Role Models - John Waters From John Water's Role Models:

You should never read for "enjoyment". Read to make yourself smarter. Or less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends' insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick "hard books". Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for God's sake, don't ever let me hear you say, "I can't read fiction. I only have time for the truth." Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of "literature"? That means fiction too, stupid.


John Waters isn't exactly a role model for me. In fact, there is probably no one who is more unlike me or who grew up in such a opposite environment. But I do admire him greatly. Waters is the Duchamp of cinema. He took ordinary kinks and taboos and made them art. Divine would have been just another 300 pound transvestite who ate dog poop but, with Water's help, he became a socio-political statement. John Waters states he has experienced every perversion except two. You have to read the book to find out which two. However, it is not this that makes him an artist but the ways he expresses himself in film and now in his writings.

In this book, the author writes about his roles models. Some are quite mainstream like Johnny Mathis and Little Richard. Others are beyond my understanding, like Bobby Garcia, perpetrator of gay Marines porn. Some of his role models even mystify the more mature Waters as he questions his original fascination with people like the Manson family or a lesbian junkie stripper named Zorro who makes Joan Crawford seem like mother of the year. Yet Waters is not really writing about his role models but about himself; how his identity was formed and evolved by the people who he was infatuated with. Waters is not worried about what you think about him or if you are repulsed by his likes and dislikes. But he does want you to see and recognize the reality that surrounds us whether we like it or not. That is also what I admire about Waters; His take-it-or-leave-it attitude. You may be disgusted with films like Pink Flamingos but it says to you, "Here I am, deal with it". Just like this book does.