clap clap blog: we have moved

Monday, November 17, 2003
QV points us to some articles on Vincent Gallo.

My attitude towards Gallo has been, basically, to steer clear: kind of like when you see a guy stumbling onto a subway train, looking for a fight, you just try and stick to the corners while the almost-as-drunk guy starts putting his finger in his chest, and while the results are sometimes enjoyable to watch, I'd rather not get involved, thank you. So no Buffalo 66, no Brown Bunny, none of his albums or art projects or interviews or whatever.

Thing is, I get the joke. I totally do. Knowing your audience and saying things that members of that audience wouldn't normally say, while continuing to engage with said audience. Great. Fantastic. I get it. (The kids at Vice do, too, clearly. They really, really, really, really get it.) Eminem does it way better and more interestingly because he's managed to bring in not only people who disagree with him but people who agree, too, and then tweaking the expectations of both those groups, but that's OK. It doesn't mean he doesn't pull of the joke well.

But I just don't care. I've done that and I'm kind of beyond it. Pissing off liberals and indie-movie fans is like, well, like pissing off students: easy and kind of unfair and boring after a while. And kind of dishonorable, like an able-bodied man kicking a cripple, making it look like the able-bodied fellow is actually profoundly fucked up. But anyway, yeah, it's fun for a while, but to keep going? It's just weird.

For one thing, he doesn't let anyone in on the joke. It's just him, and you're not really even sure if it's a joke or not. But this is not the way to do it. I like the relentless self-aggrandizement thing, but Neal Pollack does it better, as does Jay-Z. I like other aspects of it, too, but they're just always done better by someone else. (Harlan Ellison, Terry Gilliam, etc., etc., etc.) Leaving almost everyone out of a joke makes it not-a-joke, and that's pretty unconscionable in my book.

The main thing is that you're only successfully pranking people for being sincere, and while on one hand some of these folks are hypocritically disparaging others for being sincere (Christians, conservatives, middle America, etc.), on the other hand I'm not sure how, um, mature it is. Making fun of someone for being liberal doesn't seem a whole lot more honorable than making fun of someone for liking Dungeons & Dragons or the Smiths.