It was the LaBeoust of times, it was the LaWeourst of times, it was the age of borrowed wisdom, it was the age of tweeted foolishness, it was the epoch of belief that Shia LaBeouf would once again plagiarize the works of others and pass it off as his own, because he’s definitely that kind of guy, it was the epoch of incredulity that he would continue to be so blatant about it. But while we have already set forth our story—in this totally original and, dare we say, surprisingly moving introduction, which just sort of developed out of our own feelings about Daniel Clowes’ comic “inspiring” LaBeouf to just copy it word for word, then put his name on it—this tale of at least two shitty things has now expanded. Today BuzzFeed has dug up yet more evidence of LaBeouf’s life’s work (and, again, he didn’t specifically say it was his life). And today the theory that LaBeouf’s plagiarism is all some sort of sustained performance art now seems slightly more believable.
As Clowes is reportedly pursuing his legal options against LaBeouf, another comic writer, Josh Farkas, has now come forward to point out the similarities between some of the comic books LaBeouf has himself created and the works of other authors—similarities such as, again, excerpts that LaBeouf just straight-up copied. For instance, Farkas points to lines from one of Charles Bukoswki’s poems that appear unattributed in LaBeouf’s Let’s Fucking Party; there are also “lifted and massaged passages” from Benoît Duteurtre’s The Little Girl And The Cigarette that appear—very barely massaged—in LaBeouf’s Stale N Mate.
These, taken in context with the Clowes-“inspired” film and his Yahoo! Answers-“inspired” apology, his previous Esquire-“inspired” apology to Alec Baldwin, and even—as a helpful, yet anonymous commenter pointed out yesterday, the fact that LaBeouf’s lofty description of what a short film can do here was lifted from this website—it all suggests a sustained pattern of behavior, which LaBeouf possibly copied from an “asshat by design” pattern book.
But the question remains whether it’s all some sort of intentional trolling, and LaBeouf’s continued mea culpas on Twitter today definitely suggest, if not genuine deliberation, then at least a smirking self-awareness. As The Film Stage points out, LaBeouf has been issuing apologies that are, again, nearly word-for-word rehashes of famous apologies made by the likes of Tiger Woods, Robert McNamara, and Kanye West—all so blatant that, once more, he’s apparently begging to be caught.
And so, the mounting evidence continues to point to some sort of sustained, elaborate joke—the punchline of which is seemingly the idea that anyone would pay attention to Shia LaBeouf. (…Good one?) Or maybe it's a performance art parody that "plagiarizes" similar stunts by the likes of James Franco and Joaquin Phoenix. Or, maybe it’s all building to Shia LaBeouf’s hilarious reveal that he’s really just a mediocre talent with laughable pretensions. Also, that his real name is Stevie DaBeef.