Monday, January 21, 2013

Is Alt Lit better than James Franco?



                James Franco is the wannabe of Alt Lit. Nobody can compare. Unlike Alt Lit though people seem to indulge James Franco in whatever he does. Jack of all trades, master of none, James Franco’s ambitions are out of control. Rumors that James Franco blogs anonymously on behalf of Alt Lit are flatter than two-day old seltzer water and have since been dispelled. With all of James Franco’s sultry good looks it can be hard to forget that he sucks. In spite of this inherent vice people continue to pay James Franco for his body of questionable work.

                Yahoo News, in keeping with their journalistic integrity, commissioned James Franco to write a poem. Later this year James Franco’s first collection of poetry entitled ‘Strongest of the Litter’ will be released by Graywolf Press. Obviously the title sticks as the rest of the rejected poems were too pathetic to be granted inclusion into Franco’s inaugural poetry chapbook. Already the advance praise for James Franco’s collection is busy being written. Blurbs such as ‘as attractive as this pile of money he sent with the galley copy’ ‘hope by saying this is great I can meet him’ and ‘the best thing he has done since Spider-man’ have been circulating around the internet. These falter in comparison to Franco’s latest work, a poem dedicated to the reelection of the President of the United States, Barack Obama. 

                 The poem is read in the shadows. This is probably because James Franco is trying to look mysterious even though everyone on the planet has seen him for his performances in the blockbuster franchise ‘Spider-man’. What is interesting is not what is said in the poem but what is left unsaid. Sure James Franco appears to write about everything and try to touch upon everything like an overreaching octopus but there are basic questions brought up by the poem. Oddly talent-related questions are not the ones which come to mind. 

                A lot of the poem relies on history. James Franco is well versed in history with his poem attempting to conjure up images of a grand past followed by his own charmed present. The future is explicitly left out of it. Barack Obama is mentioned in the poem as ‘He knew me from Spider-man’. In fact the beginning of James Franco’s 1,100 page autobiography starts out with a similar line, stating simply ‘Call me Spider-man’. What’s interesting is how Barack Obama failed to mention James Franco’s greatest accomplishment, that of ‘Freaks and Geeks’ an amazing show. James Franco played an underachieving loser just trying to get by. In some ways James Franco is living that character’s future by half-assing everything and failing to pick one thing and become good at it. 

                Perhaps at some point in the future James Franco will come together. All of his interests and intelligence show he can pull it together to create a big beautiful thing. Currently James Franco appears to take on too much without properly finishing anything. Sloths know to pick one thing and do it over and over again until it becomes marginally less embarrassing. James Franco must embrace his inner sloth or forever be reduced to the phrase ‘He knew me from Spider-man’. So yes, Alt Lit is better than James Franco.

10 comments:

  1. I believe in James Franco. Like, I really really do. He's like that pupil who's too hyperactive and deemed "problematic" by every teacher except that one great teacher who sees that spark in his eye - the only one who bothers to say something nice, or encouraging or smth. Idk. I feel like wanting to do something is one-third of the way there, actually doing it is like 50%, after that you've got that one longass final stretch to tread before you can, y'know, "arrive", or be good. Don't count him out before his time - if he wasn't an actor, would you see him differently? What other actors or famous peoples are trying interesting things á la Francomeister? Y'know idk x Fantini

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    1. If he was not an actor I think he would be perceived differently.

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    2. Me too...Which is why I don't really get where you were going (or where you went) with this. If he was one of 'us' he'd get nothing but appreciation and snaps and all that. It's not fantastic by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a start. He's reading, he's writing, he's doing things.

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    3. An overwhelming number of people find themselves with diverse interests and high intelligence but don't know what they want to do and end up doing nothing. I'm not counting them out, but I'm not going to praise them internationally just for having potential.
      As for the poetry thing, what student of the arts doesn't write poetry at some point? I respect him for looking into form and verse a little, unlike most, but if he wasn't James Franco and he didn't play Ginsburg in HOWL, no one would give a shit about this stuff.

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  2. I enjoyed your post though its light but deadly sarcasm gave me some angst — what if I'd fall out of favor with the mighty Beach Sloth? Or with Alt Lit as a whole? Not that I've ever been a favorite child of Mother Alt Lit though I'm fond of Father Frank. But I must focus—this is where "Obama in Asheville" already left its mark...I'd heard that James Franco (who I only knew as Spiderman's nasty sidekick, a kind of unpleasant vice president to the reluctant Spiderman with his great responsibility towards fixing the world one web at a time) was a writer, too, but I'd never read anything by him. As for this poem, I like it for what it is. I may be biased because the publisher of my first book is based in Asheville. Franco is a brand and he talks like a brand about other brands. He doesn't just live in the simulacrum, in Baudrillard's words, but he is chained to one of its pillars. When he's writing poems at least he's not out doing anything else, we know that. And though he picked a (political) brand to write about, he also got to some of the existential essentials on the paper…and his delivery as a verse-wielding villain in the shadows of a regular voter Joe's obscurity is not bad either. He even looks a little like me, perhaps like all of us, in a bad light, don't you think?

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  3. i have been waiting for someone to get this for so long!! his collaborations with Marina Abramovic just make me cringe, the 'overacting octopus' is the most perfect thing ever.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4vRPXvmIic & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_rk-LM_Q8k. i think what's the worst about it is that he takes himself so seriously, no one would care if he hadn't 'mastered' any of his trades, but you just know by any interview etc that he thinks he is a frickin renaissance man. anyway, this was v good Sloth

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  4. A video of a guy reading a book report off of a computer screen.

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    1. Very succinct. I feel a LONG poem coming on in response to this.

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    2. I am terribly underwhelmed.

      If I did not know better I would think this line from one of his poems is about flatulence, the trots and colon envy.

      “Then my father passed / And that was a big one. / And I saw that all the motions / Of his life were sucked into his hole.”

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  5. I am loving these comments by the way.

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