Like a guilty young man consigned to dig himself into new holes day in and day out, over and over again, with no apparent reason or purpose—as in the original family adventure film we’ve just written, called Pits—Shia LaBeouf continues to shovel new layers of plagiarism accusations onto his ongoing problem, hoping that, as with so many performance artists, the repetition of obnoxious behavior will eventually seem intentionally choreographed. And as with so much performance art, everyone’s just silently waiting for it to stop so they can go to the bar.
Over the holiday break, LaBeouf plagiarized the Wizard Of Oz by hiring a skywriter to scrawl “I Am Sorry Daniel Clowes” over Hollywood, where, despite Clowes living in the Bay Area, it would be seen by those to whom it most mattered (i.e. Shia LaBeouf). The next day, LaBeouf engaged in an email back-and-forth with Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston, in which LaBeouf defended his uncredited appropriation of Clowes’ work with his by-now-standard mélange of undergrad semiotics studies and unattributed quotes, hailing from Marcel Duchamp, Lawrence Lessig, and even Steve Martin. “Authorship is censorship. Should God sue me if I paint a river?” he said in one of the interview’s few, as-yet-unsourced passages, and now you don’t have to read the rest of it.
Meanwhile, he’s also kept up a steady stream of Twitter debate with the likes of Patton Oswalt and Lena Dunham—primarily by finding their old tweets then reposting them as his own. This has once again proved LaBeouf’s overarching point that all ideas should be a free-flowing exchange between their originator and Shia LaBeouf, in case he needs to use them.
Indeed, it’s now gotten to the point where LaBeouf has to explicitly designate things he himself wrote: “We used to sit in a circle around a campfire and tell stories and share them and change them and own them together because they were ours. Now our stories are owned for profit. We buy corporate property and call it our culture, enriching others as we deplete ourselves,” wrote the actor, whose profits from a movie series based on a series of action figures enabled him to spend his days pursuing whatever creative ends he wanted—days he then spent trolling people on the Internet—and the success of which gave him, at a regrettably young age, the unfettered arrogance to try passing off his refusal to respect the work of others as some sort of artistic statement. “#Original,” he then added, lest anyone do the same to him.
Unfortunately, while God has yet to sue LaBeouf for painting this winding river of bullshit, Daniel Clowes just might: Lawyers for Clowes recently sent LaBeouf’s representation a cease-and-desist letter, prompted by LaBeouf’s mocking tweet of a storyboard for “my next short”—a film he calls “Daniel Boring… like Fassbinder meets half-baked Nabokov on Gilligan’s Island.” The storyboard—which LaBeouf tauntingly photographed on top of head shots of both Oswalt and Seth Rogen, for whatever reason—was an obvious, scene-for-scene copy of Clowes’ David Boring, right down to Clowes’ own description of his work. This prompted Clowes’ lawyers to proclaim it “another direct rip-off,” and demand that LaBeouf leave the artist alone.
“Your client is seriously out of control,” the letter reads. “He must stop his improper and outlandish conduct.” And so, in response, LaBeouf copied the letter to his Twitter feed, followed by a tweet of what appears to be a photo of a Xerox of a photo of the original tweet containing the storyboard—an endless mirror creating layers upon layers of reproduction, in what continues to pass for LaBeouf’s grand unifying statement on how he, and therefore everyone, has nothing to say. He will apparently continue making that statement until everyone really, truly gets it.
In a related story, Shia LaBeouf revealed this week that he sent pictures of his penis to Lars von Trier in order to secure his role in Nymphomaniac. It is the least dickish thing he has ever done.