It’s maybe a pity that we usually trust potent first impressions, programmed as we are to not question the paraphrasing of character, no matter how skewed or suspicious it may appear. If it is charming enough, we can’t even distinguish that which in hindsight is clearly a patchwork of unconnected traits which appear to be uniquely interesting.
By default, we give such persons the benefit of the doubt, I suspect, because there is something vaguely addictive to finding ourselves in the position of the ones being picked apart, analysed, dissected, and yes, cajoled; the immediate rush of a false sense of importance hides the true nature of what we desperately want to classify as an exchange, but is nothing of the sort.
It’s a con and we’re the mark, soon replaced by the next one. Since their capacity to understand the true depth of what they are borrowing is limited (were they to understand that depth, they wouldn’t need to borrow anything, to begin with, of course; it would have been built over time, unique, impossible to copy), quickly drained, they permanently need fresh new material to borrow from.
Later, our surprise at how easily we fall into this trap, at discovering that this isn’t a real person, but rather a palimpsest of fragments of poses, like years of concert flyers pasted upon each other on a phone booth, wearing off unequally over time like a meaningless and dysfunctional collage, and at how people like these, nowadays, are the very definition of success and aplomb, is wholly unjustified: we’re the ones feeding it.
All things considered, it could be worse, we could be them: assuming that they even get that far, it has to be a fucking calamity to realise that you have no character of your own.