Program Note: Tonight, filmmaker John Waters joins us on AC360º at 10 P.M. ET to discuss his friendship with Leslie Van Houten, a former member of the Manson's Family for our week-long special on the Manson murders. Below are excerpts from his book Crackpot.
Editors Note: Excerpted from Crackpot, by John Waters. Copyright © 1983, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 by John Waters. Excerpted with permission by Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
I’m sick of celebrities. You know who imean. I can’t even bear to say their names out loud. Read my lips: the one who shaved her armpits and got married under a helicopter attack. Or the one who appeared nude in playgirl magazine and didn’t cause a stink because he was a man and had the biggest screen hit of the year. Or the singer with the fright wig and the comeback, who was much more fun in the old days when she had a mustache and processed hair, wore ratty fur coats, and sang “Don’t Play Me cheap.” Or the other old one who was a hunk manager-husband and wants more money to continue on that nighttime soap opera. Or even the little guy –the one with ants in his pants and too many bodyguards who insulted Liz Taylor. The list goes on and on. You know who they are – overexposed, almost generic faces who have become as predictable as winter’s first set of chapped lips.
There’s just not enough celebrities to go around. After they’ve made it to the top, we all know it’s downhill from the on. Why bother rooting for them any longer? Look what happened to poor Michael Jackson – no self-respecting thirteen year old would be caught dead wearing one glove these days. Once you’ve become hard news (especially if you make the cover of Time or Newsweek), who cares? You’re no longer delightful to anyone. We must be creative and make up our own celebrities, elevating the obscurely fabulous and turning them into household words in our communities.
If you just pay attention to your own backyard, you’d realize that scandal is everywhere. If one of your parents is an alcoholic – well, isn’t that as exciting as reading about Liza Minnelli? Start spreading the news to all your friends and watch your profile rise in the neighborhood. Is your thirteen year-old sister an unwed mother? Cheer up, so is Farrah Fawcett, and she doesn’t care. Hang a sign on the front of your house pposting the number of days left until the birth and update it daily. You watch – people who barely spoke to you before willb e falling all over themselves to take her to the hospital.
Nobody has a boring life when you get down to it. Isnt’ your own existence much more interesting than anyone else’s? look in the mirror and see yourself in a whole different light. It will all happen to you eventually: divorce, complicated operations, addictions of one sort or another, even death. It’s lonely at the bottom as well as the top. You’re a big celebrity, and you never even realized it. Go tell somebody. Quickly.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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