Worst of 2015: Precious Jesse Eisenberg
It’s no surprise that Jesse Eisenberg is a prickly dick -- there have been signs that he’s a condescending jerk since 2013.
Sure, everyone says stupid things from time to time. I’m a huge forgiver of a one-off soundbite because I imagine if anyone followed me around with a microphone, even in my work life, I’d have a lot of apologizing to do. But with Jesse Eisenberg, this isn’t just one soundbite, it’s a systematic pattern of dickish-ness.
For a long time, I was willing to overlook Jesse’s behavior because I always thought he was way younger than he is (he’s 32); he’s got that New York intellectual thing going on; he has great bone structure and, most important, I really enjoy his movies. I think he makes good choices as an actor.
And as an actor, Jesse has choices – a lot of them. He chose to take on the role of Lex Luthor in a massive superhero movie. Then he went to Comic-Con and compared it to genocide. Because having thousands of excited fans happy and excited to see you, to see your film, is comparable to rape, torture and murder.
Oh, but it was hyperbole. As Lainey said at the time of his explanation, even when he is backtracking, he does it with a wagging finger and exasperated tone. Like we’re the idiots for taking it the wrong way.
Then there was the New Yorker essay, a piece that was so disdainful and derisive of film critics, bloggers, interns and women, that basically the entire Twitterverse caught on to his sh-tty attitude. In Jesse Eisenberg’s world, anyone who does not live in Brooklyn, draw comic books and work on a typewriter (preferably while sitting in a claw tub) is worthy of disdain.
Much of the time, he comes across as scornful. He can try to disguise it as “satire” or the voice of a sad little boy (like in his sh-tty book, which I’ll get to in a second), but clearly he loves to sneer at people who he thinks are beneath him, people like film critics and women.
This week, Lainey and I were discussing Jesse and she told me to browse his book of short stories. (Lainey: because it was not worth reading all of it.) I told her I would read the whole thing. I was sure I’d get through it. I finished Grey for goodness sake. But I did not get through Bream Gives Me The Hiccups.
His writing manages to be overly simplistic and derisive of its audience at the same time. He must think he’s writing for a bunch of dummies because his complex ideas (boys = sensitive geniuses; women=manipulative shallow opportunistic blackholes) are brought forth with the subtlety of an anvil to the head.
But Jesse crafts his deep thoughts on a typewriter in a Brooklyn brownstone, and I live on the West Coast and use a computer to write for a gossip blog. Also I have a vagina. Basically I’m 4/4 for things that Jesse Eisenberg deems unpalatable.
And he will have to deal with a lot of cretins (like me) during the Superhero Face Punch press tour – how will he possibly tolerate fans and journalists giving him attention for his work? How will he endure being paid to sit across from an entertainment reporter who wants to pepper him with questions? How will his delicate artistic soul survive the onslaught of mouth breathers? Godspeed in 2016, Jesse.