More than that would be too much.
I don’t know when it happened, because I still mostly think of him as Louis Stevens, because that’s who he was when I was a kid, and that’s how I’ll always remember most things from that age. But in the last year or so he’s become this sort of intensely strange entity wandering popular culture. Not that he’s doing very popular things, but he still walks those corridors, which keeps him in the public eye. It feels similar to James Franco, but only because they both seem to be doing a lot of disparate things and most of them are not what you’d expect them to be doing.
Everyone seems to hate James Franco, which I think is pretty silly. He may not be particularly good at anything he does, but I like that he tries. He aims for mountains even though he’s stuck in a wheelchair, and that’s impressive, I think, to keep fighting past your limitations. He’s not bad at everything, either. I think he’s a pretty solid actor. Just watch Milk or 127 Hours. He’s probably good in other things, too, but I can’t remember them. Oh, Pineapple Express. That was awesome.
Shia LaBeouf is different, though. He’s not so much grappling with his identity as a celebrity, which is what I think Franco’s doing. LaBeouf is seems to have fallen through this crack in media and arrived at this place where very few people exist.
This is a tremendously strange thing that’s also completely awesome.
But that’s not when I started thinking about LaBeouf, which I’ve been doing far more than I’d like to admit. I stumbled across this silent interview with him about a month or two ago. I even made a short post at Enclave about how he seems to be living in a novel written by my friend, Michael Seidlinger.
It’s all so strange, but utterly fascinating.
To be honest, I know very little of his work since he was on Disney channel. I’ve seen Transformers and I, Robot, and something he was in about an Eagle or something. He’s also in Lawless, which I’ve been meaning to watch for a long time, so I may watch it tonight. Oh, too, he was in Nymphomaniac, which is what you’d expect from Von Trier, which is to say: I hate that film.
But he as a person or even celebrity has largely not existed for me. I get that a lot of people hate him. He seems easy to dislike, I guess, but the only feeling I have towards him is one of confusion.
He flummoxes me, but in the best way. I like when famous people sort of radically unhinge themselves from who they were before. And I think it’s something that can only happen to people who are forced to be scrutinised by the world, both for their work and how they choose to live their life. I mean, a lot of people may hate my novels, but no one’s going to tell me they hate me because I wrote them, or because I choose to live my life in the odd way that I do.
But with a celebrity, they can act in a film [and that’s the biggest thing: they don’t make the film, they just show up and perform in it], and people will literally hate them forever!
It’s amusingly bizarre and deeply troubling, but that’s a different discussion.
I’m trying to tell you that I want to know what it’s like to be Shia LaBeouf. I want to live in his head for a while the way Kaufman made John Cusak live in John Malkovich’s head.
I’m sure there are far more interesting people who’d more more fun to climb inside, but LaBeouf has a certain draw to him.
Maybe it’s because I think he may be insane.
Just went to his twitter for the first time, and I think he’s writing a book a few words at a time. Or something. He’s strangely regular about posting enigmatic nothings.
This intrigues me.
I like the idea of an insane celebrity wandering around.
Though I guess we already have Gary Busey [have you seen the commercials he’s in? they’re hilarious!], so maybe we don’t need more insane celebrities wandering around our screens and popular culture. I wonder, too, if celebrity just kind of twists you this way, because, the more I think about it, the more bizarre all celebrities become to me. I mean, yeah, bizarre enough that we have a worldwide caste of people who are identified as such. But it’s especially strange that we care.
And here I am, caring.
Caring about a stranger, but in an almost clinical way, which sort of disturbs me, to be honest. He’s not really a person to me, sadly enough. He’s this entity. He’s an irregularity on the landscape of americana.
And that’s cool.
Him being an irregularity, not me dehumanising him.
But maybe living inside his skull would make me understand better.
Also, I really like this video:
It’s mesmerising and sort of haunting. It’s beautiful and vicious.
It makes me feel more than anything a celebrity has done in a long time. It’s oddly personal, and it drives inside me. It turns my heart over like an engine. It makes me breathe with ragged lungs and see through swollen eyes.
He reminds me more of a hulking colossus than a human in this video.
I like that.
Too, that little girl can dance. And Shia LaBeouf grew muscles and became even stranger.
And they made something gorgeous.
I keep saying that pop culture is becoming more surreal and bizarre and I keep meaning to write an essay about it, because it’s also becoming more nihilistic, which is interesting, considering how absurd the whole industry is.
But this is just another example of the perplexing way that pop culture [maybe better to just call this americanism] is developing.
But that’s all I have to say about this for now.