Shia LaBeouf needs to shut up

Shia LaBeouf

Shia LaBeouf

Look, I’m not even going to bother setting this up because we already know how it ends: Shia LaBeouf opened his dumb mouth and pretentious, stolen words came out of it. So let’s cut to his interview with Bleeding Cool, which makes James Franco look like a humble, down-to-Earth guy …

Richard Johnston: Tweeting with the voice of others. Is this art?

Shia LaBeouf: What does an artist do – they just point and say look at this.

No, that is absolutely not what artists do. That’s what lazy parodies do. Art is using skills honed through years of practice, combining it with unique points of view, and coming up with a new and interesting way to express common threads in the human experience. Saying “HEY, LOOK AT THIS THING!” isn’t creating. It’s not art. It’s just lazily identifying sh!t. Thankfully, Richard Johnston immediately calls him on it. Eventually, it devolves to the point where Shia starts stealing more words and then claims that authorship is a form of censorship designed to keep people from creating. And by “creating”, he means “stealing it and then pretending you made it”.

RJ: Do you believe art needs an audience? When they point and say “look at this” do they need to be speaking to anyone other than themselves?

SL: Of course – art is not about itself, but the attention we bring to it.
Art is a lie the makes us realize the truth. (UPDATE – Picasso)
In the 21st century there is NO personal language.
Just personal selection of language.
We are products of editing.
Not authorship.
Appropriation has been the most influential theme in art sense the 70s.
If you look at Warhol’s work and say ” oh well he didn’t paint that – its just silk screens ”
Your missing the point.
Our notion of genius- a romantic – isolated figure – is fucking outdated
An updated notion of genius would have to center around ones mastery of information
And it’s dissemination
It’s the 21st century, thug life
It wants to be fee.

RJ: Well, Warhol said art is what you can get away with. Gaugin went for “Art is either plagiarism or revolution”. Do you believe that opportunity is still valid, or is it all about plagiarism now?

As for “it wants to be fee” – is that a Freudian slip? Information may want to be free. But should the author be able to demand a fee?

SL: Authorship is censorship
Should God sue me if I paint a river?
Should we give people the death sentence for parking violations-
You’ll not only have less parking violations but less DRIVERS.


It’s pretty telling that the only time he ever sounds like he understands what he’s talking about is when he’s using other people’s understandings to try and validate his own shady behavior. And look, I get that there are a lot of ideas out there that have been come up with before, and that even when people come at those beliefs from new angles there’s going to be a certain level of unoriginality to them. That being said, there’s a difference between interpreting previously examined ideas using unique, personal experiences, and using other people’s work and claiming it as your own. There are new ideas to explore and new ways to approach them; just because you can’t come up with anything original, doesn’t mean no one else can. Don’t impose your own shortcomings on everyone else.

Oh, and here’s Shia LaBeouf using a skywriter to apologize to Daniel Clowes for stealing from him. Because everyone knows the point of apologizing is to make yourself feel good.

About JEREMY FEIST 5002 Articles
Jeremy Feist is an (ahem) entertainer from Toronto, Canada. He writes, acts, and performs on stage, and has been a writer for Popbytes for almost three years now. He lives in Toronto with his boyfriend, his incredibly dumb but cute puppy, and his immortal cat.