Thursday, September 23, 2010

"Really though, at this point, who's to say what's real anymore?"

Last year the actor Joachin Phoenix famously appeared on David Letterman's show, and in other public events, looking completely fucked up and saying he was quitting acting. Well guess what -- it was all a hoax or, as they're calling it, performance art, in service of a mockumentary called I'm Still Here.

In this post on Mediaite, about how Phoenix went back on Letterman's show and got a "scolding" from the host, a despairing blogger asks (emphasis mine):
Letterman took Phoenix to task for tricking him (he made the actor admit that he [Letterman] hadn’t been in on the joke or scripted) as well as using most of the footage in the film without paying The Late Show a licensing fee. He even (jokingly?) told Phoenix that he owed him $1 million. When Phoenix, playing along, asked if they could discuss it in private, Letterman took a hard swipe saying they could go to one of I'm Still Here's screenings.

Really though, at this point, who's to say what's real anymore? Maybe Letterman wasn't mad and this was all a hoax.
Such are the dangers of piling air quotes upon sarcasm upon satire upon irony. We're now approaching Andy Kaufmann territory, where a performer constantly spoofs and tricks his friends and family along with his fans so many times that even those closest to him don't know what to believe. You know, if I were going to venture into those rarified levels of hoax, I think I'd set up a secret website for my closest friends and family, where I'd promise to post the real truth, at pain of amputation of my privates. (Of course, if you're actually dying, like Kaufmann was, I guess at some point you might actually go so far as to risk that penalty.)

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