So I became aware of Arthur Kade through Hot Chicks With Douchebags, a website that I have found can be pretty amusing when taken in small doses. Clicking on the link will tell you all you need to know about the raison d'etre there.
But at some point, somehow, HCWD happened upon the phenomenon that is Arthur Kade.
Arthur is a guy in Philadelphia (although actually I think he's from Bensalem, which means that both Arthur and I are from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, albeit in the same way that people from East Hampton and people from Massapequa are from Long Island). For reasons that are never quite explained, he quit his job in finance and cashed out, and is bent on pursuing stardom as a model /actor.
Nothing not to love there, right? Live the dream, Arthur!
Well here's where things get tricky.
Arthur's native milieu is the world of Philadelphia nightlife. If I were to phrase that "the glamorous world of Philadelphia nightlife," no doubt you would smile when reading that. You probably don't have to have spent any time in Philadelphia at all to know why this just doesn't make sense. Arthur is pursuing stardom as a model/actor so he can be the most glamorous of the glamorous in Philadelphia.
This is getting awfully tricky. Making fun of Arthur Kade is so easy to do. At first, that was what I was getting out of it. Arthur maintains a website wherein he chronicles his demented adventure, and invites comments from readers. Most of these comments are from people who really, really hate Arthur Kade. Often, they're fairly humorous, and if back in junior high school, you were the kind of person who piled on the fat kid or the gay kid or the kid with acne, heaping them with insults and making their lives miserable, you'll find it unbelievably hilarious.
But it's for that reason that Arthur Kade--vapid and without seemingly a shred of self-awareness--moves me so.
Here's a quick inventory of some of the chips that Arthur Kade has stacked against him: he has a slight speech impediment, he has a pretty harsh Northeast Philadelphia accent ("I am a hyoooge sucthes!"), he can't act, he is awkward and goofy whenever the camera is rolling, he has a bad complexion, he makes some very bad decisions with respect to promoting himself, his large nose which isn't straight make his eyes look owlish. In short, Arthur Kade quest for stardom as an actor/model probably isn't going to come off the way he hopes it will. But wait! Isn't that the Great American Story? Aren't we all out there rooting everyday for hapless losers on similarly improbably quests? Did you not see Little Miss Sunshine? How would you have felt about an unhappy ending to Night At The Roxbury?
Yeah but read what he writes on his website. It's hard to root for someone who quite so shallow and self-absorbed and clueless as Arthur Kade. The man is downright despicable with his spiritually dead consumerism and his mac-daddy dealings with women. (The fact that he gets laid at all is testament to what a dangerous drug alcohol can really be.)
But even though I would find it so easy to hate Arthur Kade--or, probably worse from his perspective, to not find much of interest there and send my browser onward without a second thought--I don't.
1. I love Arthur Kade's exuberance. And that would be his completely misdirected exuberance. Arthur Kade's face lights up again and again and again, and all it takes for that to happen is to see his name on gawker.com.
2. Arthur Kade is undeterrable. And this is particularly effecting to me because I am so easily deterred. If my acting coach responded to my monolog with the damning-with-faint-praise way that Arthur Kade's does, I'd jump off a bridge. But Arthur Kade isn't even phased by it.
3. Arthur Kade really likes himself a whole lot. Y'know how you wince when you hear yourself on your voicemail greeting? That contraction in the bowels as you think, "Omigod, do I really sound like that?" Well Arthur Kade doesn't! While you and I tend to brush off compliments, Arthur Kade takes them to heart, probably after asking to have them repeated a few times. In the same way that a teacher's passion and enthusiasm for a subject can make all the difference in class, I can't help but get excited about this goofball and his prospects, in spite of all evidence to the contrary.
So yes! I am a fan of Arthur Kade! Not only do I hope that he does indeed achieve the stardom as a model/actor that he seeks, I hope that the zenith of that stardom is getting to star in blockbuster summer movie, Arthur Kade's Journey. In which he plays himself, Arthur Kade. And I want that movie to have a really happy get-up-on-your-feet-and-cheer-while-wiping-away-the-tears-from-your-cheeks ending involving Arthur Kade being cheered by millions on his return to Philadelphia after Arthur Kade's Journey has made him a Hyoooge Secthes as the credits for Arthur Kade's Journey roll (Starring Arthur Kade as Arthur Kade). (And wouldn't that be cool in a self-referential, post-modern kind of way?) And the movie should be played straight, no wink-wink-nudge-nudge at the camera. And absolutely no Dark Night's of the Soul or moments of self doubt for our hero.
That's the story that I and the rest of America want to see on the big screen.
Before the final "Kade out!"