Foster casts Orwellian shadow with her speech

Times-Herald Editorial Staff
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Film actor, director, and producer Jodie Foster poses in Toronto Thursday, April 28, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

It seems certain that Jodie Foster’s speech, in accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the Golden Globes gala, will be talked about around the proverbial water cooler for some time.

The 50-year-old actress took the stage Sunday and delivered a speech that has been called “forthright,” “honest” and “authentic.” But the veteran has also received some flak for being confusing.

To be fair, Foster’s speech did seem heavily disjointed, and there were portions of it that were impossible to follow, but that lent it a certain air of authenticity.

In her address, Foster discussed her sexuality — some media outlets have asserted she officially “came out” — and her near half-century acting career. And she hinted at a transition in her career in the near future.

Mainstream media outlets have been dissecting what Foster said and searching for every possible meaning, but they have lost touch with what was likely the central message in the process.

Tucked away neatly in the middle of her speech, Foster said, “Privacy: someday in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was.”

For an individual such as Foster, who has literally spent her life in the spotlight — she started acting when she was three — to speak about privacy is almost expected.

History is full of bitter celebrities spitting vitriol at the media for daring to take their picture or ask them questions about things which the unwashed masses might be interested.

But this didn’t have the ring of a rail against media — she never addressed the media elsewhere in her speech, and though she does open the discussion with a comment about reality TV and her life as a celebrity under intense public scrutiny, she didn’t seem to be asking for pity.

Rather, it seems, Foster was rendering an astute observation of modern-day society, congested as it is with every variety of social media, in which every individual has a phone with built-in camera and Internet access and the mundane details of our day-to-day lives are splattered rather haphazardously on a network that people we will never know can access.

Well done, Jodie. George Orwell would be proud.

All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.

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