Who am “I”? And why do “I” have to be one person? Is it just because the letter “I” looks like the number “1”? Too many people are devoted to their own singularity. “I” am not a monad. Or should “I” say, “I” are not a monad. Or should “I” say, “I” are “we” are “James Franco.”
The principle components of “James Franco” are:
1 Screen actor “James Franco”: original source of multi-Franconian notoriety predicated on pseudo-Fonz-ian television role on abortive but retroactively nostalgia-inducing proto-Apatovian vehicle Freaks and Geeks. Yields: subsequent roles in major non-Apatovian motion pictures including superhero franchises, romantic foil opportunities involving fame-enhancers Julia Roberts and Sean Penn, and lately Oscar-friendly leads portraying pre-famous literary genius (see below) and hardship-endurance via self-amputation and ensuing sympathetic disability. Hazards: superficiality and lingering unrequited crush on circa-1999 Linda Cardellini.
2 Fiction writer “James Franco”: author of largely unread story collection often enlisted by legitimate mentors (cf. Gary Shteyngart), garnered at prestige-bestowing institutions, in attempts, desperate on their part, generous on our part, at mutual self-promotion. Yields: reputation for “authenticity,” opportunity for student to live under constant low-level scrutiny within a major metropolitan area drawing media attention merely for pursuing previously glamorous vocation. Hazards: a ream of negative reviews, one citation for “embodied bizarreness” excepted, and status in the literary consensus as “vastly inferior to Tao Lin.”
3 Entertainment mogul “James Franco”: purchaser of options on trendy literary works. Yields: gratitude among less attractive impecunious author peers. Hazards: large sums of wasted money.
4 Graduate student “James Franco”: candidate for Ph.D. in English, Yale; enrollee, Rhode Island School of Design. Yields: mastery of theories useful in instilling the belief that multidisciplinarity is a form of excellence. Hazards: increasingly unreadable prose style.
5 Performance artist “James Franco”: exploiter of previously mentioned identities on daytime television. Yields: ironic repurposing of identity 1 before mass audience of lonely housewives. Hazards: mounting confusion.
6 Sleeping “James Franco”: dreamer of dreams more terrifying than you’ll ever know.