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Role Models Paperback – April 26, 2011
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Waters describes himself as "a cult filmmaker whose core audience, no matter how much I've crossed over, consists of minorities who can't even fit in with their own minorities.". One can see how the people who have influenced him the most fit in with this self-assessment.
The first major influence on John as a little boy was "Clarabell, the psychotic clown on The Howdy Doody Show, whose makeup later inspired Divine's, had been my role model.". One can't miss the similarities when comparing the two:
The chapter entitled Leslie is perhaps the most serious piece of work Waters has ever written. In it, he talks about his twenty-five-year friendship with Leslie Van Houten, the member of the Manson family who was sentenced to death for her role in the LaBianca murders in 1969. Waters makes a very convincing case for the parole of Van Houten, who has been incarcerated for over forty years. He also apologizes for exploiting the Manson family murders in his early film career:
"I am guilty, too. Guilty of using the Manson murders in a jokey, smart-ass way in my earlier films without the slightest feeling for the victims' families or the lives of the brainwashed Manson killer kids who were also victims in this sad and terrible case."
This was quite a revelation from Waters: that of guilt.Read more ›
The standout chapters are those in which Waters hunts down obscure character's from Baltimore's history and outsider porn legends. In discussing these peoples' degeneracy alongside their humanity, he gets closest to the aesthetic he's established in his films. The weakest chapters devolve into lists of his favorite books and the art in his various homes, with more description than insight.
This probably isn't worth reading unless you're a bit more hardcore in your Waters fandom.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating glimpse into the mind of a fascinating man. The photos were particularly evocative. John Waters is a whip-smart writer and a truly gifted listener. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Kenya Diggett
I wasn't a huge John Waters fan before I read this book. Unfortunately the book did little to push to one side of the fence or the other. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Book Knurd
Not much to say, John Waters is just wonderful. Very funny, I loved learning about the people that shaped him into who he is today! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I like his movies, and did enjoy some of the chapters. But I had to force myself to finish it. The book just seemed to drag on and on.Published 3 months ago by Mark Miller
So you admire the King of Filth and his work? Well guess what? He admires some people, too. And he lets us know all about them here in ROLE MODELS, a fun, funny and wonderfully... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dash Manchette
The eccentric world of John Waters is definitely not for everyone. He is, refreshingly, as far away from the mainstream as one can get without being stark raving mad. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lisa B. Hansen