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Joaquin Phoenix and Dostoevsky

The beauty of Phoenix's new rap gig may be in the eye of the beholder

Even if you missed Joaquin Phoenix’s staggeringly weird appearance on Letterman in mid-February, you probably caught some of the Internet aftershock. The clip was an instant YouTube classic and blog speculation spiralled from there: did Phoenix have a drug problem? Was it all some kind of hoax? Did it connect with his much-hyped retirement from acting or his putative foray onto the rap scene?

Then on March 12, Phoenix hurled himself off a stage in Miami Beach to attack a heckler in his audience. It was the highlight of an otherwise vapid hip-hop performance; Phoenix showed up four hours late at LIV nightclub to nod and mumble into his microphone. The confrontation was just what the crowd had been waiting for, another link in this bizarre chain of events and the supplier of some welcome entertainment: Phoenix bragged about his bank account and was dragged off the heckler by ...

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