POP CULTURE: Emma Watson


“And now, let’s turn to a young woman who has chosen to lend her voice… …to this very important solidarity movement. She’s a leading British actor, an advocate for gender equality in her own right, she’s been involved with the promotion of girls’ education for several years. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming to this stage our co-host and the UN women’s global goodwill ambassador, Emma Watson.” “Oh… Emma, don’t worry about it. You look great.” “Ahahallo!” “Mwah. Good morning.” “I’m Regis and she’s Kelly, and welcome to our show.” “Jump up here, Emma; let’s talk.” “This is Emma’s first time in New York– first time in America!” “So what happened when you learned you got the part? That must’ve been the thrill of your life, right?” – “Yeah… yeah, it was– I couldn’t believe it.”
– “And what did the other kids say at school?” “Why you? WHY YOU, EMMA WATSON?!” Emma Watson is in her mid-20s. She’s in the public eye because she’s made some films, but what she has to offer us is an example of positive character traits that have nothing really to do with the cinema. We may benefit from having her example selectively in mind in relation to many apparently distant matters. First and foremost, Emma Watson is an example of the virtue of dignity. “… it’s an honor to be joined by Malala Yousufzai. Hello Malala.” “Hello.” It’s quite hard to pin down what we might mean by dignity. Probably everyone wants more of this quality, but it feels odd to say so. That’s because we easily confuse dignity with a couple of other things that we tend to be very suspicious of: coldness and standoffish pride. There’s a worry that if someone has dignity, they’re not going to be very nice to be around, but really dignity has to do with being confident of one’s own decency and fundamental soundness… … in situations where there’s pressure to lose this confidence and act otherwise. When participating in a TV chat show, Emma mixes easily with people… … who are at times rather clownish or crass. “I remember, um, being devastated coming into the studio and seeing another little girl who ah… had actually been in films before, and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m never, never gonna get it. She’s had previous acting experience, she’s–
– “And that dang Judi Dench is a bitch.” “She can play young as well. You know she…” But she doesn’t become like them, and so she can be a good sport and join in without losing her natural honor. She’s not cold, and hence is a good example to have in mind of how to pull off, without strain, a crucial everyday diplomatic move: how to get on well with all sorts of people, and yet still be yourself. – “I don’t quite understand what you’re saying.”
– “Well, I’ll tell you what…” We might tend to think that the great lessons we need to learn from others are complicated, but a lesson is great because it’s basic– because we need it a lot, and so it will by definition look quite simple when stated. “Ahh, other than just to say thank you so much for all of your support and…” Emma is also good at gratitude. It would be understandable if a person got sick of being labeled just one thing– Potter Girl– and therefore turned against being in the limelight, becoming a bit hollow or mechanical in acknowledging the thing that had given them so much. But Emma Watson seems to be genuinely understanding of the role that she has to play for other people. She will always be, especially for younger girls, Hermione. She has to be Hermione just as Elizabeth Windsor has to be the queen for people, even if she has moments of inward frustration at having to be this character. In this way, Emma is like a good parent. She knows the character is bigger than her, just as being Mummy, someone loving, kind and understanding, is more important than being recognized by your children for being the fuller, more complex, more ambivalent person you really are. “How many journals and diaries do you have goin’?” “I think I have 30.” Emma is good, too, at generosity. She’s clever, but doesn’t humiliate people with the fact. She doesn’t go on chat shows and talk about post-structuralism or the early novels of George Eliot… … to her academics specialisms– not because she couldn’t do that very well, but because it would be unkind. In fact, her generosity is such that it seems strange even to note these possibilities. “I don’t… I don’t believe for a second that it’s both of your birthday.” She beautifully evades, even a hint, that she might have loves and needs and insights… … that would leave others bereft and feeling abandoned by their old friend from Hogwarts. “Promise you’ll write in summer. Both of you.” In a similar way, Emma is casual in the way she dresses, where she shops and how she lives. What does it mean when she dresses down? Is she a strange kind of fake, a fake ordinary? She could afford a chauffeur, she could have bodyguards, she could always look a million dollars. Is she just playing at being like us? More likely, she’s making a point about how good it is to have an ordinary life. She wants something that we already have. In the Christian tradition, Jesus, the Son of God and the Prince of Heaven, becomes a man. He is born to very ordinary parents. He does all the ordinary things: he works, gets tired, feels lonely… and this is imagined as the consequence of love. To love is to want to share in the ordinary existence of another person. Watson looks at people who are not glamorous, not famous, never invited onto the Red Carpet, and she says implicitly, “I like how you do things.” That’s very helpful indeed. It’s important for us to have people in mind who have the option of opting out, who don’t have to live ordinary lives, but who actually freely choose everyday things. By so doing, these people teach us to appreciate a little more the things which we love less than we should. “I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen, and to ask yourself: ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’ Thank you very, very much.”




Comments
  1. Timeline of events…

    1. I think The School of Life is one of the most brilliant and wise channels on Youtube.
    2. I see this video where TSoL describes Emma Watson as a positive role model and border-line saint, as opposed to the insane misandrist and/or perpetual victim her speeches reveal her to be.
    3. My respect for The School of Life falls through the floor. =(
    4. I become that much more convinced that there is no hope for intelligence to triumph over ignorance among humanity. =(

  2. Emma have probably already seen this. And this is so so great. It's an honest appreciation of positive perspectives on life.
    And you guys surprise me with your eye for recognising all this.

  3. Is there a video about people trying to diminish someone's work,personality and dignity by labeling that person with lowest human feelings, desires and in the same time describing theirs and their way of thinking?If not, I strongly recommend you to make one.Perhaps then we might see comment section much more pleasant to the eye.

  4. I love Emma Watson; Jesus 2nd coming, Can't wait for her to turn 32 so that she dies and resurrects

  5. when it comes to taylor swift:
    Why we got so serious about her 40 million legs?
    when it comes to emma watson:
    okay, this girl is actually a goddess that nobody understand just me as her admirer

  6. There's nothing ordinary about the Virgin Mary
    The lady got pregnant without having been inseminated, that in itself is already quite out of the ordinary.

  7. I love Emma Watson, if only because she proves that you CAN be both a feminist doing important work AND pretty. But come on, comparing her to Jesus? Implying that witty people who like a bit of banter are somehow undignified? It seems to me that The School of Life values some virtues over others, and that's okay. But don't start implying that everyone has to have the same personality traits in order to be a worthwhile human being.

  8. I understand that nobody is perfect but it's hard to believe that Emma is not perfect. I mean what are her weaknesses? I cannot think of any

  9. This is a British channel, i.e. School of Life, as Mr. Du Boston is a Londoner. So of course the glorification of someone like Emma Watson makes sense vs. American celebrities such as Khardazians, Swift, or their contemporaries. Most of Watson's movies are shit, and she is not much of a draw in the USA the biggest spender on films. Nonetheless, she is still a 'better' celebrity than the aforementioned Americans…except for the hacked selfie videos.

  10. Really? I saw her being defeated with a few facts about feminism, you can clearly see her narrow minded world collapse in seconds… I mean, if she wouldnt be hot af, and popular, could she raise up with only her personality and knowledge? Exactly, no.

  11. we had plato, aristotle, socrates……and seriously now…….wow this a down hill slide. "it really matters who we admire, because celebrities influence our outlook, ideas and conduct" i guess the school of life could learn something from the school of life plato video

  12. I generally like the School of Life. This is the first 'pop culture' one I have watched. For me, it was just one long cringe, so awkward to listen to a grown man fawn over a young woman who is fairly unremarkable. Maybe this struck a more discordant note for me because I just watched your profile of Goethe, but please, stick to the good stuff, content like this dilutes your channel and undermines your good work. The modern cult of celebrity is general degeneracy and should be avoided. I am sure Emma is just a fine woman, but do we need to make videos about that?
    ps. feminism is cancer.

  13. Great video. Nice to see a tribute towards intellectual values in pop culture through a role model of Emma. If this video was made a decade ago, it would be about Natalie Portman, I'm sure.
    It's important to outline such examples, although I think you should not expect the less intelligent part of the audience will understand much of it beyond 'some strange affection/crush of Alain de Botton'.

  14. The School of Life Channel definitely has a serious crush on her, it's okay it's what all guys do, yet I think you are too extreme when you try to make the rest of us idolize her as God too.
    Don't use your channel to manipulate people, guys. You have a large number of subscribers, it's irresponsible!

  15. I admire Emma Watson and suspect that if I knew her in person, I’d enjoy her company (she seems genuine) — but I don’t think, in this age of malignant celebrity worship, The School of Life should be seeking out and praising “the best” celebrities.

    Perhaps this kind of video brings new people into the fold, but it compromises the integrity of the project as a whole. Focus on the dignity and accomplishments of those “ordinary” people you’re always praising — the ones who haven’t “won” the “meritocratic game.”

  16. When Emma was in college she was really smart and knew the answers like Hermione , and people in her class would say 10 points to griffindor and she would get embarrassed and cry .

  17. This has been an excellent retrospective of Emma Watson and the way she sees and deals with life. Well done, well spoken, and illustrative of her value system I believe. This one is worth a look. Nice job.

  18. I don't think I can ever like her… There are so many things about her that I very much dislike…and I don't trust her…at all

  19. She is not talented, she is not even nice. I know her from school and she was unkind to my friends, stuck up, self centred and cruel. She had an opportunity to be successful, she was fortunate. Her acting is wooden and without substance or quality. She was also rude to waiting staff at Jamie Oliver's restaurant in Oxford (on the next table to us). She is arrogant and conceited and you have never actually met her, so you have no idea who she is a person. Unsubscribing now.

  20. I REALY DONT GET HOW PEPOLE CAN LIKE THAT GIRLE SHE IS FUCKT IN THE HEAD (adhd or somthing) ITS LIKE INBRED FROM UK i really dont get it .

  21. Emma Watson is a good actress from a nice family but a naive feminist who has got involved in activities which she has no background knowledge on.

  22. How about making something about Anthony Bourdain? he had more of almost any of us and behaved like he didn't, touched hearts all over the world and was as human as one can be

  23. Let's get real now. Where is the dark side of Emma? What people show in public is not who they really are.

  24. Dignity is when the taliban and isis took americas and british 'democracy' and 'freedom' and shoved them up the american and brits arse

  25. I think we need to be careful about creating figures of admiration. I believe it is better to admire and celebrate what individuals have actually done rather than contribute to a cult of personality.
    There is no such thing as a purely admirable person. We are each made up of flaws and strengths. In addition we never really know public figures. We generally only get to observe the side of themselves they or their publicists choose to present. We can then choose to admire what we perceive but we don't know how accurate that perception actually is.
    I like what I've seen of Emma Watson but I don't her personally so I would not place her on a pedestal.
    I am not a huge fan of dignity. I think that is a very subjective and not necessarily helpful quality. What is wrong with a bit of crassness. I like Jonathan Ross. I find him very funny and for all I know he could be just as good as person as Emma.
    I also don't see anything wrong with expressing knowledge or intelligence. There is a tendency for the entertainment industry to be quite anti intellectual. I wouldn't mind hearing Emma talk about George Elliott.
    I think people should wear what they feel good in and am not that interested in other people's clothing. Lady Gaga in her outlandish outfits, Emma in her dress down gear are of equal value and interest.

    Not one of SOLs best videos in my opinion.

  26. Great video that shows how great of a person she is. She is honestly one of the leading women in our world at the moment. She just gives love and that is literally what we all need to do

  27. LIFE IS ALWAYS BIGGER and GREATER THAN US. We must learn to be grateful TO LIFE for it allows us to be part of its GREATNESS!!!

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