A Small Rant About The Things I Might or Might Not Know Which I Might or Might Not Tell You About

Spin magazine had up a piece on Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman performing a benefit gig the other night, in which it revealed that the two of them revealed to the audience that they were dating. Good for them. But the news of their dating prompted someone to send me an e-mail, asking me why I had never mentioned that Palmer and Gaiman were dating and suggesting that it was somehow my duty to keep people informed about such things.

E-mail being the emotionally flat medium that it is, I was not entirely sure that this person was joking, but the more I re-read it the more I became convinced that this person was at least mildly piqued that they thought I was holding such a choice tidbit of quasi-celebrity news from them, and did believe I was obliged to spill about people of fame they assumed that I knew personally.

Assuming that I am in fact not being hypersensitive, two points here:

1. How was I supposed to know this? I’m an admirer of both Miss Palmer’s music and her crazy eyebrows, but I don’t know her and have never met her. Seems unlikely I would be her bosom confidant. Likewise, while it may seem to some outside observers that I should know Neil Gaiman, we’ve only ever exchanged a few brief e-mails, mostly about the recent Hugo Voters Packet. I’ve spoken to him once, but that was in 1992, when I called him up to interview him for a newspaper article I was doing on graphic novels. At no time in our conversation did Gaiman ever say “Hey, anonymous newspaper reporter whom I shall probably never speak with again, seventeen years from now I plan to date a very cute and talented musician. Please keep this news in the strictest of confidence, unless at such time you happen to own a blog, which right now sounds like a disease involving phlegm, but which in the future will mean something else entirely, in which case you may write about it there.” At which point I suspect I would have thought to myself, hmmm, this guy’s been drinking too much cartoonist’s ink.

Well, you say, you know lots of people who know Gaiman (and now, presumably, Miss Palmer). That’s almost like knowing them! Well, no, not really. Look: One of the people who is close enough to me that I consider them family is close enough to Brad Pitt that they went to each other’s weddings. I do not know Brad Pitt. Someone I was a friend of in college was for years a close confidant of Hilary Clinton. I do not know Hilary Clinton. As recently noted, people I know can get on the phone and talk to Harlan Ellison any time they want. I do not know Harlan Ellison. I could amaze and delight you with the list of all the notable people I almost but in fact don’t know personally.

Now, perhaps one day I shall meet Mr. Gaiman and Miss Palmer; seems a reasonable bet I’ll see at least one of them this August. And perhaps on that day we’ll experience the sort of immediate and massive friendcrush that leads each of us to reveal all sorts of secrets to one another in long intimate conversations that will instantly cement our new status as ZOMG totally BFFs. Hey, I’m somewhat personable; it could happen. And then in fact I will know everything there is possibly to know about Mr. Gaiman and/or Miss Palmer. Which leads to the next point:

2. Even if I did know personal information about Gaiman or Palmer, why would any of you be under the impression I would tell you? I already have enough problems with people who don’t know me assuming that every single thing that I ever do or learn about in my personal life is going to get plastered up on Whatever in an orgy of attention-seeking indiscretion. The last thing I need to do is to actually prove them right.

This may be hard for some folks to believe, but my default assumption when someone mentions something about themselves to me is to tell no one else. Before anything else, this is simply the polite thing to do, and what I would hope others would do for me if the situations were reversed. But more than that, there’s the fact that somewhere along the way I realized it’s better to have the sort of friends who know they can trust you, than the sort of friends who value the entertainment value of your inability to keep a confidence. I want friends, not an audience.

If I meet Neil Gaiman/Amanda Palmer/Whomever and we decide we’re gonna be pals and share each other’s unmentionable, career-damaging secrets in the creative person’s drunken equivalent of becoming blood brothers, here’s probably what I’d mention about it here: “Hey, so I met Neil Gaiman/Amanda Palmer/Whomever, and they were very cool once I got all my squeee over and done with.” Because — no offense — that’s about all you need to know about that. Everyone’s personal life is personal until and unless they choose to make it otherwise. Even the people you like and admire and may in some way, and against all reason, feel you own.

130 Comments on “A Small Rant About The Things I Might or Might Not Know Which I Might or Might Not Tell You About”

  1. I’m not detecting any hypersensitivity here, John. That’s a pretty bizarre kind of e-mail to be receiving. Must have been tongue-in-cheek… maybe the sender forgot to pop in some smileys?

    And hey, I see you and Larry Niven have the same publisher.. can you get me his autograph? 8^D

  2. I am related to a retired Nascar driver. Unfortunately, we aren’t BFFs so I can’t get you pit passes. Nor does he realize we’re cousins or in fact even know me.

  3. Oh, for the love of mike, I cannot *seriously* believe the person who sent the emails *incredible frigging gall*. Career damaging or not, who the hell do these people think you are, a source for the National Enquirer?

    Look, I know industry gossip type facts, you know industry gossip type facts. You probably know more than I do, because you go to more cons than I do, and hang out with pros more (of course, the regular KGB readings her ein NY make that a close thing.) But *neither* of us are going to blab to people who shouldn’t know.

    That said, *dayum* Gaiman has it going. Amanda Palmer is smoking hot. And contra-wise, Palmer has it going too, ‘cos Gaiman is pretty hot himself.

  4. Hey, you know – I’m a second cousin three or four times removed from Almonzo Wilder. And no – I can’t get you Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autograph, because I never met the woman. And also because, you know, she’s dead.

  5. It amazes me how people think that famous people owe the public their private lives when, in fact, all that is owed is a good performance in their chosen field.

    Wanna see what they think? Go bug a headlining comedian after a show when he’s trying to wind down in a bar and get something to eat. They’re done being funny for the night, so you’re apt to be disappointed.

    Of course, all this is fed by the upper crust A listers turning every little thing they do into a media circus, then charging outrageous amounts to parasites like Perez Hilton for the most intimate details.

  6. I almost but don’t know John Scalzi, in that I now (as of last week!) work with one of his advance copy readers who got a dedication in, I think it was Old Man’s War. (Hi, Regan!)

    And even here, and even in this post, this fact is of so little value as to only be barely relevant. (Other than the fact that, if Mr. Scalzi is in the area, there’s a chance he’d stop by and visit our office, and I could say Hi, I once posted in your blog about how I almost but don’t know you, and he could say, “Ah, and thus the prophecy is complete.”)

  7. Hey, do you know if Britney’s really lip-syncing or not?

    Okay, really, probably less than 6 degrees of separation. My sister-in-law played at James Woods’ wedding (one of them), and she knows Tobias B., who you know, so you’re what, 5 degrees of separation from damned near everybody in the movie industry? At the very least? And I bet I could do better than that.

    So really… do you have Madonna’s phone number?

  8. I was fortunate enough to be at the Gaiman/Palmer reading, and should let you all know that when Mr. Gaiman confirmed they were indeed dating, he gave a quick shout-out to Scalzi and Colin Powell for not spilling the beans. Oh, before I forget, let me just add a smiley ;-p

  9. Does that mean you’re canceling your daily briefing on the color of Wil Wheatons’ undershorts? Damn. (Pun intended, BTW.)

  10. This, of course, raises the question: What dark secrets do you know that you are hiding from us by posting this rant?

  11. I just heard that JD Salinger is dating Bacon Cat Girl! Why didn’t you warn us?!?!

    And since we’re bragging about almost knowing famous people, my best friend’s wife almost got to server beer to Brad Pitt once in Springfield, MO, and I work with Spielberg’s brother in law.

  12. Okay, but i swear I, of all the people they don’t know, knew this like 2 weeks ago at least. I don’t know how I knew, but I was all “old news” when i heard the news yesterday.

    Apparently I should have told you so you could tell people.

  13. Well, they seem like a lovely couple regardless of who knew/didn’t know about it ahead of time.

    Also, so this means you can’t send me one of Mr. Gaiman’s black tshirts? *scoffs*

  14. I was about do a variation of a joke that’s so old that anyone under 25 probably wouldn’t get it. Instead I’ll just throw out the payoff name and those of you who are over 30 can just smile and nod to yourself.

    Morgan Fairchild.

    Thank you.

  15. Well, and setting aside all the celebrity gossip thing – you know, Gaiman has his own blog going on. Why did the email think it was your job to be Gaiman’s Adjunct Blogger?

  16. Eric S @ 18:

    Smiling and nodding.

    I have an unusual surname that I happen to share with a couple of celebrities. We are likely distant cousins. Whenever anyone asks about the connection, I tell them that we’re distant cousins but have never met. They (the asker, not the cousin) always seem so disappointed. I need to come up with better answer.

  17. The paparazzi mentality is pandemic in this country and is a more dangerous infection than swine flu will ever be.

    I almost don’t know anyone of consequence which means I’ll never be bothered by e-mails of this type.
    That makes me happy. 8D

  18. I am in awe of the number and celebrity of people you almost know. Now that I have posted to your blog comments, I consider myself almost knowing you, so by proxy I now almost almost know Brad Pitt! How cool is that?

  19. Worth noting that Gaiman maintains one of these here “weblogs” his own self, and has not seen fit to mention the status of his relationship with Palmer, and only got around to publicly acknowledging his divorce fairly recently, and only then in order to minimize the impact of internet gossip. So it’s not like he’s real forthcoming about information about his personal life to begin with…

  20. Also: Couldn’t anyone who cares figure it out months ago from Mr. G’s blog? It was pretty obvious; at least I thought so.

  21. JS – well some of this might be related to the “cost of fame”. Remember many here are your number one fans. Speaking of listing your personal info, have you listed your shoe size or the date when you and the mrs. played hide the bacon? :-)

  22. Oh, pulleeeeez. Anybody who follows both their Twitter accounts would know that they’re dating. Folks are just too lazy to make their own inferences.

  23. A few of my claims to almost fame:

    The lady who used to watch my sister and me was the aunt of sure-bet Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox — couldn’t even get free Braves tix with that connection.

    A friend of mine went to high school with Julia Roberts — said she was kinda’ snobby back then.

    Another acquaintance went to high school with country star Travis Tritt — said he was pretty cool.

    A third acquaintance went to high school with Black Crowes bandmates Chris and Rich Robinson — claims to have beaten Chris up on several occasions, but I doubt it.

    And finally, when I was in middle school I got to meet Dale Murphy who, at the time, was a star outfielder for the Braves — great guy who I admire to this day.

  24. For some reason I found that email terribly funny. I really have to wonder if it wasn’t all a joke.

    As for the celeb connections, Robert Redford rented a house in my hometown from the parents of my best friend from elementary school. He was out jogging one day and my dad almost hit him with his car. I don’t think any words were exchanged.

    That said, if anyone is interested in the autograph of the woman who started the United State’s first gourmet goat cheese company, I can totally hook you up (she’s my step-mom). She’s totally famous in food circles.

  25. Wait, I’m confused, I thought Scalzi was the Perez Hilton of the Science Fiction world? My boyfriend lied to me…

  26. Great Big Nerd @24 – sure, I think a lot of people whose knowledge of Gaiman’s personal life is limited to what’s on his jacket copy might have done a double take and said “dating? wait, isn’t he married or something?” But that’s not really what Scalzi’s saying. He apparently got an email from somebody chiding him for not sharing information about Gaiman’s personal life, presumably because they’re both SFF guys and kinda have met a couple of times.

  27. Stephanie @ 31 – no, that’s io9. Seriously. Except they’re stuck on film/TV fandom, whch I’m sure drives more traffic, but is of possibly less interest to us book fans.

  28. I think Mr. Gaiman already got outed like that by another graphic novelist once in the past. At least, that is a story I have in my head about comic book guys that was related to me by another fanboy.

  29. Just as long as you make sure to let us know if George R.R. Martin is dating her as he owes us a book and shouldn’t be distracted!

    I once rode an elevator with Francis Crick, so if anyone has any questions about genetics, I’m your man.

  30. You mean all quazi-celebrities don’t meet regularly at some undisclosed location to drink brandy and practice secret handshakes? I’m shocked.

  31. I went to college with Margret Hamilton’s niece.

    And I know somebody who once dated Tom Dohrety and a second person who worked with him prior to Tor.

  32. Quite right.

    There’s probably a reason why the word “separation” is in the phrase “six degrees of separation.”

    (Also, I think you mean “by default assumption” to be “my default assumption.”)

  33. Hell, I’ve met both Jim Watson AND Francis Crick. No, I don’t have their phone numbers.

    I know John Scalzi. As in, I’ve read the Whatever, I’ve posted here, I’ve even exchanged e-mails. I’ve met the man, seen him speak, knows what he looks like. Can verify that yes, he does sit in the bar at SF cons… for hours. And yes, he does drink the occasional case of Coke Zero. I have EVEN, been on panels at SF cons with John, including one at Penguicon 7.0 that I suggested and put his name (and the name of that deadbeat Wil Wheaton) forward as someone who should be on that panel.

    But when I finish some novels this fall during my sabbatical, I’m not likely to e-mail the draft to John for him to look at, or bug him about recommending me to his agent and publisher(s), just because we’ve crossed paths a couple of times. He’s not someone I’d count on to come up to Kalamazoo and help me move 17 years of junk out of my office if I don’t have a job a year from now. I’m not going to call him up and borrow a thousand dollars for a transmission rebuild. Or show up at his place and ask to crash on his floor for the night if I happened to be passing by.

    In short, John is a friend in a sort of global electronic village sense — but not a friend. And I’d never ask, or expect to be asked by, anyone for gossip and dirt on celebrities.

    Anyone else is unclear on the concept.

    Dr. Phil

  34. I live in a town called Palmer, Alaska, so that sort of makes Amanda Palmer my business, Scalzi. You should have told me.

    Also, I think you should try the official Palmer lightning bolt eyebrows, it could be a good look for you.

  35. Since you are the king of bloggers, you must know everything about everyone else who blogs, right? So we can e-mail you, in a piqued mood, about not spilling the personal details of the lives of all the famous bloggers.
    Sheesh! Even if I did suspect you knew Neil Gaiman and/or Amanda Palmer, I’d expect you to keep any personal information about them to yourself. I don’t think it’s anyone’s business unless the people in question want to make it public. Frankly, I’m happy to know that he’s happy after recently learning of his divorce. But, at least, I know it’s really none of my business.

  36. I look at it this way… I kinda know Scalzi since I comment on his blog(*cough*)… and he once exchanged emails with Gaiman who’s dating Amanda Palmer. So in my eyes, I almost dated Amanda Palmer. Yeah, that’s it…

    In other comments.. WTF? People before you send mails to Scalzi,take your damn meds…

  37. A friend of mine was at one time running the official fan club for one of the Star Trek actors. All that means is that she had this person’s blessing to run a club and did in fact know how to get hold of the actor via their agent, but there were members of the club who were absolutely convinced that she was having in-depth, personal conversations all the time with this person, and they wanted to know the inside details, dammit! She had a hard time convincing them that no, she wasn’t holding out on them, and the most she ever talked about with this actor was upcoming TV/film work and convention appearances.

  38. Ridiculous email. Hope it was a joke. Good response.

    [Name-dropping about “famous people I have met” deleted because after I wrote it it seemed kind of tasteless. Suffice to say that, while I like and admire many of the “famous” people I have met, I wouldn’t presume to consider any of them “friends” as such, and my actual friends are all non-famous (for values of ‘famous’ that extend beyond fandom).]

  39. For the record, my squee-upon-meeting-you didn’t happen until I got home and I realized what a fantastically fantastic opportunity I’d enjoyed. “I just spent two days hanging out and being sarcastic with John Scalzi. Whoa!”

    And *then* the squee. And the name-dropping. And the posting of photos-as-proof. And the claiming that we are *for now and always* BFFs. Because aren’t we?

    By the way, why aren’t you returning my calls?

  40. The really amusing bit is the idea that famous people should somehow be announcing that they are dating and that if they don’t take out a New York Times ad saying “We’re together” it is somehow a “secret affair”. There is a difference between “not particularly anyone’s business” and secret.

    11 minutes ago, the man himself fired off this tweet:

    “neilhimself RT @aiela: news flash: @neilhimself and Amanda Palmer are dating. Also in the news: sky blue, water wet, babies cry.”

  41. And, really, anybody who’s been reading this for even a little while should have been convinced by Chang that it’s your cat who’s the omniscient one of the household.

  42. My brother-in-law is Peter David. Harlan Ellison was the best man at the wedding.

    It’s fun watching the reactions I get when I mention this. (Though, it really depends on the context–some people are impressed, others are baffled.)

  43. Great Big Nerd @ 24:

    I can sort of speak to this. No one will ever mistake me for famous or even notable (and those who do, please get help. There are trained professionals to get you through this.), I did sort of go through what a lot of people do when they keep private details to themselves.

    When my first wife and I separated, we chose not to tell anyone, including family, until the holidays that year. So there were several months where maybe one or two people said, “Hey, how come you never talk about Diane anymore?” The real reason was, of course, “None of your business.”

    So we waited until the holidays and broke the news to our families, then told the world at large, including coworkers. Shortly after that, both Diane and I started seeing other people. Hey, it’s public. Nothing to hide now, right?

    Well, I still get questions of “Why did you marry a woman only four months after you left your wife?”

    Answer: Because you’re leaving out about six-nine months where the marriage was over that you were not privy to.

    So how does this apply to Neil Gaiman?

    Simple. Neil Gaiman has exactly the same rights as a person as I do. The difference is not too many people are interested in my personal life. But just because a lot of people are in Neil Gaiman’s doesn’t change the fact that you still don’t have an absolute right to know if he doesn’t tell you.

    As to why someone would ask John about that is beyond me. Celebrity worship is the most pervasive form of mental illness in the world today.

  44. And namedropping about “famous people you have met” is a close second. If your self-image is so poor that you have to bolster it up with such references then you have a whole different set of problems coming your way.

  45. My own almost-but-not-quite brushes with fame:

    I know Tom Hanks’ brother.

    I have a friend whose brother is a screenwriter (and the creator of Castle).

    I went to college with a guy who dated that kid from Who’s the Boss.

    I worked with a girl who went to high school with one of the sisters from Charmed.

    (I just wanted to see how ridiculous I could get. Heehee.)

  46. @50: I think you are largely right, except in the context of a discrete “these are famous people I’ve met” conversation, which I think is a perfectly fine way to kill some time. I think it’s when folks mistake “I’ve met” with “I know” or “I’ve met” and “therefore I can speak for or authoritatively about” that it’s a problem.

  47. I was once in a bathroom dressed up as a psychotic circus clown, covered in blood, and tied to a chair when then NJ Governor Christine Todd Whitman tried to come in to see me. But the door was locked at the time.

    Hard as it might be to believe, true story.

  48. Who couldn’t have guessed that, anyway? Not that it matters. Or that it’s any of our business. But really, if you read NG’s blog, it seems like it was a good bet.

  49. I’m related to Jimmy Buffet. He’s my mother’s second cousin’s brother in law. The second cousin is Thomas McGuane, the novelist and screenwriter. He wrote the screenplay for The Missouri Breaks, the only movie starring Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando that no one has ever heard of. This is because the movie is terrible. MAD magazine parodied it with the introduction “As you watch, you’ll wonder when The Misery Breaks.” His last collection of short stories includes characters based on my grandparents.

    WHO CARES? Not me. I can win a game of 6 Degrees very easily, but that’s about it.

  50. People should feel encouraged to carry on sending you such emails, mind you, as they result in entertaining rants.

    I just became a degree of separation from Barack Obama this week, as he shook hands with President Mubarak of Egypt, who I once shook hands with and said hallo to. But I don’t know Obama. I don’t know Mubarak either – he was shaking hands with all sorts of publishers’ reps at the Cairo Book Fair in January 1991, of which I was one.

  51. John,

    Do you think Twitter will make this type of thing even more of a problem, as people might feel even more of a “personal” daily connection to you?

    /Serious question is serious

  52. If we’re establishing connections to Barack (I call him that), then I’m only one step further on the same route. When I was in High School Band, I got to play the Egyptian National Anthem when Sadat came to meet with Gerald Ford. We didn’t shake hands or anything but he was really tight with Mubarak…who shook hands with Barack just the other day.


    (P.S. I’m confident that Sadat isn’t dating anyone at the moment, but I’ll let you know if that changes.)

  53. And while we’re on the subject, Neil Armstrong lives two towns over from me and near the CEO of my company and Peter Frampton, whom the DJ my wife used to work with knows in passing.

    Therefore, I am an expert not only on the space program, I am also a veritable encyclopedia of rock stars who know, worked with, or ever uttered the name Peter Frampton.

  54. I just glanced at the article, so forgive me if I’m off base with my comment but this touches on something I feel fairly strongly about.

    I once spent a few years as a bartender. I quickly learned that I could cause a great deal of harm, even possibly divorces if I chose to. It didn’t take too long to learn to just keep my mouth shut….mind my own business both on and off the job. What I saw while working there was noone’s business but the actual parties involved. Neil can do whatever the hell he likes, as long as he’s not injuring anyone in the process. Don’t care, not interested. Hell, there’s times you find yourself actually not wanting to know stuff when you learn of it.

    Everyone is entitled to their privacy, even public figures barring those who preach an elevated level of ethics to the rest of us immoral chimps. They are fair game, you can draw a target on them if you like.

    To be honest, I’d be very disappointed, extremely so, to see something like this in your site. So, if you did know something, good for you for not telling us. It’s none of our freaking business.

  55. Don’t you know you work for US????????? ;-):-);-)

    And, while we’re at it, I think you should change the way you write. I want phonetic spelling and worse plots.

    ;-):-) some more :-)

    I’ve been so disappointed Obama wouldn’t put me at the top of the ticket in Colorado and be my Veep candidate; I voted for him and everything, and all for what?

    Oh, and all :-)

  56. I thank heavens every day that I am not famed in any way. I, too, am only one degree of separation from Mr. Gaiman, yet did not know this tidbit until today. At which point I though, “how cute, he made an announcement at a shared gig!” and moved on to being baffled by the fan uproar. Yet no one will ever email me to ask why on earth I didn’t tell them, and thus I will be saved having to verbally eviscerate them.

    You show great restraint, Mr. Scalzi. I’m impressed. :-)

    (That’s the smiley face of tongue-in-cheek-ness)

    (NB for the insatiably curious: I live in Minneapolis, the largest small town in the world. Everyone’s a friend of a friend, if not closer. It’s not as cozy as it sounds.)

  57. I would just forward the email you received to Perez Hilton because it was obviously mistakenly sent to you.

  58. Wait, wasn’t Amanda Palmer that girl that got killed in that small town in the northeast near the Canadian border? They found her wrapped in plastic or something, didn’t they?

  59. I once asked a question at Neil Gaiman’s website which he chose to answser on his blog, so clearly I know Neil. We’re close.

    And now you tell me that I’ve been jilted for Amanda Palmer?

    Damn you, Scalzi!!!

  60. @ tt #73

    Oh, well that’s a relief. I thought maybe there could have been a Neil Gaiman – Killer Bob connection and we could have cracked that case. I hear the detective working on it went nuts.

  61. Amanda Palmer? Wasn’t she the missing girl in Twin Peaks?

    Apart from the chutzpah of the email, I still have to wonder at people who spend so much of their lifetime consuming celebrity gossip in the first place. It doesn’t really matter whether the person is the most famous person in the world or just a regional personality, there’s always an obsessed fan out there.

    Unless you plan on stalking them, how does their personal life impact on your life at all? I can understand wanting to emulate a person you admire, but do you really need to know the fabric and color of their underwear in order to model your behavior after them?

    This is why I’ll never be a good fiction writer or actor. I have enough trouble figuring out my own irrational behavior, let alone pathological examples.

  62. I’m only worried if Palmer is going to smash Gaiman’s typing fingers with a hammer.

    Otherwise, what my favourite writers do with their genitals in the presence of consenting adults is not only none of my business but rather boring.

  63. “Wil Wheatons’ undershorts” would be a good name for a band.

  64. Also not famous for anything, but just off the top of my head…I met every astronaut in the Gemini and Apollo programs. I saw JFK speak the day before he died, and I once shook hands with Nixon. And I was an extra in MARS ATTACKS, which pretty much guarantees me a “Bacon number” of 2 from near-infinite approaches, even though the background scene I was in got cut.

    (I’ve also met John Scalzi, which generates a small-b bacon number of 1.)

  65. As several people above have mentioned TNG, there are two actors on that show whom I’m one degree of separation from: Dan Roebuck, who played a Romulan in the two-parter “Unification” and is better known as Arzt in season 1 of Lost among many other roles (an old friend of one of my siblings), and Jonathan Frakes, who was an orthodontic patient of my dad’s more than 40 years ago. I’m unlikely to ever meet them; that’s OK.

    Oh yeah, and I might be related to David Duchovny about 100 years back – that is, if he had family from Odessa, Ukraine – although now that he’s stained the family name, I’m just as glad my maternal grandfather’s surname was changed by the probably Irish immigration officers to “Dennis” when his family arrived in the US.

  66. GWH @63:

    Actually, back around 1992 I fired off a letter to Mr. Niven with regard to his book ‘Fallen Angels’… being a California native, I guess he didn’t realize the impossibility of driving around in a rear-wheel drive van at 60 mph in foot-deep snow. Anyway he wrote a short note back along the lines that ‘he was supposed to have editors to catch that kind of thing’… anyway, if memory serves, he signed the letter so the autograph is taken care of. The request was purely facetious. Irony and all that.

  67. Re: Larry Niven’s autograph… I bet you can get it at Worldcon! He’s super nice. You have only to ask him nicely and he will surely acquiesce.

    Re: Knowing everything AND Larry Niven… I was once at a Larry Niven panel where, when he opened it up for questions, he said, “Apparently, I know everything, so just ask me.” So, why didn’t Larry Niven tell us all about Neil and Amanda???

    Re: Neil Gaiman… Lucky Amanda. *glossy-eyed starry look* *sigh* How long until Worldcon??? :)

  68. Oh Lordy, I can believe the sender was serious. I, too, have a small number of relatives and friends in “high” places, both in entertainment and politics, and it’s a rare month that someone doesn’t take me to task about something I should have known (I usually didn’t) and should have blabbed about (why, it’s none of the world’s business?) Since you didn’t, you couldn’t, and if you had, I hope that you would have not, as I suspect you already have about any number of things.

    Good manners are the lubricant of civilized behaviour, or something like that. RAH?

  69. Also, when I was a small child, I was picked up and swung around by Batman. And I have sold movie tickets to Steve Martin, John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Michael Douglas, Malcolm MacDowell, Joe Cocker, and Richard Simmons. Also, a cousin is director of photography on a popular ‘cop’ procedural show that is neither a CSI NOR a Law & Order franchisee. He has even directed a couple of episodes.

    They are all my bffs.

  70. I hope this doesn’t mean even heavier rotation of that damned “Coin Operated Boy” song on college radio. It was cute the first 700 times. Just my grumpy, geriatric opinion.

  71. Hm. I have a one degree of separation from Neil Patrick Harris, as the woman who played the nurse on DOOGIE HOWSER is married to a friend of mine.

    Then again, she’s a delightful person, a hugely talented stage actress, drop dead gorgeous, and have a hell of a good time whenever I’m around her–so why should I care?

  72. What’s really funny about this is that I figured out purely from context clues that Gaiman and Palmer were dating, probably about a month ago. I can’t imagine I was the only person who heard about this and thought, “Uh huh, I saw that coming.” So I don’t see why this random weirdo emailing you even needs you to tell them this stuff. Duh, just PAY ATTENTION!

  73. Wait, but you have a blog… and he has a blog… Are you really telling me everyone on the internets doesn’t know each other?

    Shoot, no wonder Wil Wheaton keeps ignoring my emails requesting an introduction to monorail cat.

  74. John: Glad you found the missing “Not” and restored it unto its rightful place.

    FWIW, I’m related to absolutely no one who is famous. Makes me feel kinda special, actually… ☺

  75. You’re… you’re dating Nick.

    I see.

    You’ve just taken the anticipation out of Anticipation.

    No, I’m all right. Or, should I say, alright.

  76. My uncle was an extra in Mars Attacks, though most of the scene was cut. That puts me 2 degrees away from Tully @79. I’m too lazy to figure out the further implications of that connection.

  77. I’m BFF with everyone; that’s why I’m typing this from home on a Friday night.

    OK, I’m two marriages away from Gilligan’s peeps.

  78. I know someone who knows John Scalzi. I know someone who knows both Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer.

    I am really not happy that I was left out of the loop of this ever important gossip. My friends are going to get a stern talking to. I refuse to be out TMZ!

  79. I’m so nervous about having people get mad at me that unless I know for sure about something (or especially if I’m upset about something), I usually redact names IF I feel the need to talk abut it on my blog.

    I’ve met a lot of very nice people that I admired from afar before. I’ve been an SF fan for a long time and a scant few of those nice people have become friends, sometimes from long distance and sometimes in person.

    The only (and actually best) thing about trying to attain a Worldcon for KC in 2006 and 2009 is the number of nice people I’ve met in fandom, and the friends I’ve made across the country and internationally.

    I have enough to blog about without that stuff. Especially cats and cherries (soon, soon, they are trending toward pinkness…)

    Best wishes and thanks for your GoH stint at ConQuesT.

  80. mister slim #95: Was he at the Burns shoots? They cut my scene but at least I got to see them blow the donut. That was KEWL.

  81. You mean Whatever is not a gossip column? The tag line calls the river shallow and the bed dark and deep. I could have sworn this was the place for dishin’ out the info. Hm!

  82. mythago @ 24: Yup, you’re right, that is exactly what Scalzi was writing about. Glad we’re both on the same page. I guess you read English, too.

    eviljwinter@ 49: People have a real hard time with “none of your business” for some reason, even when it’s the best answer. I certainly hope my comment wasn’t interpreted to imply that I think Gaiman (or Scalzi or anyone else) owes us any more than they care to share about their personal lives. Honestly, I couldn’t care less if he’s dating someone I’ve barely heard of from a band whose music I’ve never listened to. Good for them, hope they’re happy.

    I was just observing that Gaiman’s got his own space to make whatever announcements he chooses to about what’s going on with him, which he very rarely does, thinking that perhaps it adds an extra layer of silliness to someone expecting Mr. Scalzi to keep us updated about what Neil’s doing these days. That’s all. Carry on.

  83. Scalzi breezily pantomimed:

    and they were very cool once I got all my squeee over and done with.

    Unfortunately, I have doubts about this. I suspect that, once the surface squee had been melted away from a burgeoning BFF with Gaiman, Scalzi would try to dig down the foundations of the friendship and slam into a pesky layer of perma-squee.

  84. Just so we’re clear, my ex-wife’s best friend’s mother once taught Italian to Robert Towne. So obviously I’m an expert on all things related to the film Chinatown, including the true story about Roman Polanski. It also makes me an expert on the equally classic film Tequila Sunrise and the personal lives of its stars (Mel Gibson, Kurt Russell, Michele Pfeiffer).

    Perhaps more importantly, the husband of that same best friend of my ex-wife had a role in Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time. So if you have any burning unanswered questions on that classic SF film, please let me know. Because obviously that makes me a Hollywood insider with access to all the dirt on Marc Singer and Wings Hauser.

  85. Oh gosh…If I choose to admire someone, I go and hang around his/her blog, write some useless comments and thats it. I would be ultimately pissed if there would be random people who would like to know EVERYTHING about my and/or my friends lives, just cause I can act/write/masturbate/whatever better than your avarage Joe and made a living out of it. I imgine that most famous people feel the same. So I try not to bother them! If hey choose to tell how long their private member is, or something like that, go ahead, but I’m not intrested.

  86. Well, last time I checked, the title on this blog was “Whatever” NOT TMZ…which gives the owner the right to publish or not publish whatever he chooses at any given point in time.

    And I had an uncle that was an extra in the big casino scene at the end of RUSH HOUR 2, he was part of the masses fleeing when the place blows up. Think he had about 2 seconds screen time. Said his only concern during the shoot was “don’t fall running up the stairs to the exit!”

  87. To modify (considerably) something said by the late F.M. Busby (in a fanzine, back before he became a Pro s-f Writer): “Having fans is like having teen-age kids in the household, only all the kids eventually grow up, whereas new, clueless, fans keep coming along”.

    Thanks for the delightful Rant, and I hope you expect to see it quoted in future years — it deals perfectly with a recurrent problem.

  88. John, because of certain knowledge now in hand, and since we have exchanged a few emails in the past, I just want to let you know up front – Please don’t share the personal details of my life on your blog even though you know no such details, and likely never will. Thanks.

  89. Wait, this person, who seems utterly fascinated with Neil Gaiman’s private life, DIDN’T KNOW that they were dating? What, the morning pictures of her at his house, and her constant presence in his blog posts were TOO SUBTLE????


  90. I worked with the brother of an action film actor for, what, year and a half, some 10 years ago. Also, my uni flat-mate used to train at the same dojo as the very same action film actor, some 15-20 years ago.

    Nonetheless, I am pretty sure that the action film actor in question has never heard of me, the broter of said film actor would probably not recognise me, though I suspect ex-flat-mate would.

  91. You know, I bet John Scalvi would have told us.

    My husband met Jack Nicholson once, so that makes us experts on The Shining, obviously. (Jack told him that he liked his shoes.)

  92. Tully @ 79: (I’ve also met John Scalzi, which generates a small-b bacon number of 1.)

    As one who made Scalzi his own personal Bacon Explosion, I guess my bacon number would be 0.

    And John, how are those arteries doing? Are you still sweating pork fat? (not a euphemism)

  93. @Tully, #100

    It was a funeral scene shoot in Kansas. I don’t really remember any more than that. I think I would have remembered stories of a donut exploding, so probably not.

  94. What’s this? An entire post about celebrity dating?

    I am shocked, shocked to see this website sink so into the morass of celebrity gossip-mongering.

  95. Yes, John, but when are you going to tell us about your MENAGE A TROIS with the two of them? (Oh God, I hope I didn’t just open up a portal to Gaiman/Scalzi slash. It could feature something like this, a la Last Tango in Paris: )

    Get the bacon.

    Right, that’s probably enough to get me banned from this blog. And deservedly so.

  96. I love the comments one of John’s rants produces. It makes me smile to know that not everyone one here thinks the same as the email sender – if said sender was being serious.

    And truth be told I believe that if surveyed everyone here would have a link or tie to “someone” famous. Which is not a bad thing, I have a few myself and I share them with friends and receive stories back. It’s fun it’s silly and totally meaningless – as long as we all understand that that is all it was or is. A brief moment passing in a corridor or photoshopped image sent in response to a comment on a blog etc. It is also good to remember that these “celebrities” are also real people who have BBQ’s with neighbours, go to the dentist and post letters.

    ‘Nuff said…

  97. mister slim #133: They built the donut shop in Burns (“Perkinsville”) just for the film. They built the giant donut itself in LA and trucked it to Burns in pieces. Later, as part of the “Perkinsville” invasion sequence, they blew up the giant donut. I think the crowd that turned out to watch was about three times the population of Burns. It was awesome.

  98. Wouldn’t it have been easier to use the actual giant doughnuts and not build a new one?

  99. You can’t just blow up an important historical landmark like a giant doughnut.

  100. My last name is Wrigley but I can’t get you free chewing gum. All my life, this has struck me as deeply unfair.

  101. Yes, I know, I don’t know you… but I still would like to say that this is a brilliantly hilarious and incredibly well written article. Not the underlying topic of course, that is just sad, but you handled it beautifully. Thank you.

  102. I have met Neil Gaiman, and had multiple letters published on his blog, including one with his full name. Also, he totally made an @reply to me on Twitter. We’re so tight.

    I have also met Barack Obama, and sold books to him. Most importantly, I made him chuckle. We have a solemn bond — you know the bond between bookseller and booksellee. It is very solen.

    With all due respect to Mr. Scalzi, if Neil Gaiman and Barack Obama ever started dating, I will shout it from the rooftops in fangirl glee.

  103. Only after reading Spin’s article on Palmer’s and Gaiman’s performance did I learn they were dating. The article’s picture of them hugging did not clue me in; reading Gaiman’s tweets which are peppered with references to Palmer did not clue me in.
    After reading the article I remember thinking: Man, I am soooo slow, and I’m always the last person to know these things. “These things” being who’s dating who, even as it pertains to one of my favorite authors of all time.
    So, I was again surprised to learn that most everyone else was as clueless as I was and perhaps I’m not so slow after all? Well, at least not in this instance:)
    In any event, kudos to Palmer and Gaiman for keeping their business, well, their business. Because at the end of the day, it really is none of ours.

  104. I follow your site; I had never the impression that your themes were about gossip and the personal life of anyone, never mind how famous s/he is.
    You are not a paparazzi or an editor of tabloids. Not as far as I know.
    I can but congratulate you for this. That you know people or not is irrelevant. Your site has never been a tabloid and I sincerely wish it will never become one.

  105. Rachel – Were you working at that indie bookstore in Chicago I hear Obama frequented?

  106. Coming far too late to the party..

    1) And? This couldn’t have been intuited by Mr Neil’s photoblogging? (Some of us don’t tweet, BTW)

    2) So? I suppose some people needed to go to GoogleAnswers to confirm his marital status in the first place…

    3) What? Is anyone not jealous? Seriously? Come on now.

    Oh, John – serious apologies for not speculating about your own social life. Serves you right for being all married and stuff. Give us a little filth and we will happily extrapolate for you. Assuming Greg’s comment isn’t just idle speculation, of course..? *fans self*

  107. i ‘met’ Pete Wentz. No wait, I just saw him from three feet away and he talked to people around me. i don’t know him (although how awesome would that be?) and even if I did, his secrets are his secrets, not mine, right?