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I am not John Ball


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Okay, so I've been a bad robot, and I doubt I'll get better, but I can change. Not for the better, but a change nonetheless.

When Happyrobot World Industries hired me to write for their steam-rolling foray into the Internet, I imagined I'd write skewering social satire, or horribly gut-busting (or wrenching) bits of vitriol and self-revelatory pap about my many lusts, anxieties or disappointments--or just the banal observations I so dearly love. And honestly, there were things I wanted to say, to tell the world.

I chose the moniker John Ball, swore Mr. Robot to a silly secrecy, and then, of course, produced very little (or nothing) of the sort listed above. At least, nothing lustful or too embarrassing, nothing accusingly true either--naked, raw (ouch!). So I started telling people it was me, Evan ______, writing as your friendly John Ball. Who cares, right?

Everyone, it seems, has an online self, a web journal, a marketing tool, and has for years. It may promote their TV show, and the TV show promotes their website and the website promotes the blog, and all are designed to launch a film career. It's de rigueur, or as Hammer says, Proper. And as Hammer is, passť.

I meet someone at a party and I immediately read their IMDB biography the next day when their name is fresh in my mind, or an interview, or their blog. The best is when they are mentioned in someone else's blog--a friendblog. So not only will I read something by the friend of an acquaintance I don't know, but Google the friend and keep reading, and on and on. I'll search for them on Orkut or Friendster, and see we're in the same "Jessica O. and her big fat mouth" community. Everyone does this right? Information is power?--frees you from constipation? Hypertext is a tool for passive gossip? We're all closer--we're all a community. Then why am I so lonely. (Sorry, just kidding. Or am I?)

So, what am I getting at? I want to give you, dear reader, more of the "just who is Evan Smith Rakoff." What makes him itch? Why is he scratching himself? And the beauty of the web is you don't actually have to be friends or call or write (ever) to know these intimacies.

Just as Tamara is now Tim. John Ball is now Evan _________, darling child of Bob and Betty Smith (Rest in Peace), proud son of the great state of North Carolina, husband to the lovely and talented Joanna, resident of the Lower East Side (Yum!), part of the east coast cultural elite (and why not? I've tickets to Tony Kushner's 4-hour Homebody/Kabul on Saturday), trendsetter, lover of cornbread, pulled pork, and anything he can eat with his hands. A giant of a man with giant appetites (yes, I lust in my heart), a hot new property, necessarily deluded.

And the nakedly self-promotional world says "Welcome Evan, come join us, sign our mailing list."

My name is Evan. I live in New York. Please tell your friends that a bidding war has started over my feature-length screenplay, Winkler.

I love you yet I do not know you.



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post #24
bio: john ball
perma-link
5/21/2004
14:55

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