Kevin Spacey's video and pizza plan is the last rattle of a man who knows he's heading into utter obscurity
In a few days' time Spacey will head to court to face charges of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old, just one of many allegations made against the actor
"After that my guess is that you will never hear from him again. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone."
Those lines, uttered by Roger 'Verbal' Kint, played superbly by Kevin Spacey in 1995's The Usual Suspects, may have referred to the malevolent, mysterious, Keyser Söze, but it could also refer to Spacey the alleged sexual predator; Spacey the con; Spacey the fraud. There's only one problem, Spacey doesn't want to convince you he doesn't exist, in fact he wants you to celebrate his every breath, hang on to his every word, and in his mind, after the dust has settled, he wants you to triumphantly carry him on your shoulders through the streets of hell's most upscale district.
When Spacey released his bizarre, creepy, yet strangely fascinating video on December 24, people were transfixed, most with horror and hate, but others were filled with awe. Like watching a demigod strip naked and proclaim his state of grace. It's there, you're looking, and for a fleeting minute, you have no idea what's going on...but still, the screen, that face.
"So we’re not done no matter what anyone says, and besides, I know what you want. You want me back,” those words were uttered with such conviction that subliminally some House of Cards fans (who had to sit through the debacle of the post-Spacey finale) nodded, even as they fought against every sinew in their neck from doing so.
The problem with genius (and there's no denying Spacey's acting prowess) is that it makes allowances for the weird, the perverse and, in some cases, even the criminal. In a few days' time Spacey will head to court to face charges of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old, just one of many allegations made against the actor, and the fact, like Polanski before him, that he's good at his job shouldn't detract from his alleged crimes and the suffering he perpetrated on his victims.
This is a predator we're talking about, not Frank Underwood in real life, and there's the problem. Spacey probably reckons that there's a chance that a narcissistic, delusional video, bordering on the stark raving, can sway the lay public to his side: He drops buzzwords like pigeon shit, 'facts', 'believe', 'judgement'. He wants you to believe what you see on the screen is real. But it's not, it's just a figment of someone's imagination brought to life by a man on the brink of eternal notoriety.
Spacey is putting up not so much a smokescreen as much as tossing a flash bomb into your house party. He doesn't want to pull the blinkers over our eyes, he wants to take hot pokers and gouge them out. And even with gaping, bleeding holes in our face, we'll hear the words, because that's what he wants.
Spacey is standing with his back to the wall, he has now moved into his redoubt, and he's reeling searching for his Mark Antony, someone to speak up for him as his career and legacy lie on the pyre of infamy. He needs friends, Americans, countrymen. But what he'll get are apologists, fans blindsided by his talent, inured by his razmatazz. He is not the victim here. But if you fall for the deviousness dripping from his lips, you will join the ranks of the ignorant...and these days they are legion.
In William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: Marcus Antonius says while paying tribute to Caesar and scything down his assassins: "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones."
In Spacey the actor there is much good. He gave us characters that will live on long after he's helping prove the law of conservation of energy. But the evil, if proved, will be his legacy. He will be this generation's Marquis de Sade, forgotten for his brilliant body of work, but remembered for the perceived pain he inflicted on the human psyche. Human are inherently sadistic, a rich vein of Schadenfreude runs through our marrow.
We watch, we observe and above all we revel in someone else's despair. Spacey will eventually dim into a nonentity, a bright star that has fizzled, and this is his death rattle. One last push, one final time into the breach. He will fail, because no matter what happens in the courts, his career is definitively over. It's the malingering perception of genius that we have to worry about.
So what's Spacey to do? Maybe he needs to take a leaf out of Lester Burnham's book and that indelible line from American Beauty: "Look at me, jerking off in the shower... This will be the high point of my day; it's all downhill from here." It certainly is Kevin, and no amount of videos or pizzas are going to change that. Tug away!