Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Karen Show

My office. Tonight John cut off the excess foam where the wall meets the ceiling.

At one point tonight, John and I were
both trapped behind furniture.

For some reason, I didn't feel like accomplishing anything much tonight. I read a little of a friend's novel in revision, enjoyed a bit of Scalzi's book on writing (nicknamed Coffee Shop), checked in from time to time on the debate over whether Barbara Bauer's deleted article on Wikipedia should be reinstated, watched House, helped John move things around in my office (see above), watched the second half of The Truman Show, and watched a Doctor Who two-parter from the Christopher Eccleston season that relaunched the show and the character.

You've heard of The Truman Show, right? Great film. For every moment of the thirty years since his birth, Truman, played by Jim Carrey, has been the only real person in an artificial world, interacting with actors while hidden cameras record his every move in the ultimate 24-hour a day reality show. Eventually he figures it out, rebels and escapes, undeterred by the tricks and arguments of the show's creator.

And it occurred to me, as Jim Carrey's character stepped out of the world created for him and into the real one, that we bloggers something in common with Truman. This is especially true of those of us who update one or more times a day. We're not generally the people with webcams, so it's not televised; but still we perform daily for the world. Unlike the character, I know pretty much exactly is going on, and I choose to do it, for a much smaller audience than his. Truman was manipulated by his Svengali, the Ed Harris character, who improvised the dialogue and situations. Me, I write my own scripts, but I also follow scenarios set by John Scalzi, whichever Robin has suggested the current photo challenge, and occasionally some other meme. And although you've probably never seen video of me, you've seen my picture. I'll be interested to see whether Scalzi recognizes me when I drive up to Phoenix next month for a book signing. Under his Law of Internet Invocation, I've probably just guaranteed that he will.

So what does that say about the modern world, when people like me look for something in their lives with which to entertain others online, night after night, for three years and counting? What does it say about us that a fee-charging literary agent is as famous for trying, unsuccessfully, to suppress unfavorable attention online as she is for being on the 20 Worst Agents list in the first place?

Beats me.


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