Hugh Grant testifies

November 22, 2011 16:36:01 Posted at November 22, 2011 16:36:01
Lainey Posted by Lainey
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Hugh Grant gave testimony at the Leveson Inquiry yesterday continuing his crusade not only against Rupert Murdoch’s News International and the new defunct News of the World but also other British tabloids, The Daily Mail and The Mirror. He claims his phone was hacked, that he and his baby mother - with whom he had that “fleeting affair” - have been stalked, and that this home has been burgled by members of the press eager to expose his sh-t. Steve Coogan is there today. And Sienna Miller and JK Rowling are expected in the coming days. But it’s been Hugh who has led the celebrity cavalry against what he calls the “toxic” and increasingly “unethical” behaviour of some members of the UK press. And the public is certainly, right now, more receptive to his cause as his argument has been lumped in with the abhorrent treatment of the Milly Dowler case. He was also permitted during his visit to present to the hearing his “10 Myths of Tabloid Journalism”. Click here to see.

Hugh Grant is articulate, well informed, and impassioned. But we encounter tricky ground in point #9 when he asserts that not all celebrities want to appear in tabloids. What category do Elizabeth Hurley and Shane Warne fit into there? Especially when it comes to calling the paps? How many sets of rules apply to different subsets of celebrity? Addressing the questionable practices of media is only one part of it. The other part of it is to examine the practices of modern Celebrity itself, of which he is an active member, and from which he continues to benefit. This is not to say that he should condone the phone hacking and the burgling - of course not. But where it relates to having his picture taken and the ongoing interest in his personal life, there’s a direct relation between that and his career, no matter how much he tries to deny it.

Let’s break from the seriousness of it all though, shall we?

After all, it’s not like Hugh didn’t provide several moments of levity himself during his testimony. This is why people have found him so irresistible for so long. He’s a prick but goddamn he can be really, really funny. Several times while reading through the very dense accounts of his hearing, I laughed out loud at his commentary, knowing, because I’ve seen so many of his movies, how he would have delivered the line, his tone of voice. Like when he recalled how he drafted the statement about the arrival of his daughter on location for a film on the phone with his publicist, hurried because the story had already broken:

"It was not ideal circumstances. I was dressed as a cannibal at the time."

See?

He’s hilarious.

And, as such, inspired by his charm and (unintentional?) comedy, some of the reporting on his testimony has also been hilarious. Here’s a take from The New York Times and here’s a brief summary on yesterday’s events by USA Today.

Also Piers Morgan’s tweet about Hugh’s testimony which, I mean I know Morgan used to work for the Mail and isn’t exactly objective but that doesn’t mean you can’t find him funny.

“I do hope Nelson Mandela was watching Hugh Grant today, so he now understands what real persecution is all about.”

And speaking of Steve Coogan, ever since I saw The Trip I can’t think of Hugh Grant without automatically hearing Rob Bryden (If you haven’t yet watched The Trip, you have to do it, like, NOW) which, obviously, immediately starts me giggling. Start at the 1:40 mark of the clip below if you’ve not seen his impression. And, as you know if you’ve seen it, that’s not even the best impression. The best impression that’s not even an impression is their bit on what soldiers might talk about before they head out to war the next morning and whether or not they should have breakfast first. That’s the second clip. Jacek has never laughed harder. It was on the plane on the way to the Maldives and he couldn’t decide what to watch so I told him to watch The Trip and during this scene he was WEEPING in his seat. We rise at daybreak!

(Click here for a good analysis of Hugh Grant’s activism.)

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