I was recently talking to a student about Cat Power. He mentioned a friend who pointed him to a recent appearance she made on a talk show where she exhibited erratic behavior. This reminded me of recent TV appearances by my latest celebrity crush, Aubrey Plaza. I could spend hours watching her on late night talk shows. The most magnetic quality in these appearances is the impression she gives of being disoriented. It’s wonderful…like a glitch in the celebrity machine. Another student suggested that this quality seems very true to the time and place in which we live. Perhaps. Or maybe it is a sense of what Nietzsche called untimeliness. It is not simply awkwardness….it is awkwardness raised to a transcendent state….a state that calls into question all the machinations surrounding it. Other candidates, Harmony Korine, occasionally Joaquin Phoenix, even James Franco (has anyone seen the ad for the UCLA extension school that he briefly appears in.?…very bloodshot eyes and seems to be beyond baked.) .. Classic examples : Andy Kauffman and Crispin Glover. Kind of feeling like it would be worthwhile to make a compilation of these bits…maybe also throw in PIL on American Bandstand, and certain press interviews with Lou Reed and Iggy Pop ( the one excerpted in a Mogwai song) oh, and of course several epic jags by Dylan in Don’t Look Back. More musicians….Kurt Cobain and Fiona Apple. The only strong desire I’ve ever felt for fame is connected to a desire to demonstrate that kind of antagonistic disorientation. To rub against the grain. To think out loud instead of being canned in my responses. Perhaps the greatest indication of thinking in public is to refuse the clever sound bite and fall on the rhetorical sword of getting conversationally lost. Certainly many of the examples above might be attributed to drug use or stress…but I’m convinced those moments can be entered into with sobriety and sheer will. Whatever the case, Aubrey seems to wear that disorientation well…that’s why she’s my heroine.