The Online Water Tower

I killed the other blog I had. It was for a show I did 4 years ago. It only had 7 page views. I think it was the right decision. There’s only so much space on the internet for useless garbage. Also, I don’t want to confuse people with multiple blogs.

A few years ago, I cleaned out a trunk full of old journals filled with pages bemoaning my terrible time dating and figuring out how to become an actor. I think the world is better off with those chunks of paper sent off to compost. There must’ve been 30 of them. The act of clearing them out ended my hobby of journaling. I’ve picked up a few since then and have written some deranged notes about this or that but nothing consistently. I guess I don’t need it as much.

I used to worry about whether my handwritten journals would ever be seen by others. Partly this was out of concern that it would be embarrassing but also because I didn’t want to be unclear to my unknown reader.

There was a story in The Times today about a female student at Duke University writing a fake thesis with a Power Point presentation on her sexual encounters with 13 student-athletes during her time there. It leaked to the internet and the names were not hidden.

On the one hand, it was a joke for a few friends. On the other, it’s an object lesson on some basic dos and don’ts. Is it more embarrassing for the girl or her former partners?

It’s fair to wonder whether the person you decide to date or even hook up with is digitally trustworthy. Years ago, the raging jilted would take to a water tower or overpass with a can of spray paint to say what a slut or asshole someone was. I remember as a kid feeling sorry for those people who had their names plastered for drivers by to see.

Fame without discretion drives so much of the pop culture and its coverage now. When we went by those paint scrawls, we didn’t know who actually did the spray painting. Now the tagger and the subject both get their 15 cyber minutes of infamy. And it’s caused some fatal outcomes.

I’ve endured some humiliation and ridicule but nothing to the degree of this recent spate. Hopefully it’s a tasteless fad that will even out. I have a friend, a talented and intelligent person, who started a tell-all dating blog under another name. I know because she sent out a mass email requesting page views and to send potential dates her way. She said she wanted to get the attention of industry people who might find it funny. The blog is similar to the Duke student’s fake thesis. It is easy to figure out who the subjects are. I can’t imagine why anyone in their right mind would send someone to face this, unless they hate that person and are getting some kind of revenge. If the blog was an upfront part of the dating process and potential dates knew about it, then they get what they get like the fame junkies on a reality tv show. But this sneaky approach makes me not trust this friend and I don’t know that anything can be done about it, except to keep a polite distance from this person.

There is a difference between clowns or comedians who know how to play with an audience and those who don’t. The truly skilled ones never put the joke on those in the seats but always back on themselves. They never ask the audience to carry their workload for them. Real funny doesn’t begin with picking a fight.

If someone is heckling or making it a bad environment for other patrons, then the comic can unload on that person all they want. I saw an amazing comic in London reduce a jerk in the audience who was trying to insult the comic. He responded, “Are you still talking? Have you noticed no one laughs when you do that?” The audience cracked up. “Do you hear that? I did that. There it is again. And again. I can do this all night. You nothing.”

Those that go after their audience or the unsuspecting with online or live bully pulpits are weak. To do so to gain notoriety is just plain gross.