College Media Villains of the Year: James Franco, A-Lister, Apes Lover, Yale Daily News Hater

College Media Villains, 2010-2011

Over the past academic year, a small number of school officials, outside individuals, and even an A-list celebrity negatively impacted collegemediatopia– or at least deigned to try.  Their complaints, backroom dealings or outright censorship have left a sour taste in the mouths of student journalists and their supporters.  First up among the villainous offenders, this selection admittedly slightly tongue-in-cheek (and tied to a movie premiere)…

James Franco

As most of the Western world is aware, James Franco phoned in his Oscar hosting duties this past spring, earning Spiderman-the-musical-sized criticism from netizens and the press.  Yet, in the immediate aftermath of the Academy Awards debacle, the actor/writer/soap star/grad student did not publicly acknowledge any of the scathing reviews. Instead, he felt compelled to respond to a random 300-word post penned by a Yale student in a 3 a.m. blogging session focused on the lame-ness of James Franco’s Twitter.”

The nut graf of the post that he (and his fans) found offensive, by student Cokey Cohen (the most well-known Yalie of 2011): “James Franco, your Twitter sort of sucks.”

As Cohen noted in a subsequent portion, “Look, I get it. Twitter’s hard. . . . And I would usually never berate someone for tweeting inadequately . . . but James Franco is not just some rando on Twitter. He’s a Celebrity Tweeter, which deserves all caps and necessitates a higher quality of meaningless, incessant electronic communication.  So far, he’s been tweeting a lot of random links to pictures and replies to other celebrities. The pictures are okay in that a few are of him: candids are a Celebrity Tweeter staple. On the other hand, a lot of them . . . look like a fourteen-year-old girl with emo bangs and a Tumblr account attacked them with a few of her favorite Photoshop filters.”

Franco’s odd Photoshopped reply: placing sloppy red letters spelling out “F*ck The Yale Daily News” over a photo of himself in a car, seatbelt buckled, sporting a Terminator-as-a-teenager look.  It is so general that not even Cohen was entirely sure he was responding to her.  But the consensus from YDN and the media at-large was that the pic was Franco’s fight to restore his Twitter honor.

In a separate follow-up post about Franco’s FU photoCohen sarcastically called the incident “the pinnacle of my career as a writer, at least based on the fact that [the original] blog post officially has the most comments of anything I’ve ever written, even if they are all defending James Franco against my typos and general meanness.”

A few reactions from my own students back in March when shown Franco’s “visual/performance/Twitter art response”: “I think this is his way of indirectly responding to all his Oscar hosting haters”; “This whole thing might be a secret PR agreement between him and the newspaper– maybe they had to agree to publish his upcoming short story in exchange”; and “Franco’s so weird, this might somehow be a compliment.”

Or it might simply be beyond our comprehension.  In Cohen’s words, “I’m becoming convinced that James Franco’s whole life is a form of postmodern performance art.” Bring on the apes.

Next on the Villainous List: A Priest/University President in California.

Any guesses?

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  1. […] shot within contemporary YDN lore.  I am referring of course to the classic Franco FU picture.   Click here or on the screenshot below to learn more about its […]

  2. […] shot within contemporary YDN lore.  I am referring of course to the classic Franco FU picture.   Click here or on the screenshot below to learn more about that image’s […]

  3. […] College Media Villains of the Year: James Franco, A-Lister, Apes Lover, Yale Daily News Hater […]



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