  20. jlw says:

    Social Media is just like anything else: use common sense and moderation.

    Problem is, there’s often not alot of common sense around.

  21. Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

    I’m not person who has never been involved with any social media, but I find it a bit grating when other people who aren’t involved in it believe that it makes them grand.

    One day in the future, someone will be carping on about, ‘Oh, I can’t STAND these sentient revenge clouds, they completely alienate us from our victims. I miss the bygone days of toxicity when we would get our rose gold robots to gently place the bag of flaming sulphur on the porch and push the victim’s face into the fumes. Watching that skin to gold contact from my above ground swimming bunker was so much more intimate and real than what happens these days. It’s not humane this way. Now people don’t even care to watch the target sputtering and choking on the smoke and I don’t think we’re a richer society for that.’


    And root canals are about a tenth as bad as people make them out to be. The worst part is holding your mouth open for hours and that does get tiring and sore but it’s not a life ender

  22. jwoolman says:

    I’m older than she is and have been attached to my keyboard at the wrist for decades. But I have managed to avoid twitter and Facebook. For me, they would send me over the edge- too much, I already have to wade through hundreds of e-mails a day looking for ones from potential clients… There is only so much communication with humans I can take. Pre-computer, I had to frequently pull the plug on my phone for similar reasons. People much older than me had conniptions when they found out, they seemed to think I was supposed to be available 24/7. Modern communications can be wonderful, but some of us just go bonkers with too much of it.

    However, during a recent prolonged power outage, I discovered that I can read twitter without being on twitter, at least for tweets from the local power company. That was helpful during the outage and I learned interesting things such as how many trees crashed into transmission lines, explaining why one quarter of the city lost power for several hours. But it’s a slippery slope. I woould clearly be doomed if I actually signed up.