- Category: Opinion
- Written by Jim Dee
Months ago, I'd been lurking in a screenwriter chat room when another lurker, ChaTgrrl, invited me into a private room. Fortunately, I'd set my chat client to save the transcript. Otherwise, I'd have no "proof" that I'd ever met and nearly entered into a steamy affair with Charlize Theron. But, geek that I am, I did save the transcript. We'll pick up the more interesting part of the conversation in medias res, as it were, since the smalltalk at the beginning would be of little interest here -- aside from my excited realization that "ChaTgrrl" didn't mean "chat girl"; it meant " Charlize Theron girl" ... yes, quite a revelation!. (BTW, I took the liberty of adding parentheticals on Charlize's behalf):
ChaTgrrl: (giddily) I loved reading your screenplay, Patrick. I can't believe U just post it on your blog for free.
PHizzle: Yeah, well, I figure it's better for people to read it and be entertained than to sit in my desk drawer.
ChaTgrrl: So, U don't think anyone will steal your ideas?
PHizzle: I doubt it ... Besides, there's that famous quote from Tim O'Reilly: "Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy."
ChaTgrrl: Cool quote ...
PHizzle: I read it on Cory Doctorow's web site.
ChaTgrrl: Who's he?
PHizzle: One of the BoingBoing editors.
ChaTgrrl: (indifferent) O yeah ... I know that blog. (suddenly vibrant) But your blog is better!
PHizzle: I should send you flowers for saying that!
ChaTgrrl: I adore flowers!
PHizzle: Blogs are virtual flowers, aren't they?
ChaTgrrl: (intrigued) How so?
PHizzle: Well, they start life modestly, each finding its way. They bloom, following the warm, life-giving issues of the day like obedient heliotropes. In time, they wither and self-compost back into the virtual soil of the Internet.
ChaTgrrl: (impressed) Wow, Patrick. I didn't realize U could write so deeply and beautifully right off the cuff like that.
PHizzle: I can't, really. This is all a fantasy, so I went back and rewrote that remark six or seven times. Do you think I'd use a word like "heliotrope" in casual conversation?
ChaTgrrl: (giggling) You're so modest ... So, U can't further that flower metaphor?
PHizzle: Well, sure, I suppose ... See, while blogs are "alive," they send feelers off to other blogs. Or maybe it's akin to a mating ritual of sorts.
ChaTgrrl: (*blushes*) Ooh la la!
PHizzle: You know: Blogger "A" comments on Blogger "B's" blog for the first time, having followed a link on a blogroll, having clicked on a profile link next to a witty comment, or having clicked that magic "random blog" button in desperation for a new voice to fill a void. B comments back. A comments again. So does B. Sooner or later, they exchange links, and before you know it--
ChaTgrrl: (interrupting) Not always, though ...
PHizzle: True. Other times it doesn't go so well. That precious link-back isn't granted, or maybe you discover that the blogger you initially found witty and refreshing is actually neither. Who knows why blog relationships go bad?
ChaTgrrl: You've thought about this way too much, Patrick. (adding playfully) U need something to take your mind off of blogging.
PHizzle: (intrigued) ... like?
ChaTgrrl: (shyly) Well ...
PHizzle: Well what?
ChaTgrrl: No. This is crazy. I mean I don't even really know U that well.
PHizzle: What's crazy? What RU talking about?!!
ChaTgrrl: (with unabashed honesty) It's just that ... well, I feel drawn to U.
PHizzle: Wait a minute ... Is this the "real" Charlize? The one in the picture, above ... who lays around the house in skimpy black shorts on the kitchen counter like that, back all arched and so forth?
ChaTgrrl: O, U like that photo?
PHizzle: I do, although it looks like Formica and, at least as far as cabinetry is concerned, I had you pegged as either a Corian woman or more likely a polished granite.
ChaTgrrl: U know me soooo well! That totally wasn't my kitchen.
PHizzle: Well that's good. I mean, if you're going to imaginarily date celebrities, you have to have standards, right?
ChaTgrrl: Definitely. And, hey, is this cosmic or what?!
ChaTgrrl: I just noticed a link on your blog to some guy's blog in South Africa.
PHizzle: (cringing a little) Oh, really ... Is that still on there?
ChaTgrrl: Hang on, sugar ... I'm reading a comment you left on his blog ...
ChaTgrrl: OMG! You mentioned me! Did you really say this to him (wait, I'll cut and paste):
After reading your blog, I'm actually embarrassed at how little I know about your part of the world (with the exception of familiarity with Nelson Mandela and Charlize Theron, of course). Besides that, I'd guess that few Americans know very much (relatively speaking) about Africa in general (with the additional exception of ancient Egyptian culture, which is taught in schools presumably worldwide).
PHizzle: Uhhh, yeah, I guess I did write that. But, enough of that. Let's return to that part about your being "drawn" to me!
ChaTgrrl: Wait a minute ... WTF?!
PHizzle: Char, U OK?
ChaTgrrl: What's this diatribe about the American perception of African nations?
PHizzle: Yeah, that. Well, look--
ChaTgrrl: You wrote that Americans associate Africa with:
(1) deep jungles and a giant wilderness with lions, hyenas, and elephants, (2) an enormous third-world conglomeration of small unstable governments funded by blood diamonds, brimming with a dangerous rebel element that you're better off staying away from (unless, possibly, you're an arms dealer); (3) an incomprehensibly large, fertile continent where everyone, ironically, is starving to death; (4) a country rampant with many of the scariest diseases known to man -- not just AIDS, but things like typhoid, cholera, and ebola; and (5) certain American's perception of Africa as simply the "home of black people."
ChaTgrrl: (continuing) Did you really write that?
PHizzle: Well, look, Charlize, I know it sounds awful out of context--
ChaTgrrl: (interrupting) "Out of context"? I don't see in what context your depiction of my home country is very pleasant.
PHizzle: Look, at the time, my words seemed innocent enough to me. After all, the guy had sent me a private message thanking me for an earlier comment. I figured I could engage him in a cultural discourse of sorts, I guess.
ChaTgrrl: By disparaging an entire continent?!
PHizzle: I wasn't disparaging the entire content, Charlize. Really ... I was just summarizing what some people, not me of course, think about Africa -- again, not necessarily what I think about it.
ChaTgrrl: (angrily) Yeah, right.
PHizzle: Looking back, I think maybe I pissed the guy off.
ChaTgrrl: (incredulous) U think?!
PHizzle: Soooooo, can we please just get back to talking about how great my blog is? I Googled some lovey Afrikaans phrases to try on you!
ChaTgrrl: (*exits chat room*)
PHizzle: (to self) C'est la vie.
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On August 30, 2007, wrote:
My Husband better send me real flowers and not blog flowers.