Back in 2006, pre-(500) Days of Summer, Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a B-list celebrity at best.

Sure, he was a familiar face and had just made A-list-quality turns in Gregg Araki's Mysterious Skin and Rian Johnson's Brick, but to the paparazzi he was just "that kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun."

So it came as something of a surprise to him when a couple of paps started snapping shots of him while he was walking down a NYC street with a friend.

"I tried to be nice and politely ask them not to," he recalls in the introduction to his 2006 short film Pictures of Assholes. "They were neither nice nor polite. And that's when I remembered I had my camera in my bag. So that's where the movie starts."

He continues:

The only other thing I'll say is (and I had trouble deciding whether or not to be so blunt with my opinion, but here goes) I do believe that the myth of "Celebrity" is not just innocently shallow entertainment, but a powerful and fundamental part of a larger movement revolving around greed, apathy and hierarchy that is currently dragging us down, down, down, lower and scarier, and perhaps weaker than we've ever, ever been. Smile!

[H/T: PetaPixel via Laughing Squid]