You read that right. Pied Piper Pitt actually did invite Kevin Spacey quite urgently over to his apartment. Actually this story began two weeks ago as you can see in this Pitt THREAD when Kevin Spacey walked into Bukowski's and in the midst of a Pitt lecture about he wasn't awed by celebrity, he engaged in celebrity worship of the most blatant sort. In the second ENCOUNTER with Spacey in the same bar, Pitt dispensed with whatever fictitious non-chalance he pretended to have the first time and BEGGED Spacey to visit his simple abode. So let us now watch Pied Piper Pitt invite Kevin Spacey to his Trust Fund Pad in Bolshevik Red while the commentary of your humble correspondent, wondering if Pitt extended the same invite to George Michael as well, is in the [brackets]:
So I was drinking a beer with Keyser Soze tonight...(yeah, seriously)
[This is the first of the two celebrity worship threads posted by Pied Piper Pitt.]
I've been beat tired all day, and had to drag myself along through a seven-hour blizzard of errands, driving, waiting, errands, driving, waiting, lather, rinse, repeat. I finally got home around 7pm, planning to do little more than sprawl on the couch and watch something vapid on the tube.
[But then you felt Bukowski's calling.]
But in a space of about 45 minutes, I got two phone calls, both bearing very good news from and for two very good friends. My batteries had a little charge left thanks to that, so I decided to head down to my bar for a mug and a few pages of the Lincoln biography I'm reading.
[ANY excuse to go to Bukowski's. Global Warming about to end the world? Must go to Bukowski's to go out in style. Nothing at all happening? Must go to Bukowski's to fight the boredom. No matter what the mood, Bukowski's is the answer for everything Pitt.]
The place was Monday-night dead, just the bouncer and the bartender dealing with maybe three customers besides me. Perfect. Ipswich Ale in the mug, and the chapter about Lincoln's early attempts to deal with Douglas open before me.
[Was that Ty the Bouncer who so willingly plays the clueless Lenny to your oh-so-wise George?]
A little while passed, and then the door opened. A clot of maybe seven people come in, well dressed folks who pretty clearly were fairly far into their cups. The poured into the stools maybe ten feet from me. One of them, a guy wearing a simple hat and brown coat, sits by the tap racks and turns his face towards me while talking to his friend.
[Love is a Many Slendored Thing,
It Happens Each and Every Spring!]
I looked. Looked again. Third time. Damned if that isn't Kevin Spacey, I thought.
[And Will's heart went Pitter Patter.]
It was. I guess he's making a movie in town, and he just happened to stagger (pretty much literally, homeboy was tight) into my wee little bar beneath the parking garage.
[Come Hither my Kevin and stagger into my wee little bar.]
Keyser f*ckin' Soze. Right there.
[GASP! A real celeb right here in my beloved Bukowski's! Heart be still!!!]
Now, I'm the place where celebrity worship goes to die, for the most part. Meeting Muhammad Ali when I was a kid, and meeting Arthur Schlesinger a few years ago, stand waaaay out among a whole pile of actors, politicians and randomly famous folks I've come across.
[Pitt now goes to very unconvincing pains to convince us that he doesn't worship celebrity while drooling over Kevin Spacey.]
Spacey doesn't rate with Ali or Schlesinger, of course, but I have to admit being more than a little bug-eyed as I watched him wrestle with a glass of Duvel. 'American Beauty' had a huge impact on me, something movies usually don't do, and 'The Usual Suspects' is in the pantheon of all-time amazing films.
[After that momentary resistance that was all pretend, Pitt falls head over heels ga-ga in his celeb worship of Spacey.]
And yeah, here was Keyser f*ckin' Soze.
[WOO HOO! I have sighted a real HONEST TO GOD CELEB!!!]
So I did the total cheese move, of course. I walked over, tapped his shoulder, welcomed him to the bar, told him I really admired his work, and toasted him. He smiled somewhat blearily but with genuine friendliness, toasted back, we drank, I said goodnight, and shuffled back to my stool. About 20 minutes later, he and the group reeled off into the night.
[So I did a totally cheesey move, of course. I walked over and and...TOUCHED HIM!!! OMG he SMILED AT ME!!! And then he walked out of my life forever...almost.]
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. Well, he does exist, because I tipped a beer with him in my bar tonight. Keyser f*ckin' Soze.
[ME! Little ME!!! And Kevin Spacey actually breathed on ME!!! OMG, I'm gonna faint!]
Funny aside: the doorman recognized Spacey immediately when he and his crew first rolled up to the door, and likewise recognized that they were all fairly sauced. He told me later that he really wanted to tell Spacey he was too drunk to come in.
[If you're quoting Ty the Bouncer, why don't you give us half a book of EXACT quotes from him like you did last year?]
"Really?" I asked.
[How dare you not grovel in his presence!]
F*ck yeah," he replied. "I'd get to tell people I bounced Keyser f*ckin' Soze."
[And so ends Part I of Pitt's celeb worship story. Now on to PART II in which Pitt actually hits on Kevin Spacey...]
The Powers That Be
[Fated that I should encounter Kevin Spacey again.]
There were maybe three of us at the bar a couple of Tuesdays ago, one of those quiet past-midnight midweek nights when most people are safely indoors, when the wind blowing around the buildings seemed loud because the sidewalks were so silent, and one last winter snowstorm made even the tire buzz of the cabs on Boylston Street sound like it was coming from miles away. This low whisper of a Tuesday night found me and two regulars trying to keep the bored bartenders from lighting themselves on fire just so they'd have something to do besides stare at us over the taps.
[This is Pied Piper Pitt desperately trying to do a Raymond Chandler impression. I can even cite the Chandler story that Pitt is pathetically trying to emulate, Red Wind. Sorry, Pitt, but your Chandler wannabee impression comes off as HILARIOUS in its desperation to sound like him.]
The door blew open suddenly and a swarm of seven loud boozers, nicely tarnished at the end of what had pretty clearly been a long night, came boiling in. Six of them were doing everything they could to make sure we knew they were there, but the seventh fellow in the brown scally cap held the group's center in smiling silence, like an atom at the core of boisterously inebriated electrons. He sat down four stools away from me, ordered a beer, and proceeded to go to work on it like a military school freshman eating dinner in the cafeteria, all right angles and serious business.
[Six loud boozers and in the middle of them, my heart palpitations were set off by the one quiet one who is the light of my life. PITTER! PATTER!]
I looked over the group before really focusing on the fellow in the cap. And then looked again, and then looked a third time, staring long and hard to make sure I wasn't imagining things. I wasn't. Here, at my bar and almost within arm's reach, was actor Kevin Spacey, who is apparently in town making a movie about those MIT guys who beat Vegas. Here was Lester Burnham, here was John Doe by choice, here was one of the few screen performers who can make me forget about my overarching disdain for celebrity worship and transform me into a starstruck goober.
[I looked over the group before really focusing on the fellow in the cap. And then looked again, and then looked a third time, staring long and hard into his zipper in throes of hypnotic rapture. Here, at my bar and almost within arm's reach was my beloved, who is apparently in town making a movie. I forgot my overarching disdain for celebrity worship and was transformed into a starstruck Spacey groupie.]
Here was Keyser freakin' Soze getting his drink on ten feet away from me, 'Verbal' Kint from "The Usual Suspects," the man with the plan, one cigarette lighter (gold), one watch (gold), the man who asked the question: how do you shoot the Devil in the back? What if you miss?
[TAKE ME! I'M YOURS!!!]
It was a treat. He walked in again the following Saturday, accompanied by an even larger crew, and my friends and I came within an eyelash of convincing him to swing by my apartment for a few after-hours Newcastles. Our sales pitch was foiled by his entourage, however, who were apparently too impressed with themselves to stoop to such meager entertainment opportunities and wound up talking him out of the trip. They seemed a little like pilot fish over-enjoying the ego rush that comes with swimming alongside a shark, but no matter. Spacey, for the record, struck me as a perfectly nice, unassuming guy during our relatively brief interactions.
[This time I did't even try to play coy. I invited him over my apartment for some really fruity cocktails. Alas it was not to be. Even he was revolted with the sickly fishbelly white pallor covering my entire body.]
The rest of that week had all the regulars cracking off Soze jokes with a will, once word got out that he had passed through our insular little clubhouse. Brendan the doorman, as usual, deployed the best line of all. "I could tell he was pretty loaded when he first showed up," said Brendan, "and I really wanted to tell him he was too drunk to come inside." The rest of us, already sensing this joke's payoff looming over the horizon, asked him why he'd bounce Kevin Spacey. "Are you kidding?" he replied. "I wanted to do it so I could tell all my friends I bounced Keyser freakin' Soze."
[Brendan? What happened to Ty? Come to think of it what happened to any WOMEN in Bukowski's. In all of Pitt's mentions of Bukowski's I never hear about any WOMEN there (with the exception of Cinday Sheehan).]
The random appearance of this actor I greatly admire ended up, some days later, dovetailing into the crushing writer's block I've been wrestling with since February. A shroud of cynical semi-paralysis had been wrapping itself around me every time I even thought about dealing with my keyboard, a what's-the-point fatalism I haven't had to cope with for years. Not being able to write is a lot like not being able to sleep; my mind couldn't take out the garbage, and the whole house started to stink.
[You've had writer's block since February? Hmmm... That dovetails with the warning given in the DUmmie FUnnies for Temporary Sockpuppet to STFU about Scooter Libby or else. Okay, just thinking out loud here.]
I thought about Keyzer Soze, a bad guy for the ages, the Man behind the Man behind the Man whose power is absolute because he is invisible, whose very name inspires the kind of awed terror that makes the rabbit in the road freeze in the harsh glare of onrushing headlights. It's a neat little fiction, imagining an arch-fiend far more frightening than Darth Vader simply because he looks like everyone else, but I realized, after having some sport with Spacey's visit, that the truth of the deal is truly insidious.
[Too late, Will. You can try all you want but Kevin Spacey is still not going home with you.]
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled, said Spacey in that film, was convincing the world He didn't exist. He's real, though, that all-powerful Devil, real as rivets, and my cynical writer's block was inspired by the fact that devising an effective plan to defeat him, or finding powerful politicians willing to defy him, or even doing something simple like writing about it all, starts to feel like the very definition of "a bridge too far" in these dim and degraded days.
[Pitt is thinking that if he just continues to drool over Kevin Spacey online, maybe that will change his mind about visiting his apartment.]
The short version of the challenge: our American socio-economic system has been wired to serve a small cadre of invisible Kayser Soze's, whose awesome power and snug insulation was founded and augmented by three distinct moments in our history. When corporations were given Fourteenth Amendment rights through Supreme Court cases like Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward and Santa Clara v. Southern Pacific Railroad; when those newly-minted and vastly wealthy corporate "persons" were allowed to buy and sell all our politicians after the Supreme Court's decision in Buckley v. Valeo; and most especially when Harry Truman's Doctrine put the American economy onto a permanent wartime economic footing, the deal pretty much went down.
[SHEESH! What happened to that blessed writer's block you claimed to have? All I see here are a bunch of meaningless words with all thought and reasoning blocked out.]
It's that last one that really rings the bells, the one that compelled President Eisenhower to deliver perhaps the most ridiculous farewell speech in American history. Can you imagine a post-Vietnam president having the stones to say things like, "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex; the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist" on national television? One might as well wait for George W. Bush to avoid snickering like a fart-laying teenager in church whenever he talks about American soldiers dying in Iraq. It won't happen.
[Pitt segues from his Spacey drool to hallucinating about Eisenhower's farewell speech. This is starting to remind me of those exotic birds that do bizarre dances to attract a mate. Sorry, Will, but Kevin is NOT impressed.]
Eisenhower said all that for good reason. An American economy nailed to a permanent wartime footing means the preparation for and fighting of wars is as vital to our economic health as consumer confidence, housing sales and the Dow Jones. Having war stand as a vital component of the economy means a river - to the tune of trillions, mind you - of taxpayer dollars has to be funneled into the coffers of those, simply put, who make the bullets and control the oil. One cannot fight a war without bullets and petroleum, both of which cost exactly as much as can be charged, and the ones getting paid to deliver these vital economic interests are both rich beyond the dreams of avarice and powerful beyond all measure.
[YAWN! Only Pitt can go immediately from fawning celeb worship to boring us to death with meaningless pontifications about the economy. Hey Will, why don't you now impress Kevin with your Third American Empire thesis and how it all started at the 1980 Winter Olympics?]
Politics and politicians, therefore, are mostly windowdressing. They come and go, they write the rules that redirect that river of cash because they've been bought, while all the Soze's remain fixed, fed, permanent, silent and strong. We can yell about fired US Attorneys, howl about an Iraq withdrawal plan from the House that has no chance of effecting any real withdrawal, and pretend that protests in the shadow of the Capitol dome actually make a real difference in the broader scheme. They do, but they don't. Understand that whenever you hear about the "incompetence" of the Bush administration, about "failure" and "fraud," you're also hearing the high ring of a cash register bell.
[Okay, this rant about nothing that makes sense might attract George Michael to your personal Port-a-Potty but it is definitely not going to bring Kevin Spacey to your apartment.]
Someone is always, always, always getting paid for every so-called "mistake" that has been made, and those enjoying that largesse are the most important constituency in American politics. Their ability to put a lot of zeroes on a campaign contribution check guarantees that, no matter what else happens, the bombs and bullets and providers of same will always be taken care of, because it's in our economic interests to do so, don'tcha know.
[ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.... Keyser Snoozes as Pitt Pontificates.]
These are the real Keyser Soze's, and defeating them involves deconstructing a latticework of wink-and-nod politics where everyone is bought and thus no one is to blame, where the system itself is hard-wired to serve they guys who can ink those zeroes. Everyone knows something has gone wrong, everyone is riled up about it, but almost no one comes to the connection between these "mistakes" and the taxes they'll dutifully hand over next month. Someone is always getting paid, and you may as well call that someone Keyser, because he is running your world from soup to nuts and you'll never, ever see him.
[This is Pitt's version of whispering sweet nothings into Spacey's ear.]
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world He didn't exist. The other great trick He pulled was making it almost entirely impossible to untangle His influence. Thanks, Kevin. I'll see you at the bar.
[But not in your apartment although I hear Richard Simmons is available.]