TODAY IN EXISTENTIAL BUFFOONERY
Shia Labeouf recently left a Broadway production of Orphans over “creative differences” (the producers’ words), with co-star Alec Baldwin. Which wouldn’t be particularly newsworthy in itself, except that The Beef himself posted a bunch of inside-baseball emails between himself and the director, himself and Alec Baldwin, and himself and actor Tom Sturridge on his Twitter account, detailing just what went wrong.
Apparently, it was an “incompatibility” between LaBeouf and Baldwin that led to the departure. Now, I hesitate to paint Shia Labeouf with the “existential buffoon” label – a phenomenon we’re obviously quite fond of here – because having a personality that tends towards sensitive, overwrought, and dramatic is basically what makes actors good at their jobs. Still, I don’t what else to call it when a guy sends an apology email and prefaces it by quoting liberally from an Esquire essay called “How to Be a Man.”
Here’s Shia’s email to 72-year-old Orphans director Daniel Sullivan (which, again, was posted by Shia himself):
My dad was a drug dealer. He was a sh-t human. But he was a man. He taught me how to be a man. What I know of men, Alec is-
A man is good at his job. Not his work, not his avocation, not his hobby. Not his career. His job.
A man can look you up and down and figure some things out. Before you say a word, he makes you. From your suitcase, from your watch, from your posture. A man infers.
A man owns up. That’s why Mark McGwire is not a man. A man grasps his mistakes. He lays claim to who he is, and what he was, whether he likes them or not.
Some mistakes, though, he lets pass if no one notices. Like dropping the steak in the dirt.
He does not rely on rationalizations or explanations. He doesn’t winnow, winnow, winnow until truths can be humbly categorized, or intellectualized, until behavior can be written off with an explanation.
A man knows his tools and how to use them – just the ones he needs. Knows which saw is for what, how to find the stud.
A man does not know everything. He doesn’t try. He likes what other men know.
A man can tell you he was wrong. That he did wrong. That he planned to.
He can tell you when he is lost. He can apologize, even if sometimes it’s just to put an end to the bickering.
Alec, I’m sorry for my part of a dis-agreeable situation. – Shia. [transcription via Jezebel]
“Look, my dad may have been a piece of shit drug dealer, but at least he taught me that real men eat dirt steaks, unlike that pussy Mark McGwire.”
I’m not sure if it speaks better or worse of Shia that he stole the dumbest parts of that email from a printed pep rally for dipshit finance guys published in 2009 in Esquire. At least he didn’t write them himself? But he still thought they were worth repeating? Here’s the original:
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