Pulling Down the Idol
I became a contributor to one of the larger celebrity gossip aggregators online, and while that on its own doesn’t mean much, what it did mean is that far more established and successful colleagues in this game saw me as a promising new talent. I reached out to them, and they began introducing me to their friends—some of them being celebrities—and over a period of a year I built up my network of sources and contacts throughout the entertainment world. I enjoyed traveling throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, throughout continental Europe, Russia, Japan, South Korea and so on. I also became aware of the far wider world to which I now belonged.
I already knew some of the standards of the scene by this time, such as avoiding the naming of names so long as they—or their estate—can retaliate against you. This is a habit that I choose to push to this memoir; I expect that my executor will, in time, obey my instructions and release the version of this manuscript that names names after I am gone. As you, reader, likely come to this from reading the work I produce for my cover identity, I expect that you will not balk at this practice- and that you will be thrilled to guest the identity of the people I refer to herein.
While in Japan, I joined a colleague of mine—a Canadian-born journalist that had become a permanent resident and now worked as an independent investigator—for dinner. He and I joined a well-regarded international film producer and his assistant at an upscale restaurant, one that I knew had a history with the Yakuza. I felt this to be a curious thing, one that doubled when my colleague revealed that our table sat in a very quiet, secluded section away from prying eyes- a V.I.P. room, if you will. That was when I took a moment to look up the name of this restaurant online, and saw that this business also had a history with the Yakuza. When I remembered that my colleague also had ties to them, I realized that this was no ordinary evening talking about the entertainment business and the issues influencing it.
You would not believe that this executive was at all tied to organized crime. He had neither a personal nor a familial history, and neither was the family business—an animation studio—known for it. He was a friendly—even to foreigners—man, even when drunk. Neither he nor his assistant—a quiet, but sufficiently pleasant, young man—showed any of the tells associated with that notorious group. So, when the conversation—after a few rounds—turned to the subject of celebrities, I found myself quite surprised to hear the old man say the following:
“Idols are tools. We use them while they’re useful, and when they’re broken we throw them into the trash and get new ones. Idiots think otherwise, and I know you’re not an idiot, Mr. Smith.”
He got me. I did not expect such a direct move by him, and my colleague revealed his part in this play now.
“Mr. Smith is no fool.” he said, “Remember that clipping I showed you?”
The old man smiled and nodded. His assistant refilled my glass. I realized that they knew about the incident that I recounted above, which did get reported in the press in the form I intended. I’d been made, and all that remained was to see what they wanted of me.
“Indeed.” I said, “I follow the words of William Shakespeare with regard to any individual’s worth in life.”
My colleague and the old man smiled widely, and my colleague clapped in appreciation.
“So, Mr. Smith,” the old man said, “which part are you playing now?”