Thursday, June 29, 2006

Boy I hate that John Hodgman guy

Okay, now this is the last straw. I just read a thoughtful essay about some new comics written by Hodgman for The New York Times, in which he shows not only a sensitivity to the merits and flaws of each individual work, but an awareness of the field of alternative comics, both historically and current. And I'm really sick of this crap. Is there anything this guy can't do?

He's a former professional literary agent for, among others, actor
Bruce Campbell and penned the column "Ask a Former Professional Literary Agent" for McSweeney's. He's been in The Paris Review and on This American Life. He's started The Little Grey Book Lectures with musician Jonathan Coulton. He's the author of a brilliantly funny book, The Areas of My Expertise: An Almanac of Complete World Knowledge Compiled with Instructive Annotation and Arranged in Useful Order by Me, John Hodgman, a Professional Writer, in the Areas of My Expertise, which Include Matters Historical; Matters Literary; Matters Cryptozoological; Hobo Matters; Food, Drink, & Cheese (a Kind of Food); Squirrels & Lobsters & Eels; Haircuts; Utopia; What Will Happen in the Future; and Most Other Subjects; Illustrated with a Reasonable Number of Tables and Figures, and Featuring the Best of "Were You Aware of It?", John Hodgman's Long-Running Newspaper Novelty Column of Strange Facts and Oddities of the Bizarre. It includes, among many other things, the hilarious "700 Hobo Names", which is exactly what it sounds and now appears in visual and audio form. (That's Coulton playing "Big Rock Candy Mountain" in the background.)

And then there's television. He's begun appearing as The Daily Show's "Resident Expert", declaring that he conducts himself "with the irrepressible brio of the pimp" and namedrops Lobot when talking about the Bush administration's Iraq policy. And he's appeared as a stuffy PC in Apple's new Get a Mac ads. But he's so witty and charming in these ads that, as plenty of observers have noted, they are self defeating. Hodgman wins you over, while Justin Long plays the part of the annoying pretentious urban hipster Mac cultist so unwittingly well that you want to strangle him with his own hoodie. (And this from someone who once thought of himself as an annoying pretentious urban hipster Mac cultist!)

Did I mention he also has a blog? You'd probably rather be reading that, wouldn't you?

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