How does one truly make an impact on culture without obsessing over building platform, managing one’s personal “brand” and constantly doing and saying things specifically to rile up and expand an audience? How can artists, writers, and other cultural creators who truly care about ideas and art avoid the pitfalls of ego and hubris while also wanting their work to have a wide reach?
It's doubtless a strange thing to routinely bear witness to an external version of yourself in the media—watching yourself on YouTube, seeing yourself on Access Hollywood or in tabloids. Throughout I'm Still Here we see Phoenix watching himself on his laptop—glued to the screen like Narcissus looking into the pond. But is what he sees a familiar self? Or is it something as foreign as Commodus or Johnny Cash? Or is it ultimately all the same?