Riff Raff on the Riff Raff Halloween Costume (or, What Does It Mean To Be Riff Raff?)


Riff Raff talks a bit about Spring Breakers in this interview. About midway through:

[Riff Raff talks about a store he is going to open that does not sell middle of the mall shit and then]

…but what we’re doing is also selling, through Neff (shoutout to Neff), is Riff Raff Halloween costumes. So now fuck it, James Franco. James Franco, you want it, fuck it everybody can have it, everybody can look like Riff Raff. Riff Raff Halloween costumes.

What comes in that costume?

You’re gonna get like a washable pen to draw on your zig zag beard. You’re gonna get some pretty fly glasses in there. You can get the exclusive pack where its like some more expensive glasses or you can get the cheap pack, you know what I mean, if you’re just trying to use it for one night and get fucked up drunk, break your glasses and all that shit, rip your clothes off, it don’t matter.

. . .

You can also get…swim trunks, get a Neff tanktop, Neff shorts, you can get the earrings, rings, you know what I mean? Some rings. I mean, a durag with braids on it with beads on the end. It is a distinct look to look like Riff Raff for Halloween. And James Franco, I gave him his a year early, and I didn’t know he was going to use it for a movie.

Riff Raff is doing a couple interesting things in the interview. In a previous section that I didn’t transcribe, Riff says that some of the lines are straight lifted from things he has said, but those things were from “like five years ago.” He isn’t just Riff Raff anymore; he is now Jodi Highroller, a kind of Riff 2.0. In this way, Franco isn’t mimicking him; he’s mimicking a chrysalis version of the current Riff Raff.

This distinction leads into the second, much more interesting, thing that is going on in the interview. When Riff Raff says “fuck it, you can have it, everybody can look like Riff Raff,” he is acknowledging that he is purely an aesthetic category. A reformulation: “You want to wear the mask? Wear the mask. You can be me too.”

Riff Raff is making an razor-thin argument here, but it deserves to be pointed out: Riff Raff is acknowledging that he, as an existing personality, is purely aesthetic. It isn’t that you can look like Riff Raff for Halloween; you can be Riff Raff for Halloween. More than that, by the time you’re Riff Raff, he will be someone else.

Riff Raff is a series of aesthetic categories arranged on a flat surface. You can mix and match them; zig zag beard and a chain. Destroy it all, who cares? Riff Raff embodies the aesthetic of late capitalism in the same way that Subway makes sandwiches–put it together any way you want, take it or leave it, the choice is all yours.


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