• Tue, Jun 12 2012

Lady, You’re Not Actually Fake

andy warhol

I was having drinks with my friend Molly last night, and she mentioned that she once gave a speech stating “If your boyfriend keeps talking about how fake you are, break up with him immediately.”

I didn’t hug her, because we were in a public place, and I didn’t pay for her drinks, because I keep it real, but I am writing this article saying that I think that this is a great. fucking. point. Partly because I am continually pointing out that the only way you are truly being “fake” is if you are a replicant.

PHONY FAKE FAKER!

However, I feel like a lot of us – especially if you are someone who is a bit offbeat, and likes things done a certain way, and has a smattering of eccentricities – get labeled as “fake”. And it’s generally the wrong label, because it’s generally thrown out by people who don’t really know you.

There’s a great story about Andy Warhol, where a reporter asked him why he was such a phony (apparently this reporter went to the Holden Caulfield school of journalism) and why he couldn’t be more “real.” Andy replied “Oh, I’ve never been real a day in my life.” It sounds glib, but the thing is, when you read Andy Warhol’s diary, his private persona is exactly the same as his public one. Eerily so. He really did just spend all his time thinking everything was really glamorous and wondering about Mick Jagger’s cock and liking bad movies and money. Everything he said in public seemed to line up completely with what he thought to himself. He just had a quirky way of looking at things. He wasn’t fake. He was a weirdo.

But Andy’s response worked, because you can’t really explain that you are an authentic weirdo to someone who doesn’t know you. Besides, they wouldn’t believe you if you did.

Being told you’re fake is almost an impossible accusation to defend yourself against.

The reason this is a tough insult to respond to – and it is an insult, even though it’s couched in terms of helping you – is because you are being kind of fake right now. You are always being kind of fake, because you have adopted the tenets of society. You are not alone in a cave, drunk and masturbating and screaming for raw meat to eat, because no one gets to do that regularly except a certain kind of male author.

In general, though, the minute you started dressing to go out and asking people how they were without really caring about the response, the jig was up. You’re already fake. We’re all a little bit fake.

And not only do we accept the basic societal contract – which already rules out all the basic naked cave Hemingway fun you could be having – we accept different contracts with different people. You probably behave quite differently around your parents than you do around your friends. You behave differently with toddlers than you do with local professors. You behave differently with your boss than you do when confronted with a team of roving hobos carrying pick-axes. (Not me, though! That’s how I became the hobo Queen of the office. I have all the pick-axes, now.)

This is not a bad thing. This is actually kind of neat. At best it is proof that like America, we “contain multitudes”, and, at least, it might be a bit boring to behave the same way in every situation.

Of course, there are men and women like Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady who go about bellowing “I’d treat the Queen of England the same way I’d treat a flower girl!”

Right. When people proudly proclaim that, take into account that Henry Higgins probably had Asperger’s.

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  • Visakan

    The authenticity in this is beautifully overwhelming

    • Jennifer Wright

      It’s amazing what you can do when you put your replicant brain to work and your fembot hands to the keyboard.

      NOW BRING ME RAW MEAT FOR IT TO BE IN MY BELLY.

    • Lemona

      I’m really saddened by the image of replicants eating raw meat to try to prove to themselves that they aren’t replicants. Is that in the deleted scenes?

    • Ashley Cardiff

      Lemona, this comment is superb.

  • Melanie the Constant Reader

    All of my fascination with reality shows comes from puzzling out what the hell everybody means by “being real” on there. I do not think that word means what they want it to.
    I don’t think it means what MOST people want it to, i.e.: permission to act weird but in a socially acceptable way. Can we invent another word for that so dudes with fedoras will stop talking about being real? And NO, the new word can’t be “authentic.” Vetoed.

    http://melanietheconstantreader.blogspot.com/2012/06/appropriate-title.html

  • Jamie Peck

    I agree with most of this! However, I guess I have struggled with this issue more than you have, because I have at times retreated behind a persona to avoid dealing with feelings of shyness, awkwardness, etc. I think this might be why I’m such an “oversharer” re: intimate details of my feelings, life, etc. I don’t want people to have the wrong idea about who I am. And I do try to be relatively the same person, no matter who I’m with. My parents know things about me that most parents don’t know about their kids because of my writing, but I honestly think it’s improved our relationship. Alternate personas can be fun (that’s why I created “Hunter”), but not when you get confused about what’s part of your persona and what’s really part of you. Thankfully, I don’t really have that problem much anymore.

    • Jennifer Wright

      Jamie, who is Hunter?

    • Jamie Peck

      Hunter is my Suicide Girl name. She’s confident and cool, and doesn’t care when people say mean things about her on the internet!

    • Kacie

      I’m with you here Jamie.

  • León

    Thanks for making me comfortable of being a weirdo. AND YES!, LETS DEVOUR ALL THAT RAW MEAT!!!

  • BeccaTheCyborg

    This post is fucking magnificent. That is all.

  • MR

    I’ll tell you a story about this woman. She was a total fake. She manipulated me and made me make a fool of myself. I thought she was my friend. You’re real. Don’t let anyone tell you you aren’t.

  • meteor_echo

    Excuse me? What’s wrong with wearing a fedora?

    • Jennifer Wright

      You’re in the rat pack!?

      I wish I were in the rat pack.

      A lot.

      I’d probably be Sammy, though, not Frank. I don’t like that much spotlight.

    • Will

      Limit: 1 per crew

    • MM

      I don’t remember the comic where I read this, but it went something like this: “You think you look like Humphrey Bogart in that fedora, but you really look like a systems administrator with a sword collection.”

      I work in IT, so I know the type. As far as I’m concerned the fedora has been ruined by all the men who pair it with a trenchcoat, ill-fitting jeans and white running shoes.

  • Kj

    Well, I had a friend that I have trouble describing as anything but fake. I hated the fact that she put on a completely different persona whenever we were around other people/people she didn’t know as well.

    If it was just us hanging out, she was chill and nice and personable and easy to talk to…

    …but as soon as someone else she didn’t know as well showed up (read: wanted to impress) it was OHMYGOD LOOK AT ME I AM SO QUIRKY AND AWESOME AND WEIRD! AND NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO HAVE A CONVERSATION BECAUSE I AM GOING TO INTERJECT AT RANDOM WITH QUIRKY INTERJECTIONS THAT PROVE MY QUIRKYNESS AND CHANGE THE SUBJECT COMPLETELY! OVER AND OVER!

    (Sorry about so many caps… that was how I basically experienced this phenomenon.)

    …It was just like, what the hell? Who IS this person? And you can talk about acting differently based on whether you are talking to your parents or your friends, etc, but this was more subtle, since we were all basically her peer group, yet she treated us differently.

    But maybe this is not “being fake…” …maybe this is just treating your best friend like crap because you are deeply insecure, etc.

  • Jenna

    THIS.

    THIS ARTICLE.

    This is why I read the Gloss. All the damn time. You’rekindofmyheroes.
    Does it make me a weirdo to say that? Maybe. I’m not worried, I feel like I’m in good company. I’ll be in my cave, masturbating and eating the raw meat now. K thanks bye.

  • Will

    “You are not alone in a cave, drunk and masturbating and screaming for raw meat to eat, because no one gets to do that regularly except a certain kind of male author.”

    Hey, speak for yourself.

    Btw, Andy Warhol really was the most genuine of all modern artists, because he freely admitted that his paintings (and all art, really) had no deeper meaning other than being pretty pictures that were enjoyable to look at.

  • kit

    there’s different degrees of fakeness, duh. i myself am known for keeping it real. which is why i’m constantly annoying or pissing people off.

  • nothingsmonstered

    Don’t forget Kurt Vonnegut’s wisdom: “Be careful what you pretend to be, because you are what you pretend to be.” Or, as Andrew Vachss loves to say, “behavior is truth.”

    What you do is what you are, and if you don’t act the same way all the time that just means you’re complicated, like the rest of us. It all counts.

  • kim folwy

    Very poorly written blog.

  • yiraf

    Are replicants fake because they aren’t human? Is being human a prerequisite for being real?? Or are only replicants fake everything else is real. What. I am befuddled by my own logical entanglement. That being said I thought Rachel was one of the most real characters in blade runner! I kind of felt bad for her, kind of how I would have felt bad for Robin Williams as bicentennial man but the movie was so bad I couldn’t suspend disbelief.

    Anyway! love this article, agree with you, but confused about the last photo because everything did not turn out fine for those people in the picture… unless relative immortality makes everything ok (which it might??)