Last night human fingerless glove Jared Leto tweeted out what he presumed was some sort of message of inspiration to his 1.8 million Twitter followers. It was a picture of himself sitting in a chair outside, concentrating really, really hard on something profound. Perhaps how many pyrotechnical explosions to set off in the bridge to “Kings and Queens” on his next tour. So far, nothing to see here. But the text he added along with the photo elevated it from self absorption level 9 to the type of stratospheric myopia you won’t find anywhere outside of a 30 Seconds to Mars song.
Frederick Douglass, for those of you who’ve forgotten your history, was a hugely influential former slave and abolitionist, whose autobiography Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is taught in schools everywhere, or at least it was back in my day. It’s probably been eliminated from the curriculum by now due to being controversial or something.
Here’s the rest of the quote, from a speech he gave in 1857 in New York, that portended the coming Civil War.
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Naturally, many people on Twitter took umbrage with Leto equating his own, uh, whatever it is he has going on over there — creative processes — to the struggle to overcome the institution of slavery. He was, as they say, promptly owned, thusly:
— Fat Auschwitz (@diarrhea) August 5, 2014
.@JaredLeto Congratulations on being responsible for the douchiest most self-absorbed image in the history of human communications.
— Sam Knight (@samknight1) August 6, 2014
You can find most of the best responses to Leto in this thread here.
And then Leto did something that leaders like Douglass before him surely would have done: he deleted the tweet.