(Posted by Jeff Porten)
Coming in a day late and a dollar short on the Saturday post; time management, not my strong suit. I have a persistent feeling I used up my somber essayist quota last week, so I’m going to get all bloggy on you and wind up with some lingering comments on the last few weeks.
Ohio: Nothing to add, not an expert. But it reminds me to mention “None Dare Call It Stolen” by Mark C. Miller in the August Harper’s. Oh, and of the time I walked from Indiana to the Dayton airport. Well, not all the way… really, the less said, the better.
Why America Doesn’t Suck at All: superhero comic books, unlimited soft drink refills (with ice!), nacho platters the size of a small principality, the hold ’em poker boom and the Internet to play it on, and the Constitution. Oh, and the part of Hollywood responsible for Buffy and Battlestar Galactica.
Blogging and censorship: okay, so count me as a gobsmacked over the nannygate controversy that hit the NYT. Seems to me, if you want to write an anonymous blog involving the salient and salacious, then you damn well should stay anonymous. In my experience, the TV version of the slip-of-the-lip that gives away the murder to the detective doesn’t happen often in real life. More often, the people who get in trouble with a terminal case of TMI were on the road to self-destruction one way or another. Most people, just not good at keeping secrets. Which is why it’s a good idea not to go out of your way to generate any.
Anonymity: I promised a follow-up post on this, but every time I started it I ended up hating it four sentences later. Long story short, after a post on what separates us, I wanted to go for what connects us—and as you might guess, any post that has to disclaim Seven Degrees of Separation in the first sentence is just begging to be cliché-filled.
But what I had in mind was writing about how most of us are connected to the people around us in terrifying ways. We hear about a tiny fraction of these connections, but most of them stay hidden. My examples: met an old college friend I hadn’t seen in years, found out she was a co-worker with my first girlfriend who I hadn’t etc. Or the time I met a Newsworthy Individual at a conference in Japan and we discovered we lived across the street from each other. You have your own examples. We all do.
It seems to me that we build up these connective calluses to survive living in a teeming mass of humanity, but it also seems somewhat tragic that this means so many people pass in and out of our lives daily without notice. Try it sometime: silently say “goodbye, forever” to a stranger as she gets off the subway train. Not that I have any ideas on what to do about this, if anything.
Batman: Here’s everything you need to know about Batman. There’s this scene in the recent JLA series where Batman has gone off to do some scouting of the bad guys’ base. Superman is standing next to the Martian Manhunter (about as powerful, somewhat different powers), and both are watching the horizon. Superman says, “Can you see him?” Manhunter says no. Batman appears behind them in the frame and says, “okay, let’s go.”
If you’re a comic reader, and I am, you’re used to seeing all sorts of fantastic things in the storylines. I recall one storyline from my youth when Superman temporarily stopped the Earth from orbiting for a little while. Into all of this waltzes this man, merely human, who wasn’t rocketed from his exploding home planet or hit by lightning in front of a chemical locker. Through sheer force of will, he makes himself into a hero.
The big three of DC comics are Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The Man of Steel, an Amazon princess—and a human being with wits and training and just a dash of psychotic obsession. The movie didn’t quite capture all that, but it’s the closest one so far.
Finally, while I liked the discussion that came out of my freelance agenting idea, I’m a bit disappointed that I generated less buzz from the professional crowd here than I hoped (buzz meaning “actual thoughts on doing this”). I’m guessing that there are flaws to the idea that I missed, but if anyone wants to discuss further, my email address is cleverly hidden on every page of my site.
Alright, time for this Antiscalzi to turn out the lights. Looking forward to having John come back, actually; I’ve missed him, although I hope I did 1/7th of the job of making you miss him a little less. Thanks for listening.