Lemme open with a question:
Who would you rather be – Chuck Yeager or the cast of Wings? Would you rather stride into immortality as a giant, or suffer syndication death by a thousand cuts?
Original crushes Counterfeit every time.
Origin – root, foundation, primary source.
Counterfeit – “counter” meaning “against,” obviously, and “feit” meaning “everything good and right and pure.” Don’t check that – it feels true.
To find in favor of Counterfeit, is to go against everything good and right and pure. Which is basically like admitting you’re a war criminal or a pedophile. So. You’re EITHER a genocidal child rapist, OR you vote the right way. Your call.
I will concede that there is the perception of the counterfeiter as a kind of gentleman thief, a figure that exerts a kind of rakish charm, a trim David Niven type, a dashing pencil mustache guy, a roguishly appealing ne’er-do-well with the nerves of a cat burglar and moral relativism of the Republican Party.
I would remind you, however, if you are in the thrall of this misguided conception, that a counterfeiter – whether of fine art or of currency – is a waste case who squanders her gifts on the gutless pursuit of mimicry. Even if that mimicry is perfect – even if it eludes the detection of experts, even if it is in every aspect indistinguishable from the original, it will always be lacking. It will always come up short. It will always and forever be deficient and inauthentic.
Do me this favor – make this mind’s eye comparison for me.
Close your eyes. I want you to imagine the following as precisely as you can. I want you to see this:
Steve McQueen, in aviators and pegleg khaki pants, leaning against a ‘65 Mustang convertible.
Got that? Good. Now hold that picture in your mind. Instagram that shit. And contrast it with the following picture.
Present day action star Jason Statham, in that dark suit he always seems to be wearing, leaning against a late model Audi or whatever.
OK. Now set those two pictures next to each other. On the left, you got McQueen, irreducible in his coolness. You could chop him down and count the rings of his coolness. If you could harvest his bone marrow and inject it in your eye, you’d instantly be way cooler than you are right now. Like by a quintillion percent.
But Statham? Looks like he’s got a swagger coach. And a stylist to maintain that four days of stubble he’s always got. There’s something… homeopathic about him. His is a hand-me-down and thumb-worn Kinko’s kind of badassery. His wisecracks are neither wise, nor do they crack.
Make no mistake: I know Statham could beat my ass without breaking a sweat. That’s not what I’m talking about. And you know it.
And originality extends in the other direction, too – which kind of crazy would you rather learn about? That woman astronaut who put on a diaper and drove all night from Florida to Houston kill her ex and his new lady friend? Or the swampy, incremental crazy of your clinically depressed mom, who chain-smokes in her grimy nightgown and only heaves herself out of bed to give you Boo Berry cereal for dinner again?
I know, in advancing the cause of Original, there might be the expectation that I would trot out DaVinci and Edison, Einstein and Darwin – but to do so would be a bullshit hack move that played right into my opponent’s hands, so I’m not gonna do it. Quit thinking about those guys. Right now.
Original is the shit.
I know this’ll get your nerd-hackles up, but Shatner is more important and enduring than any other captain on the bridge of the Enterprise. Rathbone is Sherlockier than any of his successors. And I say this as a guy with as raging a Cumberbatch boner as anybody. And if you tell me that Robert fucking DeNiro’s ham-handed Frankenstein monster has anything on Karloff’s, I will strike you in the face in full view of everybody.
Originality is like stem cells – you can build a liver with it, or you can make hair; it can be blood vessels or nerve endings, balls or boobs. You know what Counterfeit can be? A poorly functioning copy of the one thing that it seeks to mimic. And nothing else. Counterfeit is not mutable, it is not variable, it is janky and stilted and weak – it’s like watching robots fucking –clanking, mechanized, anguish.
Which brings me to my opponent, this “Kirk”, who is pretty transparently an android. An android of frankly quite shoddy manufacture trying to pass as one of us, which is ridiculous, since his flesh is made of the same lifeless and unconvincing polymer that covers Mitt Romney’s endoskeleton.
But listen – the main thing is this: this “Kirk” – is trying to USURP my hard won WRITE CLUB dominance, which means he is the tip of the robot spear sent here to REPLACE US ALL. WE CAN STOP HIM RIGHT HERE, you guys. But listen: if you can live with yourself by voting for this fucking robot, great. You wanna throw in with the android overlords intent on enslaving you, instead of myself – the inventor, the HUMAN inventor – of WRITE CLUB, then you, my friend, are a self-loathing and consciousless betrayer of your own species. And if that’s the case, sleep well, you Monster. Sleep well.