Kara Swisher

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Kevin Spacey Goes All House-of-Cards on Hollywood (Video)


In case you missed this most excellent keynote speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival’s high-profile James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, actor Kevin Spacey gave what is perhaps the most cogent call to arms for the entertainment industry to please get with this Internet thing.

Spacey, who stars in Netflix’s sensational “House of Cards” series, noted that it was a “relief for all of you is that I am not someone with an important job in broadcasting, using this speech to audition for an even more important job in broadcasting.”

But he is very important, given the success of the show and its unorthodox delivery to consumer — over the Internets and all at once — has proved a critical point. Which is: The kids love it.

“There’s no difference [to them]watching ‘Avatar’ on an iPad or watching YouTube on a TV and watching ‘Game of Thrones’ on their computer,'” Spacey said. “It’s all content. It’s all story.”

And: “The device and length are irrelevant.”

And: “Studios and networks who ignore either shift — whether the increasing sophistication of storytelling, or the constantly shifting sands of technological advancement — will be left behind.”

Or, as Francis Underwood — the political nightmare Spacey plays with glee — said in the first lines of “House of Cards,” as he mercy-strangles a dog, hurt badly by a car: “There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain. The sort of pain that’s only suffering. I have no patience for useless things. Moments like this require someone who will act, do the unpleasant thing, the necessary thing.”


Here is a compilation of Spacey’s speech by Britain’s Telegraph that is worth an entire watch:

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work