August 4th, 2009
07:01 PM ET

Excerpts: Crackpot by John Waters

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.

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Page 157

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.

Page 162

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.

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Barb

    John Waters, I'm a fan! xoxoxo

    August 5, 2009 at 8:07 am |
  2. Nichole Deweese

    John Waters is just as twisted as the actual killers if he thinks he can get van houten off.It's not fasinating to tell everyone your friends with this maniac,it really makes you look bad.Anyone that could do something so horrible and hurt so many people,should die.Those women didn't have any sympathy for their victims when they were begging for their lives.Why in the world should we have any sympathy for them.Thank you

    August 4, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  3. Jennifer- CA

    Oh wow, yeah my life is pretty outrageous...

    August 4, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  4. Teresa,OH

    I'm either too old or way out of touch because I have no idea who Mr. Waters is even talking about in this article. I'm thinking that's a good thing? However, it did make me want to read the book to find out who he is talking about.

    Ya, the only difference in celebrities and the other 7 billions of us people who are the stars of our own miserable lives is a pretty hefty paycheck and adoration from strangers.

    Is Mr. Waters a celebrity? ; )

    August 4, 2009 at 9:42 pm |
  5. Julia

    I LOVE John Waters...I think HE should be the man to direct Johnny Depp, should he actually play Carol Channing in the biopic he (Johnny) wants to star in–as Carol.

    Suggest it to Mr. Waters?

    Oh, Andy. We love you.

    August 4, 2009 at 8:51 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    Seems like a tongue in cheek jibe at the US for its love of celebrities – that's ok; I think our fascination is somewhat simple minded myself. This celebrity though is a name not to forget because of what made her a celebrity all those years ago anyway – the willful and full cooperation of her in the Manson murders. Not many people are at least recognizable by name for that – she will go to her grave with no fanfare and no loved one to mourn her. That to me makes her meanderings on celebrities so cheap and hollow. her written thoughts on celebrities are altogether as meaningless as she is now.

    August 4, 2009 at 8:39 pm |
  7. Dulcie - Denver

    My brother probably framed it best when he adopted "I am my own hero" while he was raising his two young sons on his own. I adopted it as well and believe me, life is never boring.

    Getting over-invested in celebrities will never bring happiness. I've met a number of women who obsess over who spent how much on clothes, jewelry, etc. I don't care and I've never cared. I don't live in that world and try to make the best of the one I'm living in.

    August 4, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  8. Carol B. in MD

    Baltimore and the surrounding burbs produced campy auteurs Waters & the deceased "Divine," who many know created the original Hairspray movie. It would be interesting to hear about that or other local legends like Poe. However, what CAN Waters say that might change anyones mind about L.V.H., Manson or his followers, who went on a murder spree. How many would be in favor of a get out of jail card? In most cases, murder is a deal breaker.

    August 4, 2009 at 7:47 pm |