Friday, June 15, 2018
Douchebag of the Week (Week Ending 6/16/2018) - Robert DeNiro
I want to begin by making what should be an obvious case:
Actors make their livings by pretending to be someone else. Good actors make their living by pretending to be someone else in a convincing fashion. Really good actors make their living pretending to be someone else in a convincing fashion despite having no personality of their own. The Really Good Actor is an illusion of a person; he is infinitely malleable; he is infinitely adaptable; he is trained in the arts of deception; for if he had a distinct personality, if he were not capable of transforming himself according to his role, if he could not deceive you, you would not find him believable, and he would not be a Really Good Actor (henceforth: RGA).
This makes the RGA many things: entertainer, interpreter, but mostly, a charlatan, and like any good con man, his bullshit doesn't work if the mark doesn't wish to be suckered in, but the one thing it does not make him is a fucking genius.
He spends his professional life taking direction from others; he speaks words written for him by others; he survives -- and profits -- by pretense, and not by his own dim lights. He is a puppet.
There's a variety of reasons why people become actors; I've heard tell that it's a great way for otherwise dorkish men of questionable masculinity to meet chicks, and maybe occasionally have to kiss one or (best of all!) get naked with one. I've also been told that the impetus for the Muse is a "passion" for ______, which, upon closer inspection, usually turns out to be not so much "passion" as it is a means of avoiding real work.
Of course, I adhere to the view that people become actors because they just can't get enough attention. They feel unloved. The have no self-esteem. They hate themselves so much and so deeply that the only escape they can manage is to play a role; to be someone -- anyone -- that isn't them, and to fill the empty void of their soul with applause, the affirmation of others.
Hence, the escape into the Realm of Make Believe.
Put a costume on a loser, give him some really cool lines, and suddenly, he's "A Star", and the public suddenly finds him fascinating, and wants to know about all aspects of his life, lives vicariously through him, and finds in him a champion of the masses with amazing powers of wisdom, intelligence, benevolence, enlightenment, and genius attributed to him that are never truly evident, and wholly undeserved. Suddenly, the attention-starved loser becomes everyone's Messiah, only to kill himself with drugs at some point later in life because all the adulation could never fill the empty pit in his psyche where his sense of self should have resided.
It's easy to see how this happens. Granted my theory on psychological damage is correct, the RGA, then, is eventually placed in a no-win situation: he began as an unloved person; he ends as a person who is only beloved because the public doesn't ever see the real him (for if they did, they'd abandon him), and ends with him wrestling with all the "trappings" of fame -- wealth, notoriety, recognition, fandom -- and every fake smile, every award received, every accolade shouted from the rooftops, only feeds his eternal sense of self-doubt:
Do they really like ME, or just the last part I've played?
Naturally, since the profession is lousy with similarly insecure people with the same affinity for deception (of not just the public, but of themselves) there forms a bubble of mutual admiration which is not so much a support group as it is an additional psychological prop that keeps reality at bay and the illusion alive for just that much longer, until old age, or the damage caused by the inner turmoil, often fed by drugs and booze and cheap sex and the nagging doubt that for all the distinctions if people only got to know the REAL you, they'd hate your fucking guts, too, resolves itself in death.
Usually at your own hands.
So the mutual admiration society becomes an echo chamber. A comforting one that the RGA is loathe to leave, because it has become part of the defense mechanism whereby he staves off the impulse to constantly reexamine himself. It's why you hear actors say of one another that so-and-so is "an inspiration"; that this other guy is a "consummate pro", that they will pattern their performances off those of another that came before. They have to do these things because beyond the shell of humanity, caked in make-up, covered in costumes, erected by press releases and softball interviews in People magazine, there is nothing. There is a hollow crust with nothing inside of it.
The RGA must continually re-invent himself, even emulate others, to keep the REAL Self one step behind, and the eventual suicide under mysterious circumstances two steps back.
This is why every time a "celebrity" dies, we are "shocked" and consider it "a tragedy". The public falls for the persona, and does not know the person, who is usually a bitter, self-hating mental patient.
The RGA, then, is little more than a cardboard cutout to which people can attach their own emotions to; he is an empty vessel that can be filled with your own hopes, dreams, interpretations. He is a Potemkin Village where the shops are full of sausages, but the sausages were made of wax, and produced in a factory in Siberia.
An adjunct to this mutual admiration society and echo chamber that serves as a means of denying objective reality, comes a mindset of conformity. Those who make grandiose claim to being "free" to express themselves in the medium of theatrics are, in the most real sense, prisoners of a very stratified and unforgiving ideological prison. The person who takes up acting as a means of denying the reality of their pitiful self in desperate need of affirmation and affection is surrounded by others in very much the same boat. By a convention which does need to be spoken, this compels the RGA to simply parrot the opinions, ideas, shibboleths, tribal wisdom, and complete bullshit of others.
To refuse to do so is to lose the "admiration" (itself phony, considering it is professed by professional phonies) of The Group, to be ostracized, to be exiled, and there can be nothing more traumatic for someone who desperately craves attention to the point where they only way they can get it is to take up a profession based upon, marinated in, immersed in, wrapped in, packed in The Lie.
To leave the reservation, to prick pins in The Lie, is to be excommunicated, and to be left with nothing but time on one's hands to dwell upon the one thing you took up acting to avoid admitting:
You're just not that interesting a person, and no one really likes you. You should probably overdose as soon as possible.
And I don't say that to be mean. I say it because that was most likely your fate, anyway, had you not discovered your talent for bullshit.
Which leads to another observation:
Having discovered a talent for bullshit, you did not choose a career that might have made that talent actually matter to the lives of the people who's love you court.
You didn't enter politics, where a talent for bullshit is certainly useful
You didn't practice Law, where a talent for bullshit is a pre-requisite.
You didn't enter the clergy, where a talent for bullshit is the organization's entire raison d'etre.
For even if politicians are bullshit artists, they sometimes manage to do something good, if only by accident.
For even if a lawyer is a lying piece of shit, they sometimes serve the needs of justice.
For even if your parish priests is a boy-raping, collection-plate-stealing, hypocrite, some people manage to find comfort in the Jesus Fairytale.
So, you aren't even using your talent for bullshit to it's fullest potential. On the scale of Most Effective Bullshitters, you're near the bottom of the pile, somewhere among "Civil Rights"-advocating-"Reverends", Used Car Salesman, Feminist Professor, and Diplomat.
Which brings us to one Robert DeNiro.
Before continuing, I want to say that I couldn't really care less that Mr. DeNiro stood up in front of a friendly audience (or at least partaking of the go-along-to-get-along bullshit attitude in another act of bullshit) and yelled "Fuck Trump!". I make this statement on the basis that whatever his political leanings, whatever his personal opinions, whatever the perceived needs of his profession of bullshit require, Bobby had the right to say it.
My issues with the stunt are simply these:
1. It took no moral or physical courage to say this. DeNiro was in no danger, post-expletive, of being physically assaulted by anyone in that room, or challenged intellectually (no, truly, that could never happen in a room full of null intellects), and the Press, both Hollywood and Mainstream, would applaud him for it. He knew this beforehand; it was a no-risk proposition, and he just did his part to keep the Bubble of Bullshit in Show Business floating, for which, no doubt, he will continue to be praised by other moral and physical cowards with limited intellects for generations to come.
I can promise you, Mr. DeNiro would not have the courage to say that on, say, a factory floor in Ohio, a military base, outside of a pro-Trump rally, or without a coterie of personal security guards.
My, how fucking brave...
2. The sheer banality of the phrase "Fuck Trump!". The Overlord is not a big fan of Donald Trump, because Trump, in many ways, is cut from the same cloth as DeNiro -- he owes his popularity and public stature, in no small part, to acting...excuse me, I meant "Bullshitting" -- but finds the power of the phrase to be somewhat lacking (even if I disagree with the sentiment).
It is obviously not uttered with any sort of intellectual force; DeNiro makes no case for why we should "Fuck Trump!", why we should want to, nor does he explain what he means. It is a simple expression of emotion (stock in trade of the RGA), and a negative one, at that. In this case, a shout of "Fuck Trump!" which is dripping with butthurt, raw emotion, and devoid of context, suffices for that audience because he's dealing with other emotional wrecks who are themselves butthurt, given to fits of raw emotion, and who don't care about context, because that would mean having to think.
As we've established, RGA's try desperately to AVOID thinking, because once the process starts, it ends in the same place ("I'm really a loser, I should go kill myself"). I'll even bet that DeNiro didn't even come up with the line, himself; someone else wrote it and he just repeated it, like the RGA always does. In which case, they just put a monkey in a tuxedo and sent him out to express the emotions that couldn't even be enunciated by the person who originally felt them!
3. DeNiro did himself, and his friends, no favors. Judging from the reactions on the internet, where REAL people who don't live in a fantasy world of Let's Pretend live, he's gotten himself a lot of trouble: boycotts of his films, restaurants and play are being organized (which, in my view, never benefit anyone, and hurt more people); there seems to be an upswing in Pro-Trump sympathy which will have effects at the ballot box; and he basically just confirmed what a growing number of Americans were belatedly understanding, already, that the Left and the institutions that coalesce around it really hate the "regular folks" who make their livings possible.
These people routinely ask themselves "Why Trump?" and never look to their own utterances or actions as pre-cursors to the Rise of Trump.
Again, because this would require a self-awareness and need for self-reflection that would lead the attention-seeking mental defective to realize that he's a useless pimple on humanity's ass, that no one would really like without the ability to bullshit, and lead him to a date with a bedsheet and a chandelier.
4. No one cares what Robert DeNiro thinks about politics. For that matter, no one cares what Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansen, (insert name of favorite bullshitter here) does, because if they did, then their (largely constructed from protective bullshit) worldview would predominate...and it doesn't. People don't adore you because you're a political scientist; they don't want to emulate you because they believe you're an intelligent, thoughtful person; they don't even buy your products because they have any sort of affinity to you; they just want to be entertained.
If you doubt this, then have the courage to run for office yourself...and lose. Cynthia Nixon just learned that lesson here in New York. One wonders how long it'll be before the front page of the New York Post screams "Suicide in the City: former TV star sticks her head in an oven after failing at politics"?
Mr. DeNiro did nothing productive. He did nothing conducive to the advance of his own political ideology (assuming he's smart enough to have one). He did nothing to raise the quality of public debate on important issues.
He merely advertised his own fucktard on national television in the full expectation that people would love him for it.
Because deep down, Robert DeNiro knows that no one really loves him, and that, worst of all, he doesn't even love himself. It's the self-hatred and the inability to deal with this factor makes him a RGA, and which drives the applause of people very much like him.
When it comes to politics, your average RGA knows less about the subject than your dog knows about aerodynamics. He knows less about the ideology he espouses than your canary knows about particle physics. He knows so little that he can't find a way to express how little he knows except to shout "Fuck Trump!" in a "safe space".
To paraphrase Laura Ingram, "Shut up and Act".
Otherwise, you're of no value to anyone.
Enjoy this award, Mr. DeNiro; place it on your mantelpiece next to your Oscars, and whenever you look at it, just remember that of all the awards you've won in your lifetime, this may be the only one you've actually deserved.