Very occasionally, your loyal Vulture staff will actually step away from the computer, go out into the world, and talk with people who do not spend all day constantly hitting the “Refresh” button on their entertainment-news-heavy RSS feeds. When we do, we often make surprising discoveries; for example, it turns out that not everyone can name all the members of One Direction or recite The Social Network in full. But over the weekend, this writer mentioned Michael Fassbender in passing to a group of friends, only to find that no one in the conversation even recognized his name. You know, the handsome guy in the arty naked movie, we prompted. Blank stares. Nothing. Frankly, we were stunned.
Was Michael Fassbender not in four movies last year, including one that people actually saw (X-Men: First Class)? Was his acting not extensively praised for months on end? Did we not spend a whole Oscar season making jokes about his very famous penis? We get that blog-anointed indie actors (like John Hawkes or Brit Marling) might not be brand names to the average moviegoer, but Michael Fassbender seemed like a no-brainer to us. Again: Magneto! Penis!
Baffled, this writer convened the bloggers at Vulture HQ to help administer a highly unscientific poll, in which we asked random friends, family members, and baristas the simple question: “Do you know who Michael Fassbender is?” The results were shocking (and really pretty fun)! “I don’t think so. Who is it?” “I don’t know. Can I Google now?” “Only that he’s that guy from the movie with the penis. I don’t think I would recognize him.” The more “no”s we got, the more people we contacted, and the answers were strangely consistent: Our non-blogger acquaintances are not at all familiar with the wonderful Irish thespian Michael Fassbender. Not his acting, not even his penis. So we turn the question over to you: Is Michael Fassbender famous? Do your non-Vulture-reading friends know who he is, or are we just traveling in particularly ignorant circles? We don’t want to live in a world in which he is not a star, but is this a case where his reputation has not yet traveled beyond entertainment-writer caves and frame-grab porn sites? Please ask around, and make sure to include any dick-related comments in your reports. He’s used to it.