Saturday, January 02, 2016


Though I can't often understand the virality of many Youtube sensations, this one is deserved.

It's quite possible you have no idea what I'm talking about. The world doesn't revolve around singular sensations anymore. Millions of people can be having water-cooler conversations about something, while the rest are blissfully oblivious. It makes you wonder why so many pundits are still complaining about the possibility of globalisation creating a monoculture.

For the uninitiated, a new Youtube video has hit on the elusive success of virality. It's a live version of the 2012 Rob Cantor song, 'Shia LaBeouf' which tells the fictional, spoken-word horror story of a survivor. The villain in the story is, hilariously, a homicidal, cannibal version of 'Hollywood superstar Shia LaBeouf'.

Well produced, and terribly funny, this is actually worth your time to watch. There's even a bizarre surprise ending:

The question with these kind of celebrity-driven anomalies, is always how much was the star themselves in on the joke. In this case, it's very clearly 100%.

Which begs the question. Why?

The song itself was written and released in 2012 by Mr Cantor. Now, suddenly, two years later it receives the epic, celebrity-endorsed treatment.

Why now?

Some are saying that Mr LaBeouf is trying to rebuild his reputation by parodying the extreme behaviour of his recent past. To show he can laugh at himself. After all, how many people, famous or not, can claim to have been arrested at a performance of the musical, 'Cabaret'?

Like Charlie Sheen before him, could this be a way to restore his credibility, his creative street cred, by endorsing a humorous lampooning of his past?

I don't buy it.

LaBeouf recently starred in 'Fury' with Brad Pitt, as well as reprising his lucrative role in the 'Transformers' movie franchise as recently as 2011. Maintaining enough career momentum to star in films doesn't seem to be an issue for him.

No, there is a larger issue of credibility that Mr LaBeouf appears to be trying to solve with 'Shia LaBeouf'.

His penchant for plagiarism.

Many people don't know, but LaBeouf was lambasted in the creative community at the end of last year for stealing ideas, scenes, and even dialogue for his acclaimed short film ''. The film screened for a year in many prestigious festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival during Critics Week, before LaBeouf was finally caught out.

The worst part is that LaBeouf stole exclusively from the graphic novella 'Justin M. Damiano', written in 2007 by respected comic artist and writer Daniel Clowes; of which LaBeouf hypocritically claims to be an enormous fan.

Not so much of a fan not to steal from Clowes, however.

The response from the creative community was, of course, white hot outrage. There is almost no greater treason amongst creatives than the stealing of ideas. Leeching from our own ranks is, rightly, forbidden

You can only imagine, then, in your wildest of imaginings, the response when one savvy journalist realised that LaBeouf's apology for plagiarism was ALSO plagiarised.

Yes, you heard me correctly. LaBeouf plagiarised his written apology. For plagiarism.

A part of me wonders if LaBeouf is clever enough to do something so outrageous as a commentary on creativity itself. Or is it simply, as another commentator put it, that Shia LaBeouf is '...just a fuc*ing as*hat?'

And this was the atmosphere in which LaBeouf made the recent decision to endorse Rob Cantor's two year-old song. His reputation as an artist had taken an almost irreparable beating. Still able to pursue acting, yes, but a pariah as a content creator.

An exposed ideas thief, desperate for a way to seem credible again within the creative community.

How hilariously ironic then, that the vehicle he chose to redeem himself, for feeding on his own people, was a song about him being a cannibal.

That's almost a story in itself.

Which is, truthfully, the saddest part of this whole cautionary tale.

The world is so beautifully rich and dense that it will gift you a story, if you are willing to listen.

And yet somehow, with all of his resources and access, Shia LaBeouf became a cannibal instead.

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