Jan. 8, 2016

Where In The World Wide Web Is Brad Pitt?

CarmenSandiego Cf

Can somebody help me find Brad Pitt? Please?

Nowhere. Brad Pitt is not on the Internet.

T his revelation rocked me on my familiar couch. You see, visions of Pitt danced in my restless head and I entertained a reality where GQ or Time or Somewhere had enlisted my services in profiling the actor ahead of his latest release. Beyond the ridiculous circumstance – that is, performing my well-practiced respiratory process in the same space as Pitt – the daydream was more honest than fantastic. I found him no different. I found him weird. The near-tangibility of the exercise compelled me to write a profile that very much existed, but this profile was substandard fiction and fairly-decent nonfiction in result, so I sought to put my person in contact with Pitt’s people. Arrange something, perhaps.

Unfortunately, Brad Pitt is not on the Internet.

He has no website, no Twitter, no AOL email with a long-forgotten password. Bradpitt.com redirects to the Facebook page for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, as if Pitt ages counter to the rest of us and currently exists when the Internet does not. AlGore.com, on the other hand, is itself a destination. Naturally. It undoubtedly serves an invaluable purpose for the former Vice President.

Nonetheless, Brad Pitt is not on the Internet. There is no Internet in the womb.

I don’t know what it is. Leo has the in-the-moment mythology. George has the perpetual post-prime. Brad is from Missouri, and this is important, but he’s too pristine to be projected upon. Imagining life as a movie star is easier only than imagining life as Brad Pitt. (I can’t imagine being Brad Pitt.) And this kinda undermines the whole Missouri thing, even though Brad Pitt is very much from Missouri.

This is because Brad Pitt is not one of us. Brad Pitt played Achilles.

Like Brad, I attended a state school somewhat close to home for an intimate escape. Both of us spent the first few weeks poorly rationing alcohol and learning how to eat alone. Campus offered an expanse of sexually-liberated chicks, as promised, but such liberation carried enlightenment and we were (rightfully) ascribed snouts and squiggly tails. The poor girls who eventually augered charm from our awkwardness – on account of being disillusioned by the proximity of a dorm floor – provided worthy sparring partners in drunken arguments that had unprecedented importance.

And yet, right here, when I get to the part where I realize Brad and I aren’t so different, I remember that Brad Pitt dropped out of Mizzou a couple weeks before graduation and ran off to Los Angeles. Brad Pitt has way too big of balls to ever hang out with me, a spineless bitch who completed his degree.

The few afforded the honor of actually chilling with Brad say he’s “a fun hang.” And dammit, I’m a fun hang too. It takes a certain selfless self-awareness to crack entertaining boner jokes at the cost of your perceived intelligence. Sacrificing trips to the gym in order to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians is a small price to pay for conversation. And the reassuring smile that follows all of your lame stories? Two years of braces, man. You can’t eat Snyder’s Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Pieces with braces. For this, Brad and I say “you’re welcome.”

A pathetically substantial part of my identity is defined by my online presence. I have a username guy – he’s right there in my phone, always willing to listen to new Twitter handle proposals. (He almost always says they’re shit.) And this is why, while Pitt surely possesses many enviable things – clever T-shirts, affordable financing, black friends, etc. – the most singularly unobtainable of these things is his blasé approach to the Internet. It’s not so much that Brad Pitt has the Internet by the balls, but orbiting his own aforementioned pair.

Pitt is unconcerned with ACCESSIBILITY or ENGAGEMENT. Relevancy amongst the 18-35 demographic is irrelevant. He isn’t post-Internet or pre-Internet – this is what differentiates him from the Amish – just shrugging at the Internet. Technological illiteracy plagues thousands of middle-aged parents, and yet despite a shred of evidence, you know Pitt would fuckin’ crush the Twitter game, bro. I know this because, here I am, firmly in that 18-35 demographic – my PURCHASING POWER rising by the second – and I can’t stop thinking about Brad Pitt on the Internet. Even though he’s not on the Internet.

If the outcome of this expedition looks bleak at this point, it’s because it was. But as I finally bowed my head in deference to the cold, dark void that is Pitt’s online presence, an epiphany occurred to me. The void was the result of a decision, a decision made by Pitt himself – and conscientious objection is acknowledgement. The exploration itself was the answer I had sought all along

Pitt could own the Internet, but doesn’t. I want to own the Internet, but can’t. We both want what we can’t have. To not be and to be. And here, separated by only a word, Brad and I really aren’t so different. His existence governed by the same fundamental laws as mine.

No longer wrestling, but wrestled, I tip my cap. If anything, I want that email address even more.


Benjamin Jeffery (@jawcuzzi) is a big, strong man.