Keith Fenimore has a theory. He thinks that if enough media outlets publish a picture of his face, pretty soon all the other media outlets will be forced to publish it too. And then, eventually, everyone will recognize him--even if they have no idea why.
Seattle Weekly talked to Fenimore by phone while he was in New York today, to get the lowdown on his make-my-face-famous scheme.
He says it's not a matter of getting rich or landing a book deal, but rather an honest-to-God social experiment, aimed at highlighting the "snowball effect" of how news coverage can take a story and, despite its complete lack of real-world importance, catapult it into the mainstream until people are forced to give a shit.
"I fancy myself a pop-culture and media expert-slash-fan," says Fenimore. "I'm enamored with what becomes newsworthy and why. So one night, I was in bed, thinking to myself: is there a way to manipulate the press and the voice of the people and, in a way, to start my own media tornado? Can I take one piece of press and snowball that into recognition across America?"
Fenimore works as a writer for radio god Howard Stern's TV show, so he's familiar with using shock treatment on the masses to get an effect.
He also has some ties to Seattle, and even a somewhat removed connection to Seattle Weekly (he once helped land a gig in L.A. for Weekly editor Mike Seely's musician brother, Tim).
"I've definitely clobbered up at 3 a.m. to Dick's (Drive-In) and put down a burger or 12," he says. "I always remember the first half of my trips to Seattle, but the back end is always a little blurry."
This also isn't the first unconventional idea he's had, though it's probably the most successful. For several years he's been trying to start the Character Actor Awards, which would honor all the B-list actors whose faces you might recognize, but whose names you couldn't come up with if your life depended on it.
But as far as getting his countenance burned into your long-term memory, he says that will take the combined efforts of the social-media empire. That means you.
And when he feels he's been sufficiently exposed, he plans on testing the results by going to five U.S. cities he's never been to and walking down the street to see if people recognize him.
"I can only take it this far," he says. "I'm relying on people to jump on the bandwagon. Download my face! That's my new slogan."