All too aware that his every move is being watched by omniscient forces connected by a vast digital network—as in the heart-pounding action movie we’ve just created, called Eagle Guy—Shia LaBeouf has declared his retreat from all “public life,” the canvas from which Shia LaBeouf traces his every inspiration. The announcement comes not long after LaBeouf’s original uncredited appropriation of Daniel Clowes’ work, and his subsequently copied-and-pasted apologies, exposed a lengthy, pathological pattern of plagiarism that some saw as a brilliantly Dadaist commentary on the nature of intellectual property in the 21st century, while some others were not Shia LaBeouf. It also comes a mere 48 hours after attorneys for Clowes sent LaBeouf a cease and desist, and approximately 576 hours since news of Shia LaBeouf retiring would be met with an indifferent shrug, rather than relief tinged by the suspicion that it’s all just another tedious act of his ongoing “Man Of A Thousand Stolen Voices” show.
“In light of the recent attacks against my artistic integrity, I am retiring from all public life,” LaBeouf wrote, thus plagiarizing the pretentious, self-aggrandizing caricature of Shia LaBeouf everyone has in their heads now. “My love goes out to those who have supported me,” he added to idiots, before concluding, “#stopcreating”—either LaBeouf’s hash-tagged manifesto for a brave new era of art, or a desperate plea akin to an alcoholic asking his friends to stop drinking around him. Because after all, seeing someone else’s frosty, refreshing creation only awakens Shia LaBeouf’s uncontrollable urge to get it inside him, guzzling your creation all night long until he just ends up on the floor again, barfing it up verbatim.
Whether LaBeouf’s pronouncement is real remains a question—because, like, what is “real,” you see, particularly in this age of fluid authorship, when the imposition of “reality” is just a fascistic construct of the collective will, and also every instance of annoying, trollish behavior can be retroactively contextualized as “performance art” if you throw enough cribbed Debord and Derrida at it? For whatever it’s worth, it’s not explicitly plagiarized: Though it mirrors similar declarations made by everyone from Greta Garbo to J.D. Salinger to Justin Bieber, it’s not, so far as we can tell, an exact copy.
So maybe it’s possible LaBeouf is signaling that he’s serious by using his own words for once. It’s also equally possible that “retiring from public life” means Shia LaBeouf intends to take the now-inevitable step of uploading his digital consciousness into the Internet, leaving behind this flesh-bound, copyright-imprisoned realm to embrace his new form as a series of insufferable social media pranks, flowing freely throughout the system. Hail to the coming of the Shia LaBeouf singularity! Or, in his case, the duality.