003: Star-Fuckers

On this episode, Jesse makes the case that the third point of “The Poison Pyramid,” which should be readily designated for the dumpster, is the worship of the Celebrity. Matthew makes the case that this is just a shiny, distracting feather to something that rides upon a much larger, deeper and more worrisome creature.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Robert Rauschenberg, American Artist, Dies at 82 - Obituary by The New York Times

How a 94-Year-Old Genius May Save the Planet” - Newsweek:

“Lots of evidence pushes back against this ageism. One study found that twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as under 25. A 2011 study found that physicists make their greatest discoveries around age 48. If you saw the movie The Founder —which, apparently, nobody did—you might note that Ray Kroc was in his 50s when he got McDonald’s going.”

David Shield's Remote: Reflections on Life in the Shadow of Celebrity

Ty Burr's Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame

The Strange Power Of Celebrity - Tom Ashbrook's On Point Featuring Ty Burr

Thomas Schatz’s The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era

Paul McDonald’s Star System: Hollywood’s Production of Popular Identities

“Clown Genius” - Scott Adam’s Blog

"How Dilbert’s Scott Adams Got Hypnotized by Trump" - BloombergBusinessweek

“Let Fran Lebowitz Sooth All Your Election-Related Worries” - Vanity Fair: He’s a poor person’s idea of a rich person. They see him. They think, ‘If I were rich, I’d have a fabulous tie like that. Why are my ties not made of 400 acres of polyester?’ All that stuff he shows you in his house—the gold faucets—if you won the lottery, that’s what you’d buy.”

On Matt’s Comments About How “Trump Rick-Rolled the Nation,” Here Is How Rick Astley Got Rick-Rolled Himself:

“Rick Astley on the First Time He Was Rick-Rolled: "I Kept Thinking, 'What Is This Idiot Doing?'" - People Magazine

Tim Heidecker with Adam Curtis and How Trump Operates as a Click-Monster

Jake Halperin Commentary on NPR: Tom and Katie, Zeus and Hera:

“The ancient Greek gods actually had a lot in common with our modern-day Hollywood celebrities. Both sets of characters are seemingly perfect, ageless, beautiful, powerful uberbeings who jet about having affairs, making enemies and getting into loads of trouble. The Greek gods lived on the peaks of Mt. Olympus, and Hollywood celebrities live, well, on the bluffs of Beverly Hills. The exploits of Greek gods were told in epic poems, and the exploits of Hollywood celebrities are retold in tabloids and glamour mags. The similarities are spooky. And in both cases, the central stories are just so lurid and tacky.  

Long before the media became obsessed with legendary womanizers like Errol Flynn, the annals of Greek mythology were detailing the sex romps of the all-powerful Zeus, who had more than 150 documented affairs, not quite as good as Wilt Chamberlain but still impressive. The bottom line is that both Greek gods and Hollywood celebrities offer us a mythology, a common set of allegories. And even though we may worship these divine beings and as much as we may covet their superhuman qualities, I think we're deeply comforted by their foibles. We love the fact that they're so screwed up. It gets us off the hook because it sets the bar so low. If Zeus or even Tom Cruise can't hold down a stable relationship, well, it makes it easier for the little guy who may have similar issues.”

David Giles' Illusions of Immortality: A Psychology of Fame and Celebrity

Don DeLillo's Mao II: A Novel

“How Much Do We Love TV? Let Us Count the Ways” - New York Times:

“Let’s break this into groups. People over the age of 50 watch the most TV, somewhere in the range of 50 hours a week, according to Nielsen. In fact, people over the age of 50 are watching more TV per week this year than last. But that’s where that trend ends. People 24 and under are watching, roughly, two fewer hours of live TV and DVR programming per week than last year. And 25- to 34-year-olds (roughly speaking, millennials)? They’re watching an hour less per week, down from 27 and a half hours to 26 and a half hours. People between 35 and 49 mostly 36 and a half hours from nearly 37 hours a week.”

“Americans Check Their Phones 8 Billion Times Per Day” - Time Magazine

Who Said It: Presidential Hopeful Donald Trump or ‘Idiocracy’ President Camacho? - Jason Bailey’s Flavorwire 

Idiocracy star Terry Crews will reprise his role as President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho in a series of ads targeting current Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Buzzfeed reported.

John Lennon's Comments on The Beatles Being "More Popular than Jesus"

Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers: The Story of Success

Excerpt from David Foster Wallace’s Commencment Address at Kenyon College in 2005: This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion About Living a Compassionate Life:

“Because here's something else that's weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship—be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles—is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.”

Little Brown and Company’s Book Printing of David Foster Wallace’s This Is Water

“Here Is the Scandalous Father John Misty Interview You’ve Been Waiting For” - Pitchfork Magazine

Father John Misty and Zane Lowe go in-depth on his new album, Pure Comedy. - Interview on Youtube

Genius prodigy-pianists are becoming all-too-common: “Virtuosos Becoming a Dime a Dozen” - New York Times