In Defense Of Jason Bateman

By Gabe Delahaye / June 25, 2010

It was widely reported yesterday that Hollywood actor Jason Bateman (Teen Wolf Too, Couples Retreat) joined the ridiculously long line outside of an Apple store in Los Angeles to pick up his new iPhone 4, at which point an employee of the Apple corporation recognized him, and then this happened, from CNN:

The actor was one of more than 2,000 people who lined up outside an Apple store in L.A. yesterday to purchase the highly coveted new iPhone 4. But the Hollywood star didn’t spend much time among the little people – Us Weekly reports that the former “Arrested Development” star, 41, was escorted out of line and into the store.

“Everyone literally started booing and hissing,” an eyewitness told the magazine of the angry mob. And Bateman’s reaction? “He put his head down,” another onlooker said.

The story has become popular on the Internet because people on the Internet love two things: iPhones and GETTING MAD. Somehow, even though it doesn’t, this story seems to some people to represent the often unspoken but deep division between the way Celebrities live and the way Stupid Civilians live that is supposedly infuriating because of how aren’t we all supposed to be famous now? What is the point of Diaryland.com if that is not true? Jason Bateman is just a human being like the rest of us, the argument probably goes, so shouldn’t he have to wait in this 2,000 person line (uh, guys? That is too many) to spend hundreds of dollars on a status icon phone that has a GYROSCOPE in it? (These guys definitely understand what everyone is so mad about.)

First of all, relax, Internet. Second of all, I would like to offer a defense of Jason Bateman.

We live in a world in which celebrities are offered special privileges that range from free clothing/champagne to cutting in lines to being found innocent (sometimes) of murder. That’s just the way it is. It is part of the bargain we make with them for getting to look at pictures of their most recent Starbucks run. Certainly there are celebrities who abuse this arrangement, like people who don’t tip at a restaurant, or who say things like “don’t you know who I am? I’m Brandy” when they are pulled over for drunk/cocaine driving. Those people are assholes. But one gets the sense that Jason Bateman is not one of those people, and even if he is one of those people, this instance is hardly a demonstration of the supreme privileges of fame. Dude bought a phone.

Also, let us keep in mind that he was waiting in line, and an Apple Store employee approached him. What is the alternative?

Let’s say that you were a successful Hollywood actor and you wanted to buy an expensive new phone on the first day it came out, because you, like many other confused people in this upside-down world apparently, have a deep need for immediate gratification. But you’re a decent enough guy/lady. You go to the store, and you stand in line with everyone else. All 2,000 of them. (Seriously, that is so many people to be standing in line for a fucking phone. Unacceptable. That is the thing that people should have been booing. “Booo! Get off the line!”) And then someone from the store comes up to you and says “Hi, I recognize your face from the TV at my house. It would be my pleasure to allow to you come into the store now without standing outside for six hours, which is a CHOICE that everyone else in this line is making OF THEIR OWN VOLITION.” What are you going to do? Say no? “No, sir, I’m right where I am supposed to be. With the people!” That’s somehow EVEN WORSE.

Not to mention the fact that it was one Jason Bateman, not, like, 300 Jasons Bateman. In a line of 2,000 people (God damn it! Doesn’t anyone in Hollywood WORK?) letting Jason Bateman cut has no appreciable effect on the speed or efficiency of the line. It’s going to take you just as long (too long) to get a thing that you don’t need, much less that you don’t need TODAY TODAY TODAY TODAY. “I was perfectly happy to spend the entire day in this awful line for a thing I could order from the comfort of my home and have within a week, but now that a single person has not had to suffer the same chosen fate, I am furious, but will definitely keep waiting in this line for sure. What am I going to do? NOT wait in this line? Don’t be ridiculous.”

Obviously, the only thing celebrities need less than coddling is a blog defending them. And in the end, who cares if people booing made Jason Bateman feel ashamed. I’m sure he is over it! And I have a feeling that this story’s popularity is as much a factor of summer being a Slow News Season. So, you know, whatever. Today is a new day. We all go on with our lives, even the star of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Jason Bateman. But shame on the people in the line for booing him. Shame on them just for being in that line. I hope those nerds realize they are basically Twilight fans. Team iPhone! Boo on you, you grumpy old nerds.