1. Both Charlie’s Angels and the Manson girls were guided by mysterious older men named—you know.

2. Charles Townsend, a.k.a. Charlie of Charlie’s Angels, was a de-facto pimp with an apparent harem of young women other than his trio of gun-wielding detectives; Charlie Manson, a.k.a. Jesus Christ, was a convicted pimp with a documented harem of young women other than his trio of knife-wielding assassins.

3. Charlie’s Angels were observed communicating with Charles Townsend via the telephone; Charlie Manson was said to communicate with his girls via telepathy.

4. In the field, as it were, Charlie’s Angels worked alongside Charles Townsend’s male proxy, an ostensible eunuch named Bosley; the Manson girls, in the field, worked alongside Manson’s male proxy, Tex Watson, who, though not a eunuch, strikingly favored the eunuchlike Mr. Spock.

5. Charlie’s Angels solved murders through connect-the-dots clues; the Manson girls left connect-the-dots clues at houses where they murdered all the occupants.

6. Charlie’s Angels were recruited from California law-enforcement agencies, where their capacity for violence was underestimated by clueless colleagues; the Manson girls were recruited from the California suburbs, where their capacity for violence was underestimated by clueless dates, classmates, friends, neighbors, and family members (not to be confused with Family members).

7. Charles Townsend on liberating the Angels from their previous jobs: “I took them away from all that”; Charlie Manson on liberating his girls from their previous lives: “I took them to my garbage dump and fed them and taught them that in love there’s no wrong.”

8. Charlie’s Angels pioneered the big-hair look, achieved with electric blow dryers; the Manson girls pioneered the no-hair look, achieved with electric clippers.

9. Manson instructed his girls to be “slippies,” not hippies, so that they could slip in and out of mainstream society; Charlie’s Angels were instructed to slip and in out of clandestine society while posing as prostitutes, models, dancers, and so on.

10. The Manson girls sometimes hooked up with faded rock stars, such as Dennis Wilson; Charlie’s Angels sometimes hooked up with faded guest stars, such as Fernando Lamas.

11. Charlie’s Angels never doubted that Charles Townsend was in the right when he unleashed them on suspected wrongdoers; the Manson girls never doubted that Manson was in the right when he unleashed them on unsuspecting jet setters.

12. Charlie’s Angels pursued lawbreakers on the streets of L.A. in product-placement Fords; the Manson girls fled from law officers on the outskirts of L.A. in Erwin Rommel-on-peyote dune buggies.

13. The theme song of Charlie’s Angels, written by Henry Mancini, played over a credits sequence that climaxed with an apocalyptic fireball; the theme song of the Manson girls, written by the Beatles, played in their heads as they attempted to induce the apocalypse.

14. Charlie’s Angels had a pet name for adversaries: turkey, as in “Freeze, turkey!”; the Manson girls had a pet name for adversaries: pig, as in “Death to pigs.”

15. No matter where Charlie’s Angels went in the course of busting strangers, they ultimately regrouped at the offices of Charles Townsend Associates; no matter where the Manson girls went in the course of killing strangers, they ultimately regrouped at Spahn Movie Ranch and, later, in jail.

16. Charlie’s Angel’s were frequently seen laughing after making an arrest; the Manson girls were frequently seen laughing after being arrested.

17. Everything said and done by the Manson girls during their trial was approved by Manson; everything said and done by Charlie’s Angels on their show was approved by Aaron Spelling.

18. Charlie’s Angels inspired a generation of American boys to lock themselves in their bathrooms; the Manson girls inspired a generation of American families to lock every door and window in the house.

19. Charlie’s Angels were denounced for undermining progressive values by pursed-lipped feminists; the Manson girls were denounced for personifying progressive values by tinfoil-hatted reactionaries.

20. Pictured below are two instances of a “gleam.” Is it only the professionalism, the superior grooming and lighting, of the first that makes it appear less demonic than the second? Does the first appear less demonic than the second? Really?

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D. R. HANEY is the author of a novel, Banned for Life, and a nonfiction collection, Subversia, the inaugural publication of TNB Books. Known to friends as Duke, he lives in Los Angeles.

66 responses to “Charlie’s Angels and the Manson Girls: Twenty Fatuous Notes Toward a Comparative Study”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    Duke! You have no idea what an utter joy it is to see you here and with such an awesome piece 🙂
    I have been missing you and your writing and this is great. I knew you were an expert on all things Manson but I didn’t realise you knew so much about the Angels. I do remember us visiting that cemetery where Farah Fawcett had recently been buried though.. And of course your story about the Farah autograph is one of my favourites.
    I’m ashamed to admit I never really liked Charlie’s Angels that much, I preferred Three’s Company. And those Manson girls are the creepiest girls. Albeit very pretty, some of them.
    Z xxxx

    • D.R. Haney says:

      I must say that I’m surprised that even one person commented, Z., and it goes without saying that I’m glad it’s you. It’s just this thing that where I was making these little notes over a long period of time, by way of amusing myself, and then I realized I had enough to post something and I thought, “Oh, what the hell,” and lobbed it up here.

      I wouldn’t say I’m an expert on the Angels. I cheated in two cases: once, when I looked up the names of guest stars, because I had reason not to refer to the guest star whose name came to mind as “faded,” and also when I googled for information on the Angel cars. Otherwise, it’s all from memory, I’m embarrassed to say.

      I personally think only one of the Manson killers was attractive, though some of the other girls, who weren’t charged with murder, were pretty. I’ve been thinking (again) about the Manson case because I’m vaguely hoping to write a book set in L.A. in the same time period, and I’ve been doing research about it.

      You know, I didn’t realize Farrah was buried at that graveyard until we got there. That place is kind of like the Sex Symbol Cemetery, with Marilyn Monroe and Bettie Page buried there also.

      Now: when can we expect a new post from you, Z? It’s been forever.


      • Zara Potts says:

        Her headstone was so weird. And poor old MM’s covered with a thousand lipsticked kisses. It makes me happy to know there’s another book coming – you know you are one of my favourite writers.
        Thanks for not mentioning my shameful Three’s Company confession.
        And funny you should ask about a post from me – I wrote one just the other day.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          You’ll post it soon, I hope.

          Three’s Company wasn’t so bad. I did a movie with Suzanne Somers’ replacement. She hated me. No, we did not get on at all. And I was kind of floored at the level of reaction to the death of John Ritter. I hadn’t realized that he was that well loved. But, you know, I can’t remember much about Farrah’s headstone. It was very simple, wasn’t it? I mean, it wasn’t a joke headstone, like the one for Merv Griffin, which said something like: MERV GRIFFIN WILL NOT BE BACK AFTER THIS BREAK. And Jack Lemmon’s headstone featured some sort of joke also. But do you think all those lipstick marks on MM’s crypt were put there by drag queens?

          Thanks, of course, for what you say about my writing. I can only hope this book, or any other, ever gets written. I’m constantly tripped up by the need to pay the bills, which I guess goes for everyone. Except those it doesn’t. Whom I wish dead.

          I’m joking!


          • Zara Potts says:

            Well, I posted it Saturday- but it hasn’t shown up yet. Maybe it’s in some waiting area or maybe it just sucks. I don’t know! It’s been that long since I posted, I probably mucked up the posting process or something.
            Farrah’s headstone was weird in its simplicity. Just her name. No dates, nothing else. Or maybe it was just the surprise factor of seeing it just as we hopped out of the car.
            You know, I don’t think any of those Manson girls felt remorse – except for Linda Kasabian. I’ve watched interviews with Susan Atkins and she just chilled me. I thought Lesley Van Houten was striking.
            And you mention ‘Colour of Night’ – I read it recently. I didn’t like it. Have you read it, D?

            • D.R. Haney says:

              Damn, that’s weird. I might have to have a search in the bowels of the site to see if I can find it. Also, I too was afraid of making a mistake after not having posted for so long. I’m amazed that I seem to have gotten away with it.

              Yeah, Leslie Van Houten was the one I meant. Everybody’s into Leslie. She didn’t dig Charlie, though. She was one of Bobby Beausoleil’s girls.

              I don’t know what to think on the subject of remorse. None of Manson’s original followers are still with him, including Squeaky Fromme and Sandy Good, though it took them decades to renounce him. But all of those involved in the murders, and even some who weren’t, have expressed remorse, and before she died, Susan Atkins wrote something called “The Myth of Helter Skelter,” which is probably the best explanation ever for Manson’s motives. The murders were so horrible as to be unforgivable, I know, but I don’t think any of those people would have killed had it not been for the extraordinary circumstances. Of course Linda Kasabian didn’t participate in the actual murders, but there are many who think she basically got away with murder by testifying against the others.

              I thought I remembered the F.F. headstone as being spare, and yes, it was a surprise to see it there as soon as we got out of the car. And Color of Night — Greg and I had quite an exchange about that book here at TNB last year. He really liked it. I didn’t. I thought it shouldn’t have been based so closely on the Manson case, that there should have been, or could have been, a similar cult, but not one doing creepy crawls, and mingling with rock stars, and so on. Also, I found the references to Greek mythology trite. There were a lot of fill-in-the-blanks with that book — literally. I mean, if you’re going to name a character after Dionysus, you might as well go ahead and call him that instead of D_______.

              Of course it was the Manson character who was named D_______.

              I thought the narrator’s background, her incest with her brother, was well done, and that was invented, and again, I think there should have been more invention in the book. The fusion of “fact” and “fiction” didn’t come off for me as it has elsewhere.

              • Zara Potts says:

                Susan Atkin’s had terribly cold eyes.
                But a strangely pretty smile.

                ‘Colour of Night’ – or ‘Color of Night’ as you guys call it – I totally agree with your POV. I agree that background story was really the only thing that worked. I just didn’t like it.

                But Manson is a strange beast. I think I told you about the journalist I worked with who corresponded with Manson, trying to get an interview? Manson wrote back a shitload of letters, all scribbly and full of diagrams and strange symbols and this journalist friend kept them in his drawer. He pulled them out and showed me and passed them over to me to have a closer read, but I wouldn’t touch them. I didn’t want to touch anything he had touched. Weird, right? I mean, the guy didn’t actually take part in the murders, but the very fact that he somehow had the power to make his followers do it, is possibly even scarier.

                There is something mesmerising about the whole case. Even though, probably many worse murders have occured, the stars seemed to be aligned on those two particular nights to transform those gruesome crimes into something altogether more sinister and unimaginable. Maybe it was just that all the factors involved added up to a particularly ‘juicy’ crime that makes it so fascinating?

                • D.R. Haney says:

                  Yeah, I think it was just everything — the savagery, the randomness, the Hollywood connection, and, most of all, the way it seemed to sum up the fears people had during, and about, the sixties, with so many kids rejecting the values of their parents and heading off to “find” themselves through drugs and sex and so on. Also, the sense of alienation people had begun to feel since the arrival of TV — I think that was a factor, too. Strangers seemed threatening as they didn’t before, and here were strangers killing strangers, and maybe Manson’s power over his followers was an echo of the power of TV had on its audience. But here maybe I’m reaching.

                  Susan Atkins was one of those people who can look attractive in some photos and awful in others. But I know one person who was taken with her that, as a teenager, he wrote her letters, and she answered them from prison. Their correspondence went on for some time, I seem to remember, and then he broke it off, for no particular reason other than his being a teenager.

                  You did mention that you knew someone who corresponded with Manson. I can understand why you felt as you did about touching Manson’s letters. We’re no longer “supposed” to entertain that kind of “magical” thinking — not if we consider ourselves “rational” — but, I don’t know, I always think of those Borges stories about knives taking on lives of their own, and there may be a “science” of magic, or magick, that was intuitively grasped by our long-ago ancestors and we lost along the way, though we may one day reclaim it and explain it, again as “science.” But of course some never lost it in the first place. Mysticism is remarkably durable, I’ve found.

  2. James D. Irwin says:

    I’m too excited to read this without text-shouting an overly enthusiastic hello! I’ve just woken up, and it was brilliant to see your name repeatedly in the ‘Recent Comments.’

    I had lunch with Joe Daly and Steve Sparshott a few days ago, and we talked about you (in the categories ‘guys who are cool’, it’s a shame …… hasn’t been around much’, and ‘2009 comment nostalgia.’ We talked about Zara too (in the categories ‘non-American TNBers’ and ‘2009 comment nostalgia.’

    It’s nice to see you Duke. And now I shall read…

    • D.R. Haney says:

      The piece, if it can even be called a piece, is so slight that you should be done with it by the time I respond, if not an hour before.

      I take it that Joe’s in the UK at the moment. Either that or you and Steve are in California, in which case we must all get together. I was thinking of you recently, and also of Steve, who, I remember, retweeted my last tweet. I deactivated my Twitter account because I felt as if I were in an echo chamber there, though, at the last second, there was Steve to help remind me that it wasn’t necessarily so. But I deactivated anyway.

      I must say, it does my heart good to hear that anyone thinks of me as “cool.” My appreciation to all of you. And, Jesus, doesn’t 2009 feel like a long time ago? I was back in NYC a few months ago, and it’s changed so much since I lived there, just as TNB has changed so much in three short years, but NYC is still NYC, just as I suppose TNB is still TNB.

      I hope you weren’t disappointed by this thing. You know, I just started making a list one day of the similarities between Charlie’s Angels and Manson, and it never occurred to me, as it should have, that many others have noted the similarities — including Manson! I never did any search on the Angels/Manson connection until after I posted this, and here’s the first thing that came up:



      Good to hear from you, too, James.

      • Zara Potts says:

        JIM! How come I wasn’t in the ‘cool’ category??????

        • D.R. Haney says:

          So much for a follow-up comment from James! The backpedal is kind of an involved move.

          • Zara Potts says:

            I think he’s probably down at the video store renting the entire Charlies Angels series.

            • D.R. Haney says:

              Yes, well, I’m sure he never saw the original, being ten.

              On the other hand, a friend who teaches very young people tells me that you should never underestimate their knowledge of pop culture. And the seventies is their favorite era, he’s said. He theorizes that it’s because the seventies seem really free compared to now.

              • James D. Irwin says:

                I knew this would happen. I haven’t been online since two seconds after I commented and now I’m going to have to write an essay to catch up (a good thing, I’ve missed this).

                Duke— I have now read the piece, and I enjoyed it immensely.

                Joe is over for a music festival. I can only wish Steve and I were in California.
                I hate Twitter, but as I was saying to Steve nearly every time I think about deactivating the account he tweets something that makes me laugh. And there are few TNBers who have kept it instead of Facebook and it’s nice to keep in touch, during my ever increasing sabbatical from this site.

                Thinking about 2009 sort of makes me feel old. It feels far longer ago than it was, and I sort of miss the writer I was then. I miss the fearless confidence and ambition of youth. Now it’s all self-doubt and contentment. It is strange how long three years can seem…

                Zara— I should have perhaps clarified that ‘guys who are cool’ referred specifically to people Joe has met in person. You are of course incredibly cool!

                I don’t think I’ve seen a full episoe of the original Charlie’s Angels, although it used to be on an obscure cable channel a couple of years ago. About a year ago I spent a lot of time watching The Fall Guy, which starred Lee ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Majors, which I believe started the same year he divorced Farrah Fawcett.

                I am kind of into the whole ’70s pop culture thing. Not as much as I was, but I still get most references to a lot of films/tv shows from the era…

                • D.R. Haney says:

                  I knew Doug, the second banana on The Fall Guy, when, years after that show, he was trying to start a new career as a director. He had a screenplay, which he may have written himself (I forget) and which he proposed to direct, and the producer talked to me about rewriting it. The thing was, it didn’t really need a rewrite; it was pretty good, though I don’t believe it was ever filmed. Anyway, just as you say of yourself with Charlie’s Angels, I’ve never seen a full episode of The Fall Guy, though I know it concerned a stuntman.

                  What do you mean when you speak of missing “youth”? Of course that’s not exactly what you said, but I can promise you that twenty-three is very young, which I didn’t realize at twenty-three. Christ, I thought I was old at twenty! And I knew others who said the same of themselves.

                  It’s true that, as you get older, you lose some of that fearlessness, as you call it, because you become more and more aware that not every stroke of your pen, or guitar pick, or paint brush, etc., is as wonderful as you perhaps once assumed. But it’s a trade-0ff, and the craft you get in return is worth it. I destroyed almost all of the writing I did before the age of, say, twenty-five. It was really bad, so much so that, when I reread it, I wondered how I had ever gotten the idea that I could write in the first place, and even now I know that I have to be absolutely ruthless with myself or I’ll again write as badly as I used to write.

                  Of course TNB has changed considerably in the last three years — and I’ve been here almost three years exactly — but it had changed a great deal even before I showed up, and I suppose it will go on changing. But every once in a while it feels a little like it used to feel. It did, for instance, when Irene posted recently, and it does a little now, though I don’t, and didn’t, expect this post to light up the boards the way Irene’s post did. As I wrote to Zara, I was surprised to see even one comment. Then again, I was a little surprised at any comment I received, even at the peak of commentmania. I always thought, when I posted something new, “This will be the one where it stops.”

                  My problem with Twitter was that I just never knew what the hell I was doing there. I never felt, and still don’t, like an information storehouse, full of goodies to give away, and I’m not adept at pithy one-liners, and I sure as hell never thought strangers could possibly give a damn about my updates. Twitter makes sense for celebrities, but I couldn’t see any way to build a following there, which the only reason I opened an account. I felt like someone on the street, talking out loud to no one. I was starting to feel that way at Facebook, too, and apparently I’m not the only one, since, over the last few weeks, I’ve read a number of news stories about a decline of interest in Facebook. I think the world is ready for something new — like Google glasses. Which I find horrifying. But, hey, I know that’s predictable.

                  • James D. Irwin says:

                    I’ve often thought that Doug was a dead ringer for Oliver Hudson (sister of Kate, daughter of Goldie Hawn, ‘star’ of the ‘sitcom’ Rules of Engagement). They both play a sort of loveable idiot role in their respective shows. The Fall Guy IS about a stunt man, and is less than subtle in making you aware of this. Every episode begins with Lee Majors talking about stunt men, and the theme tune (sung by Majors himself!) is called ‘The Unknown Stuntman). It’s actually quite a nice song, if you like vaguely country songs that name check popular actresses of the 1970s and early ‘80s.

                    The first scene is always Lee Majors doing a stunt for a film, and then in the climax of the episode he does the same stunt in his role retrieving bail skippers. It’s not a very good show, but it has its moments.

                    I probably don’t miss youth. I’m just depressed because I’m finding it very hard to write anything at the moment. I suspect that I’m ignoring the fact that this always happens, and choosing to remember my late teens as a period of non-stop writing (whatever the standard).

                    I do feel kind of old though. I know I’m not, and it’s a sort of ridiculous thing to say. Wasted potential. I’m sure I’ve wasted an awful lot of potential, and if not then just time. More and more I think doing a degree in Creative Writing was a mistake. I’ve got a degree, but I’ve lost something as a result. I no longer see writing as a pleasure, it’s almost a chore. The motivation is gone. Maybe it’ll return. I hope it will.

                    This feels very 2009. I think that’s almost entirely down to you and Zara. I’m always surprised when people comment on my stuff, but then I get disappointed that they barely reach double figures. I was a bit sad my recent interview didn’t get more of a response… already forgotten… And it had been edited down so I sounded like a pithy Oscar Wilde type, and not a rambling fool…

                    I’m kind of weary of Twitter, and Facebook. It started with a packet of cheese. Cheese is a simple product, but the package now urges you to follow it on Twitter and Facebook. We live in a world where people fully expect other rational individuals to give a fuck what a cheese manufacturer thinks.

                    But that’s not really why it bothered me. It’s more the fact that both sites are becoming ever more relied upon, and thus evermore powerful. I think it’s quite dangerous. Twitter is a tool for communication, but it is also a business. And then there is the fact that it is being overused and overexposed. Nearly every TV show now encourages viewers Tweets, leading to a stream of inane commentary sliding along the bottom of the screen. People are entitled to opinions, yes, but they shouldn’t expect anyone else to care that much. Everybody thinks they’re fascinating and original and brilliant, and they’re not. They’re dull, and in many cases barely literate. Similarly news shows… the FUCKING NEWS, will use Twitter as a legitimate source.

                    Perhaps I’m overreacting because I’m scared of technology I don’t understand, but I don’t think I am. I’m not against technology, but once upon a time it was there to improve and aid our lives. Then it began to run our lives— e-mail, texts, mobile internet… and increasingly it is consuming and becoming our lives in a way that strikes me as incredibly unhealthy.

                    Then again I’d quite like to live in a quiet village and not speak to anyone but my dog for days on end. I’d quite like to quit Twitter and Facebook, but it is almost literally impossible— both in the fact that they make it very difficult to delete accounts, and in the sense that if you’re in your early twenties and you want to be invited to social events you have to maintain a vague presence.

                    I’d quite like to see a reactionary movement against superfluous technology. I imagine it would be quite small, but enough to create a community where I could live without having to understand how apps and downloads and touch screens work.

                    There are some funny people on Twitter, and some funny jokes, but they are overwhelmed by millions of people clamouring to show the world their ignorance and vapidity (as demonstrated by the fact that ‘Twitter celebrity’ is a thing that exists).

                    The worst thing about Twitter is following friends, and getting angry because the things they tweet are so woefully uninteresting. They’re conversational tit bits that, if used as a conversation starter in real life, would lead people to assume that there was something mentally wrong with you.

                    I didn’t know that the interest in Facebook was in decline. I’ve already quit once, but I was sort of forced into returning for the sake of my involvement in a few theatre shows, and social life. There is something ironic in online interaction being vital to actual physical interaction… I think I might have started phasing the online stuff out, but The Beautiful Anthology is about to come out, and I want to use that for my arrogant, boastful means. After that though I can easily see myself deactivating this account, and maybe returning with a limited locked-down account purely for interaction with the TNB community, friends in other countries, and maybe a few select friends.

                    The Google glasses scare me. The only people who need to be hooked up to machines all day are coma sufferers on life support.

                    One of the scariest thing anyone has ever said to me relates to iPods. I think it was made worse by the fact that she is an intelligent and talented actress who has debated the merits of The Catcher in the Rye with me.

                    We were at a cast/crew/writers drinks thing in a bar and somebody was showing off the music on their iPod. For some reason I mentioned I didn’t have any sort of MP3 player. I wasn’t trying to be superior or anything, I did have one but I never used it. Now I don’t have one.

                    She looked at me in something close to horror and said ‘but what do you do when you need to walk places?’

                    • D.R. Haney says:

                      Well, of course you’re speaking my language when you write all this. You could almost be me.

                      I’m ancient enough to remember the introduction of the Walkman, and I’ll never forget the first time I saw one: a guy was sitting next to me on a city bus, “dancing” (badly) to music only he could hear while signing a birthday card. I even remember a snatch of what he signed: “You are a very special lady.” I thought, “Jesus, as if I didn’t already know he’s an idiot from the way he’s bouncing around, he’s confirmed it in writing.”

                      After that, of course, I started seeing the Walkman everywhere, and I was against it because, I thought, it separated people from the world. I said as much to a girl I loved madly, and she said, “Yes, but it can really be nice. I was listening to Nino Rota the other day while I was sitting in Gramercy Park, and I felt like I was in a Fellini movie.” That she would even mention Fellini was one of the reasons I loved her madly. She was English, actually.

                      Where am I?

                      I think the iPod, the Walkman’s heir, was a disaster for music. It cheapened music, but then, the digital world cheapens everything it touches. I see the benefits — this exchange is one of them, of course — but I often think of the binary code that produces digital content as being a kind of goo that can be shaped to resemble any food — bread, meat, vegetables — and even recreate some of taste of those foods, but in the end you’re eating the same old goo.

                      We’re wandering deeper and deeper all the time into Plato’s cave, so that, by now, we’re in parts of it where there’s not enough oxygen for fire and we’re unable to see even by torchlight. Pedestrians, I notice, move about as if they’re blind, even when they’re not texting or otherwise glancing at their phones. I have to keep my eyes peeled to avoid collisions on sidewalks or in the aisles of stores. Almost no one else seems to notice or care.

                      No, I’m not optimistic about the future. I read an interview with Jane Fonda the other day in which she was asked, as a sixties activist, about Occupy, and she said something like, “I think it’s wonderful. People were complaining that it didn’t have a real plan or leaders, but they don’t understand that it’s a new era. We have social media now.” I’m sorry, but I don’t see how social media removes the need for plans or leaders, but I’m afraid many people think like Jane Fonda in that interview. It’s like, “Well, I took action; I posted something online,” and the rest is going to take care of itself. It’s a new kind of magical thinking. Ultimately, technology produces mysticism — without any sense of wonder.

                      Will there ever be a backlash? Only in isolated cases, I think, as happened with TV. You know, every once in a while you meet someone who says, “I never watch TV,” but, again, such people are rare. TV is the one medium that doesn’t seem to have been harmed by the Internet, and that’s because it’s the one most similar, I think.

                      Obviously, I could go on and on about this. But I’ll stop.

                      Inspiration comes and goes, and the surest way to coax it back, I’ve found, is to simply sit and write, even when you don’t feel like writing, even when writing is the last thing you feel like doing. You may have days when you write nothing, or practically nothing, and that’s discouraging, of course, but eventually something will come that will make you feel like writing more.

                      I thought your recent interview was very funny. I didn’t comment for the same reason I haven’t commented on any of the Beautiful interviews: because I didn’t know if the subjects would even see the comment. I mean, it seemed like they were being posted by — whom? I couldn’t tell. And now I feel bad for not having commented: the curse of TNB circa 2009.

                      I was thrown by your mention of Oliver Hudson as being the “sister” of someone, but I know that Goldie Hawn was married to one of the Hudson Brothers, who had a TV variety show in the seventies, and I guess I can see (in my mind’s eye) a resemblance between Doug of The Fall Guy and the youngest Hudson brother, who wasn’t the one married to Goldie Hawn. I think one of the brothers died recently, the one with the mustache who was interviewed, with punk-rock hair, in some rockumentary I watched not long ago. Jesus, what was that? I watch a lot of documentaries.

                      Oh, and now that you mention it, I do remember something about Lee Majors singing the Fall Guy theme song, thus paving the way for Oprah’s self-sung theme song a few years later. What a groundbreaker Lee Majors was!

                      Stuntmen are usually cool. Or they were cool. They’re increasingly outmoded by — but I’m sure you can guess.

  3. Greg Olear says:

    Wow, that last pair of photos looks lifted from “Separated At Birth.” Creepy.

    Now that you’ve written this, I expect to see a shorn Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore in a flick about the Manson girls.

    Always good to see you on here, Duke.

    • D.R. Haney says:


      There’s talk of a Manson-girl movie starring Lindsay Lohan. But it isn’t called Color of Night, and now that she’s had still another car accident…or is this her first?

      I always thought Oliver Stone would have been ideal to direct a movie about the case.

      • Greg Olear says:

        Agreed on Stone. He’d be great.

        I think LL has had many, many accidents, including some we don’t know about.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          I think it would be hard for her to have an accident we don’t know about. I mean, her life is kind of like Big Brother, no? Or it was. She’s had a lot of competition in the is-she-psycho-or-is-she-just-troubled department. The unhinged phase is practically compulsory for young celebrities these days, the way that trashing hotel rooms used to be compulsory for rock stars — back when we had rock stars.

  4. This is brilliant beyond compare, as far as comparisons go.

    I spent many, many hours as a little girl with my friends playing Charlie’s Angels.
    This would involve us making our hair as big as possible and putting our Moms’ L’egg’s stockings
    cups in our shirts to give us boobs. And nobody ever wanted to play Kate Jackson.

    It’s crazy the similarities here. Probably not an accident. Especially, the laughing in the
    office part. Hmmmm.

    Yay, you wrote on here! I meant it when I said I missed reading you. So, yay.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Well, Kate Jackson was the plain one. Actually, I think she used to be referred to as as the “smart” one, and smart is always plain, yes? I’m sure there must have been a lot of jealousy on that set, and I don’t say that because the stars of the show were women, I say it because they were actors, who are just as jealous as musicians, which is saying a lot.

      I used to play James Bond when I was a kid, and of course everybody wanted to be James Bond. I almost felt bad when, once, it was just me and one other kid who said, “It’s okay; you can be Bond and I’ll be M.” I didn’t know that I could ever be that unselfish. It was like being confronted with my faulty character or something.

      Of course the laughing-in-the-office bit was there to assure us that, even though people may have gotten shot or run down by cars or whatever, we shouldn’t take any of it seriously. Life goes on, the Angels are now poking fun at Bosley, and Charlie, unseen, is about to get busy with a girl who just climbed out of the ocean and onto his yacht, where he’s pouring Champagne. Later, y’all.

      I haven’t had time to write much — by which I mean write things only for myself — so, you know, it was either post this or go on posting nothing at all. But thanks for what you say, Steph, and — oh, what’s the brand of your white-noise machine? I’ve been wanting to buy one ever since my visit to the Hudson Valley.

      • As I write this, our noise machine is on with the train sound, as two exhausted children slumber (hooray).
        It’s a Brookstone – you can get them on Ebay. At least that’s where I got it the last time I looked for one, which was after Prue was born – so almost six years ago. So, maybe not.

        And you’re always welcome back for a HV visit. But, we’ve moved on from Sorry to Monopoly now.
        It’s fun to pretend to have enough money to be able to build hotels. And be a shoe or a thimble.
        Anyway, we hope you can make it back this way and see what’s it’s like during the really beautiful seasons.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          It was great when I was there. I don’t get an eastern winter out here, of course, so the change was refreshing.

          Thanks for the info on the white-noise machine. One of my biggest complaints when I moved to L.A. was how quiet it was at night. I liked the sound of traffic in NYC, and in Virginia I lived for a time behind a trucking company, and I always liked hearing the trucks rolling in and out at night. There was something comforting about it.

          Have you ever slept on the beach? I did a couple of times, and when you’ve got your head on the sand, the sound of the surf is LOUD. It’s not a gentle sound at all, and it seems to come from several directions, including from beneath.

          I would think that Monopoly would make for even more high-pitched emotion than does Sorry. Jesus, I had so many fights with my younger siblings while playing Monopoly. “You bought Park Place! I ALWAYS buy Park Place! Park Place is mine!” Or: “You wiped me out, bitch! I hope you’re happy, you and your goddamn hotels!”

          But for maximum emotion, Risk can’t be beat. It’s one thing to own and lose streets in Atlantic City, and another to own and lose countries and entire continents.

          • I used to love watching my Dad and uncles play Risk. It seemed so serious.
            I’ve never played – they never let me. I definitely want to now. RISK!!!

            And agreed on Monopoly – total cut throat, high emotions.
            Prue is actually less competitive in this game; Sorry is more her forte.
            But, Dom is actually very aggressive and always focuses on getting Park Place and Boardwalk.
            And Greg is totally out for blood, wanted to sell me Illinois Avenue for $800 – as if!!
            We’ve actually have yet to finish a game because once the kids start to really lose money,
            they lost interest and don’t want to do things like mortgage their properties.
            I don’t blame them. That’s no fun.

            I do know what you mean about the ocean. I went camping on the beach and slept the best I’ve ever slept.
            I remember crashing out at 8pm every night, almost against my will because of the sound of the ocean. I agree about the quiet, I cannot sleep if it’s quiet. I loved the city when I lived there, because the traffic was almost like the ocean. That’s why we have the noise machines, especially in the winter, because it’s just too quiet otherwise.

            It would have been nice if we had snow for when you came , but we got surprisingly very little snow this winter.
            But, I do recall you being really chilled after walking from Liz’s house. .

            And btw, I know this is all off topic and whatnot, but since I have you here, Greg told me you liked “Drive”.
            Good – I knew you would!

            • D.R. Haney says:

              Yeah, I watched it for a screenwriting assignment and really liked it, the first half more than the second half. I mean, it was all good, but it became a lot plottier in the second half, and I liked the pure atmosphere of the beginning, the way so much was said with so little.

              Have you seen This Is England? You can watch it online at Netflix. I did recently after being told about it for what seemed forever — “You MUST see this movie!” — and, Jesus Christ, people were absolutely right. I couldn’t get over how good it was. It’s beautifully written, subtle and surprising, with terrific performances.

              I can imagine both Dom and Greg being ruthless while playing Monopoly, and, yes, it does get dull once you realize there’s no way you can win. You just kind of sit there and hand out your last few remaining dollars — or that’s what you do if you don’t hurl the money and pick up the board and hurl that, too, as happened more than a few times when I was growing up. But of course I was never the one who did it. Of course not.

              The problem with Risk is the same problem with Monopoly: it takes a long time, and becomes dull once you realize that you’re never going to rule the world, just as Elba must have been dull to Napoleon.

              I’d forgotten about how cold it was when we walked back from Liz’s house. Yes, it was very cold. And the thing I liked about your white-noise machine was the wide menu of sounds. It was hard to choose one, but I think I went with the trains, and it sounds like they’re a favorite for you and yours.

              I forget; when you were all living in New Jersey, did a man in the final car of the passing trains ever wave at the kids? That was always a huge thrill for me when I was a kid: the wave from the caboose.

              • Zara Potts says:

                Ha! I went to sleep with that white noise train clacking around in my head! I’d totally forgotten.
                Oh, ‘This is England’ is a pretty great film.
                I just watched ‘Animal Kingdom’ again, speaking of nuanced performance. Ben Mendelsohn is bloody brilliant in it.

                • D.R. Haney says:

                  I thought he was good, of course, but he had an advantage, playing the biggest psycho in the bunch. Psychos always make a strong impression. I liked the other two brothers, Joel Edgerton and the speed freak, I forget his name, and Guy Pearce was outstanding, I thought; it’s not a showy part but he really came through. But of course it was Jacki Weaver who got most of the attention. She was excellent, too, of course, though she only has one scene in which she could grab the gold — the one where she orders a hit on her grandson — but she played it for all it was worth. In fact, she underplayed it, which is exactly what she should have done. With material like that, it’s best to get out of the way and let the material speak for itself, methinks.

                  I loved the way the heavy in This Is England was written. People always talk about about “character development,” about “levels” and “shades of gray” and so on, and this was one case where all of that truly applied. For instance, there’s that bit where the heavy talks to his former girlfriend about their (it would seem) one and only hookup: “The best night of my life,” he says; but the girl calls it the worst night of her life. What happened? My guess was that he raped her without knowing or believing it — he took her “no” for coyness or some such. But it’s only discussed once, and for only a moment, so that you’re left to wonder.

                  Meanwhile, you, too, have slept to the sound of the white-noise trains. Ha. Was the machine just set to that sound, or was that the one you picked? Anyway, it seems to be everybody’s favorite.

                  • Zara Potts says:

                    I didn’t pick it! I don’t know what I would have chosen but rain on the roof would have to be everyone’s favourite wouldn’t it?

                    • D.R. Haney says:

                      Well, yes, rain on the roof is very nice — but not if it’s the sort of rain you get with a hurricane. That could potentially be sort of terrifying, yes? Unless, like, you were one of the Addams family.

                      I wonder if there would be any market for an Addams Family white-noise machine. Instead of trains, you’d have train wrecks. Instead of traffic, you’d have traffic accidents. And so on. 🙂 (I’m adding the emoticon because I guess I sort of owe you one.)

                    • Oh man, I would have let you pick your own, Zara!
                      We obviously weren’t at the top of our hosting game.
                      I think we left it on railroad because Dom would be hearing it too, as he was right across the hall.
                      And Duke had the noise machine in his own sleeping quarters, so he chose his own.
                      Here I am feeling bad about not letting you choose your own sound.

                      And since I have you here, I also feel badly about the horrible
                      place we chose for all of us to go out that night in the city.
                      It used to be great and it just sucked that night. Sorry.
                      Whew, feels so great to get this off my chest!!
                      And also, fyi, Carlie that great waitress at the breakfast place still asks about you all!
                      Please come visit again – all of you? Would be so great.
                      And you could choose your own noise setting on the machine this time!! xxoo

  5. This is the kind of study I love. Aaron Spelling must have been listening to Helter Skelter too. He just misinterpreted the lyrics in yet another errant direction.

    I’m not entirely sure why, but I find the description “Erwin Rommel-on-peyote dune buggies” deeply hilarious. And a sentimental part of me wishes cop shows still had the heroine calling the criminal “Turkey.”

    Petty Hollywood gossip addendum: I’ve heard stories of Kate Jackson being fairly unhinged and frightening from a friend who worked with her on the series “Scarecrow and Mrs. King.” So your final photo comparison could ring more true than you think. Demons.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      The whole thing is meant to be funny, but I think maybe the fact that it involves such a grisly case makes people uncertain as to whether they should laugh. Which is understandable, and one of the reasons I wasn’t sure if I should post it.

      I think the influence of the Manson case on Charlie’s Angels was entirely unconscious. I would bet that it never occurred to anyone until later, though I would also bet that it did at some point occur to them.

      I once worked with an actor who shall remain nameless, a character actor who’d been doing movies and TV shows since the 1950s, and Kate Jackson was one of only two people he cited as a nightmare. He used the c-word to describe her. He used the same word for — oh, well, I’m not going to name the other person, since the piece doesn’t concern her. But she was so bad that, on the set of a TV movie they were making, an extra apparently went nuts with a gun, either threatening to open fire or opening fire from afar. He didn’t hit anyone, but the star seems to have been his target.

      I wonder if “turkey” was in fact something cops used to call suspects, and the writers of Charlie’s Angels were like, “That’s how it really is, man!” when the girls were like, “Do we really have to say that? And where’s my hair person? I am not going to do this motherfucking shot unless that bitch gets here by the time I count to motherfucking five! One…!”

      It’s always a pleasure to hear from you, Nat. I wish I’d posted something better, but hopefully I’ll do so next time.

  6. Great stuff Duke! The image comparison at the end was truly terrifying.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Thanks, Joe.

      I guess context is everything, huh? Or just about. I mean, the image on the left was used to promote the show, and the image on the right was used to promote fear, but when you place them side by side…

      Meanwhile, if people hadn’t known the girl in the photo on the left was involved in the murders of several people, I wonder how they might have judged that photo. I’m reminded of a show I saw about the debunking of psychics: a man showed a photo of Ted Bundy to a group of Russian psychics, none of whom had heard of Bundy, and asked them what he was best known for doing, and not one of them mentioned anything about murder, though they all claimed otherwise after being told about Bundy. And they were (supposedly) psychics.

  7. D.R. Haney says:

    Hey, Steph, way down here!

    I think, first, I have to design my Addams Family white-noise machine, and then let them pick their own sound! Personally, I think I’m going for the tornado first.

    And stop feeling bad! You’re making me feel bad. I mean, where’s my Carlie?

    • Whew, it was getting tight up there. This is much better.

      Well, you do have your own Carlie, as I recall, at the Mountain Brauhaus.
      The waitress seemed to be pretty flirty toward the end there.

      Tornado would be great – for sure sleep inducing, just like in the Wizard of Oz.
      But wait, that was because she got knocked out by the flying pane of glass.

      OK, I’ll stop feeling bad. It’s a bad habit of mine.

      And to answer question from above – no train conductor ever waved from the caboose.
      It was this very fast double decker train to the city filled with commuters and no caboose.
      Not a train like the one on the noise machine, unfortunately.

      • Zara Potts says:

        Well, if we are all apologising here – then I have to say sorry again for sending you that spider!!! I STILL feel terrible about it!
        I liked the train noise and the bar and Carli! So much fun. I miss you guys.

        • Oh, Zara – you are so sweet – I love you.
          And really, really, really, the spider incident
          was no biggie. I feel mostly bad for the spider, but,
          I was afraid to let it live – not wanting to upset any sort of eco-balance
          crossing New Zealand and New Paltz spider breeding.

          Please come back to the U.S. and visit!!

      • D.R. Haney says:

        I forgot my leftovers from Mountain Brauhaus, speaking of feeling bad. Waste not, want not, etc.

        Was it a flying pane of glass that knocked her out? I thought it was the shutter or something like that. A pane of glass would have cut her, I would think. Then again, in a movie where monkeys fly and scarecrows (to say nothing of lions and robotic woodsmen) sing and dance, realism doesn’t much count.

        All trains should be equipped with waving people in cabooses. They’re like goodwill ambassadors, and goodwill ambassadors are in short supply these days.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Zara, if anyone should feel bad about that spider, it’s Greg and Steph. They KILLED it! I mean, what kind of greeting is that? You travel all the way from New Zealand to New York State, all you want to do is get out of your box and stretch your eight legs, and SPLAT!

          I hope I’m not in trouble here.

        • You’re right – it was a shutter.

          I also feel bad because I had bought all this shrimp for shrimp cocktail
          to eat during the Superbowl and totally forgot. I ended up throwing it out.

          And I never offered you any water.

          I hope you didn’t get thirsty.

          Ok – I think I got all of my feeling bad things out.

          • Zara Potts says:

            D! You’re right! I’ve been looking at it all wrong! Here I was, sending a possibly rare and unique gift and they killed it!! That poor little (big) spider managed to survive a 12 hour trip across the pacific ocean and then cross country across the U.S and just as it was crawling out to say ‘Surprise!’ – it gets clobbered!

            (I love you too, Steph!) so need to cone back and see you guys!

            • D.R. Haney says:

              I’m glad to have helped restore some perspective, Z.

              However, this will be my last comment until Steph has supplied me with water. I’m parched!

  8. Erika Rae says:

    Duke – so good to see you! Love this compare and contrast. Who knew that turkeys and pigs could be tied together by Charlie’s Angels and Manson girls?

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Well, they’re not tied together in sausage, typically. Turkey is supposed to the healthier choice. Which makes sense when you consider the diet of pigs.

      Then again, where sausage is concerned, there is no healthy choice.

      It’s really good to hear from you, Erika. It’s been forever, yes? And I appreciated the shout-out in Scree.

  9. seanbeaudoin says:

    Bosley was a eunuch! Of the most blatant sort. He probably sang the castrato parts in the LA Men’s Eunuch Choir. I was very much in love with Kate Jackson for a while there. Never had any interest in FF. I think even my 9 year old self knew Jaclyn Smith was way over my head. I don’t remember Kate as particularly demonic, but that picture is very convincing. I always found the “office regroup/laugh fest” wrap up totally unsatisfying. There was a morality dissonance I was aware of even at that age.

    I think the argument that Spelling was subconsciously influenced by the Manson Girls has legs.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Actually, according to my nominal research for this thing, Bosley was married at one point. Which doesn’t mean he couldn’t also be a eunuch, of course. And if he was a eunuch, do you think he was made one, as a child, for the purposes of the choir?

      It surely speaks to my utter lack of practicality that I never considered the idea that Jaclyn was way over my head. Yeah, she was my favorite. My friend John once told me that he was a Kate Jackson man, which makes him, now, one of two of personal acquaintance.

      The wrap-up was weird, in that the Angels always seemed to know that Charlie had a hot date, though he was coy about it: “I have to go, Angels. I have pressing business — in my pants!” But of course he was never that blatant. And every once in a blue moon they would bring back the client for tears instead of laughter: “I can’t thank you enough for maiming those jewel thieves with your Mustang. My grandmother has her diamonds back, but her joy caused her to have a stroke, and she’d love it if you could visit her at the hospital. Oh, and all of the girls at the Joey Heatherton Spa send their regards, and they want you to know you can always work there, for real, if you ever feel a hankering to massage criminals. Then again, there are no more criminals at the Joey Heatherton Spa, thanks to you.”

  10. James D. Irwin says:

    I feel like I’m writing a letter each time I respond to your comments, Duke— not because of the length, but the fact that due the way they appear in the feed I copy and paste them into word before sitting down and taking time to compose a considered reply. I’m enjoying this immensely, as is always the case when we get involved in these comment boards.

    Whilst iPods have the additional annoyance of people being able to force their record collection on you at any give moment (‘go on! Listen to this!’), my main gripe with them is same as the Walkman— as you said, they remove people from the world. This is annoying because the world is endlessly fascinating, but also because that lack of awareness gets in the way of everyone else and inconveniences them. Nobody is ever looking where they’re going, and I always find it incredibly sad that if I bump into a friend quite often if I want any snippet of conversation I have to wait for them to unplug themselves. Still, this is better than the people who’ll leave one earphone in, because heaven forbid they go more than five minutes of their life without some form of audio/visual entertainment.

    I agree with iPods cheapening music too. MP3s are lower quality than CDs for one thing, and the advent of MP3 files makes music instant and disposable. It gets taken for granted, when music is perhaps the most primal and powerful form of art. No other art form can physically move you the way music can, and few can match it emotionally either. Music is special, it shouldn’t be just background noise.

    There are advantages, of course. As you say this exchange couldn’t be happening without the internet, and that would be a bad thing. But this is sort of the point of technology— easing and opening up communication. It is an example of the way technology should be used as a tool within life, rather than life’s focal point.

    I share your pessimism. I sometimes think I’m being a bit melodramatic, but it does worry me how the generations born and raised in this age will turn out. I overheard two young schoolboys recently, no older than ten, comparing iPads and smart phones. I’m sure the future will see some bright, intelligent individuals, but I have an awful feeling there will be an awful lot of hapless morons obsessed with nothing but gadgets and dangerously deprived of physical human interaction.

    People usually crap on about ‘awareness’ when you point out that online activism is pointless, and in many ways trivialises the whole affair. But ‘awareness’ is redundant— most people are aware of the various problems in the world. Changing your Facebook profile picture is not going to cure cancer. Tweeting a chain Tweet is not going to stop racism. Signing and online petition means nothing. People are lazy, and the internet enables this. All one has to do now is post ‘oh man, poverty sucks’ on Facebook and you seem like a caring person. You don’t have to do anything, or try and make a difference— just looking like you care is enough.

    But then those who do care are arguably worse, because social media is not the place for political debate, and they undermine their own cause by irritating the fuck out of everyone. It’s actually quite scary though, that in a so called ‘information age’ ignorance seems to be as ripe as ever. Because the information being accessed is, by and large, what the internet community had for lunch, or thinks of the latest big TV series.

    I used to live near to the house where John Logie Baird died. He of course invented the television. What has happened with the internet and social media and smart phones— and actually, whilst we’re on ‘smart’ phones, is it not ridiculous that something as simple as a phone has become a must-have accessory whose primary function is no longer for the use of making phone calls? Anyway, what happened to all that is exactly what happened to television— a product designed to help educate the world, and open it up very quickly became cheap, disposable entertainment that ultimately became the focal point of every lounge, and in many cases the focal point of people’s lives.

    I hate to come across as a snob, but fear it’s inevitable when complaining about people watching television. Which I’m not, not really. I watch television, and far too much of it, and often just for the sake of having something to look at whilst I’m eating. I watch sitcoms like a retarded seal, laughing at the same episodes over and over. I try and watch documentaries, but I miss most of them, especially if it clashes with live sport. I don’t have a problem with television, or people watching television. What bothers me, and almost scares me, is the importance people put on television. I’ve lost count of the number of conversations I’ve been lost in because they all revolve around shows I’ve never seen, and of course all of them are ‘the best show ever made.’ Maybe it was always like that, and I’m only just becoming aware of it. Not that it makes it any better. It’s great that good television is being made, and it’s a testament to their quality that they are so loved and talked about… it just seems though that maybe the obsession with television reveals an absence of other more important things. An emotional void, brought on by a society which is becoming ever more cold and emotionless and mechanical…

    Funnily enough, writing these responses has been the longest and most focused writing I’ve done in weeks, and it has kick-started my brain back into gear. I do try and write every day, but I usually end up deleting it when I can’t see it going anywhere. Sometimes because it’s depressing. I keep trying to write ‘serious’ pieces, which is depressing on two levels, as it forces me to relive unpleasant moments, and then I’m reminded how incredibly dull and commonplace and uninteresting and unoriginal it all was.

    Thank you for your kind words regarding my interview. I suppose you’re right— we wouldn’t have got the e-mails notifying us. However, I would check it regularly to see if anyone had commented, but I think that says more about me than anything. I’m really quite horribly insecure and egotistical. Also, I have nothing else going on in my life…

    I never knew the actors name, until my brother told me it was Kate Hudson’s brother. I found it quite odd, but then I remembered that Kate Hudson isn’t actually that famous. She was incredible in Almost Famous though. I think. It’s been a while since I saw it.

    In Britain we have Dennis Waterman, who is fairly well known for writing and singing theme tunes to his own shows. I think it was only two, back in the 1970s. I don’t know how they compare to Lee Majors. In one episode he has to perform at a country bar, so he sings the theme tune. It’s very ‘80s.
    One thing I really respect about Tarantino is his insistence on doing stunts for real, and using stuntmen. (Also, Inglorious Basterds was a very good film, strengthened by forcing him to write dialogue not littered with cultural references). The Bond films generally do that too. The problem with CGI is that you can usually tell, and it isn’t as good. The last Bond film had a CGI chase, and it just looked like a video game.

    I don’t like video games either. Joe and I were talking about this the other day. The main demographic for video games now are men aged 18-35. The percentage of active, regular video game users in that age bracket is incredibly high. I forget the figure, but I remember reading it and finding it quite disturbing. I was never a hugely into that stuff anyway, but I did have a Playstation and a couple of games. Now I don’t, because I’m not a kid. Video games are, in my view, fancy and advanced toys. They are not a substitute for real life.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      It is like an exchange of letters, isn’t it? Except that it’s public. Except that it’s not. I remember you saying that the piece itself was usually of less interest to you than the message board, and I think that used to be the case for many, but I get the feeling that people pay far less attention to message boards than they used to do, now that there’s a message board everywhere. Facebook had the effect of turning everyone with an account into a human message board. What next?

      In fact, there are indications of what’s next, and they’re pretty frightening. I’m sure you must have heard of the Singularity. The individual is rapidly giving way to the hive, but of course the illusion of digital technology is that it provides new outlets for “individual” “expression.” More and more people are showing how unique they are by expressing the same opinions—quickly. Hey, that’s not quick enough; can you speed it up? I have more of the same opinions to consider.

      It’s difficult to be melodramatic in forecasting the future, I think, and as popular as science fiction has been, the warnings of science fiction seem largely to have been forgotten. Books like The Island of Dr. Moreau might just as well never have been written; I read somewhere that there’s growing interest among young biologists in the hybrid animals they’ll shortly be able to create. Isn’t my dat—my hybrid dog-cat—wonderful? And how about my bog, my half-frog, half-bird? The only thing I don’t like about it is that it croaks instead of sings, but I hear that’s going to be corrected with the bog 3.0.

      I realize, of course, that there’s a fine line between this sort of reaction and the old “If God had intended for man to fly, He would’ve given us wings.” But for many people, I’m afraid, there’s no line at all; you’re either a fuddy-duddy, who’s opposed to “progress,” or you’re eager for all the “cool” new stuff in the pipeline; and the cool factor is always going to prevail with the young. And what isn’t cool? Psychology, for one thing. Not so long ago, America was fairly obsessed with psychology, so that a conversation between friends about, say, a romantic dilemma often led to an amateur therapy session: you’re projecting; stop being so anal; you’re working out your Oedipal Complex. I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone speak of a complex. People still have complexes, of course, but they’re no longer recognized. Few are willing to invest time in probing self-analysis, let alone take the moment to analyze anyone else, except to place people in readymade categories. You like this and you don’t like that? Oh, well, you must be a lib. You must be a conservative. You must be a hipster. Etc.

      But it’s always been that way, which I say only because that’s the first thing I’m told by people who never seem to care how things used to be unless you rain, however slightly, on their progress parade. Only then does historical perspective begin to exist, and it ends the second it’s invoked. And sure, okay, there have always been apprehensions about new technologies. But were all of those apprehensions utterly without foundation? Are we not, for example, more alienated now than we were before the Industrial Revolution? And, as you say, the phone is now used for almost everything except conversation. My phone maybe rings twice a week now, where it used to ring several times a day. Not much is worth talking about, apparently. Everything we need to know can be learned online in a second. Hence my earlier point about psychology. Messy, complicated, difficult-to identify feelings are so yesterday.

      I used to be a huge music guy, as you know, but I don’t care about music so much now, partly because my apartment building has become much intolerant of “loud” sounds, and while I rarely blasted music, I would rather live in silence than deal with my landlords after they’ve been summoned by a complaining neighbor. Apparently, we’re all now expected to listen to music only on headphones, and even before the iPod came along, I never liked listening to music on headphones. As for TV, I haven’t liked it since I was my early teens, except for a few shows. It was an instinctive reaction initially, but with time I understood my preference for movies and novels, which (with rare exception) know exactly where they’re headed. It’s the open-endedness of TV shows I don’t like, the serialization that (with rare exception) depends on audience reaction to determine the direction of the narrative. The response to Urkel was through the roof! Let’s make Urkel a regular! Democracy in action? Sure, okay. Hey, Bill Shakespeare, we’re going to have to close Romeo and Juliet. Our market research indicates that people would buy more tickets if the kids lived. Can’t Juliet, like, take sleeping pills and wake up and find Romeo taking a shower? His suicide could all be a dream!

      But I certainly know what you mean about being excluded from conversations because you haven’t watched a certain TV show. Five years ago, I was sure that TV was on the way out because of the Internet. Then I worked on a movie, where, I swear, TV was all people talked about on the set. Have you seen this show? Oh, yeah, it’s great; have you seen this one? Of course I have!

      As for video games, I still play them a little online. I don’t have a problem with video games. I don’t have a problem with anything silly—and, even at their best, I think video games are silly—as long as they’re supplemented by other art forms—even video games, and all toys, are an art form—that don’t discourage feelings larger than “Shit, I almost made it to Level 5!” or, was with TV, “I used to like Barry before he left Amanda and got involved with Christine.”

      That’s the way it’s always been, some might say. But, for once, I’m trying to be idealistic, to believe that we can achieve a kind of synthesis of the old and new, of the” highbrow” and “lowbrow,” of speed and depth, of reflection and (seeming) action. But I’m only trying for the purposes of argument. Synthesis isn’t possible in a death match, though the genes of the slain old are present in the victorious young, and the dead have a way of haunting the living, even when the living don’t believe, literally, in life after death.

      I’m glad this exchange has had a galvanizing effect on your writing. Simultaneously egotistical and insecure? Welcome to the club! But it’s the insecure part that may ultimately prove the more helpful one.

      • James D. Irwin says:

        It’s even more like an exchange of letters thanks to a very bad internet connection forcing me to wait to send my responses. I think my attitude to the comment boards was always more that they were a springboard for many more interesting debates and conversations— almost as though they were separate entities. Certainly, back in the day, they took on a life of their own. I think the decline of the comments at TNB is sort of… it’s a trade off. We’ve lost that sense of community, but we’ve gained a far more expansive readership and professionalism which is almost certainly a good thing for the contributors…

        Roughly the time TNB started I was at school, and the big subculture was the whole ‘Emo’ thing. Everybody wore dyed black fringes and hoodies and baggy jeans and were obsessed with how ‘individual’ they were— which was of course ridiculous because they all looked and thought alike, listening to the same bands and hanging out at the same bus stop. That’s kind of how social media is now. People think it gives them individuality and self-expression, when the reality is that everyone becomes increasingly similar. The same news stories are ‘shared’, the same YouTube clips watched, and the same dull photos tagged. Facebook profiles create a horrible sense of self-importance, and the erroneous belief that people are interested in anything you say or do.

        Meanwhile any form of debate is condensed to sweeping generalisations, wing bias, and simple ‘likes.’ What is even more damaging is that the horrendous ‘flame war’ mud slinging doesn’t even really happen because Facebook now uses an algorithm to work out which of your friends you’re most likely to agree/disagree with, and only shows similar friends unless you ask it not to.

        Genetic engineering shouldn’t be a thing that exists, unless it is strictly for a scientific benefit that could somehow save or improve lives. Aeroplanes improve lives, and act as example of technology advancing human civilization. A frog that can bark does not. Experimenting for the sake of it, cool or not, is pointless and often cruel. It would be kind of cool to see a singing frog, but it comes at a great cost. And you know, the natural world is already pretty fucking amazing as it is.

        Amateur psychologists tend to be awful people. Proper qualified psychologists I like and respect because it is a legitimate science and the human mind is endlessly fascinating. Amateur/pop psychology is arguably more damaging than anything— and as you say, people are more interested in sweeping generalisations and pigeon holing people.

        I sometimes fantasize about living in a pre-Industrial age. I’m quite attracted to the idea of a simple sort of life. People sort of forget that we are animals, just like every other creature on the planet. Our only really purpose is to survive, and everything else is just a bonus borne of the way and extent we have evolved. I imagine people were much happier before Industrialisation. I mean, when you read about London in the early 19th century it doesn’t exactly sound like a pleasant place to live. The more complex life becomes the more stressful it is, and the less happy people tend to be.

        I saw a good point made on the internet. Over a picture of an Amazonian tribe were printed words to the effect of ‘No crime, no poverty, no war— how primitive.’ A little sweeping but generally true. I can’t help but think that they probably get more out of life by living off the land and in touch with the natural world than most people in the Western world. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they’d trade the whole lifestyle for a Volvo and plasma TV…

        I despise mobile phones. I wish I didn’t have one, but I kind of have to. I don’t have a landline, and the whole social life thing comes into play again. I hate talking on the phone. I find it very uncomfortable. But worse than that is the fact that it is nearly impossible to use public transport without someone ‘sharing’ their taste in music with everyone else, or glued moronically to games or the internet. I like to watch the scenery go by, I like the background noise of the world, and I like to talk to people in person.

        People are obsessed with headphones. It’s a big business now. There seem to be more people on the high street wearing headphones than there are wearing lace up shoes. I always find music sounds better loud and through a proper stereo. I’m not that bothered by an absence of music though. Sometimes it’s nice to have silence. Silence is massively underrated. I don’t think I could live without it, but don’t seem to be as dependent on it as a lot of people my age.

        I do like a lot of TV, but I’m pretty far behind. I mostly watch old episodes of The Simpsons and South Park. For a man whose default setting is ‘comedy writing’ I don’t watch or like much TV comedy. The only comedy shows I really enjoy watching are the ones that also tell a good story— as the shows mentioned usually do. And by and large comedy shows tell self contained stories— that is to say you don’t really need to have seen any other episodes to enjoy the story.

        I think for this reason I would share your preference for movies and novels. There is a story to be told, and with a few exceptions everything is resolved by the end and you’re only really asked to invest about three hours of your time.

        I think the audience reaction, or perceived reaction, affects movies as well as TV, but I think interference is more rife in television. And of course TV shows can just be cancelled without warning.

        But TV has become massive in recent years. I don’t really know how things were even a few years ago, because I never paid much attention to any of it. It feels like films are coming back, people seem just as obsessed with new cinema releases now as well. But then maybe it’s just a wider sort of endless lust for visual entertainment. I’m glad people are enjoying it, but at the same time it’s a bit disconcerting how important a role it seems to be playing in people’s lives.

        The thing is most of these big shows are US shows, and most people here are watching them illegally on the internet. So it’s not like I’m opting out, but more I’m not interested enough to go to the effort of finding a site that will allow me to watch stuff for free. I’m pretty behind the times, and only watch shows that are broadcast through my television. I don’t by the DVD box sets, because I don’t care how great a show it is, I’m not paying £45 to see it.

        Also, the more someone tells me how great something is, and how I just have to see it, the less interest I have in seeing it. A TV series is approximately 24 hour long episodes. The chances of a show being worth an entire day of my life are pretty slim. I fear this makes me sound awfully snobbish, when I’m not. I don’t hate television, and it’s not like I’m looking down on people who do. I just don’t have the interest or energy to invest.

        I don’t have a problem with video games as such. I forget now what I said, and how I phrased it, but I feel as though I might have misrepresented myself.

        Video games are silly and fun and whilst I’ve never been very good at them I still take part in playing them. I don’t even have a problem with the increasing depth and realism and detail going into games— although I find the trend for war games incredibly troublesome. I find the idea of turning war into entertainment uncomfortable and rather tasteless.

        The problem I have with video games doesn’t so much lie in the age ranges of the people who play games, but the seriousness and obsession with which they’re played. Several times in the last three years I have been walking home from the pub at around midnight, and there have been queues of people outside video game stores for midnight opening. People who then don’t go into work or school the next day, because they’re playing the new game. I find that troubling, but not surprising. Similar things happen with movies and sometimes books. I don’t think that’s really any better, as it still points to a horrible lack of self-restraint, and serves to highlight society’s increasing thirst for instant and constant gratification.

        It’s become a sort of socially acceptable thing to do. It’s almost encouraged, and society has bizarrely fostered the idea that being a pathetic man-child is something to aspire to. I was doing an assignment before Christmas, and I had to work in a group. It was nearly impossible to get the other two members to meet up because they were playing Skyrim. When we got together we’d have to spend half an hour talking about fucking Skyrim. After an hour and a half we’d have to stop because they wanted to get back to playing Skyrim. That’s the level of video game obsession that I have a problem with.

        At the same time I was involved in a theatre show. I’d written a segment, and I was assistant director for a while. I was working with three actresses— three incredibly attractive, intelligent, and talented actresses. At each rehearsal all three would complain that they hadn’t seen their boyfriends in days— they were all far too busy playing Skyrim. I found that immensely troubling… the neglect of reality to such an extent. It also upsets me to think of people who can get a girlfriend taking it so for granted.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          “It also upsets me to think of people who can get a girlfriend taking it so for granted.”

          If that line doesn’t lead to a rush of girlfriend applicants, I don’t know what will. Unfortunately it’s placed here on the message board of a dead piece, where the applicants will never see it.

          I’m sorry that the adult child has been exported to the rest of the world by America, where its numbers have been swelling since the sixties. It’s perhaps worse with American men — who even tend to dress like children, with their sneakers, T-shirts, and baggy shorts — but American women aren’t immune; think of the popularity of a show like Sex in the City, in which four women in their thirties and forties act like they’re in high school. Was the show’s popularity due to the fantasy factor? Undoubtedly. But people, in greater numbers, marry later than they used to marry, I think in part because of the contraceptive innovations of the sixties, so that the plucking of flower petals — “He loves me, he loves me not” — goes on longer than it used to go on also.

          I don’t think Facebook encourages the belief that people are interested in anything you say or do. I think maybe it did at one time, but I wasn’t seeing as much interaction at Facebook, when I left it a few months ago, as I did initially. The novelty factor has worn off, and while many no doubt continue to post photos of their meals, for instance, I would guess that they’re annoyed at the drop in reaction. Facebook definitely promoted exhibitionism, not to mention boasting and shilling. Oh, and freezer magnets. Facebook is kind of like a digital refrigerator door with lots of magnets attached to it, as per your Amazonian tribe, though it’s hard to disagree with the “primitive” sentiment. Then again, I’ve agreed with many a freezer magnet.

          Of course I was being melodramatic when I said what I did about future biological engineering. Probably nothing quite that nightmarish will develop, but the potential is there, and it’s chilling to hear about the developing interest in that potential. But if that doesn’t prove to be our particular nightmare, we’re sure to have others, as per almost every news story we read about climate change, etc.

          As for mobile phones, I resisted until I couldn’t resist any longer, and a few months ago, I belatedly upgraded to a so-called smartphone. I don’t get the brouhaha. Maybe I would if I were still active on Facebook and Twitter, etc., but I’m not. But at least I no longer feel mocked by my mobile phone, as I did when I first got one. It rang far less often than my land line used to ring, and now, of course, I barely receive any calls at all. But, you know, I’ve finally decided that’s a good thing. Silence, as you say, is greatly underrated. And headphones? My guess is that, one day, people will scream with laughter at photos of their parents wearing headphones. “What, are those mouse ears? Was it Halloween or something?” What I personally especially love are the bicyclists who ride around with their ears plugged. Hubris, anyone?

          I’ve certainly shared your desire to live a simpler life, closer to nature and all that, but the wish is bound to be more attractive than the reality. I’m reminded of the sentimentalization of native peoples — the noble savage, etc. — by the early Romantics. Technology exists for a reason. Unfortunately, we tend to pervert technology — but what don’t we pervert?

          But do you really think the decline of the comment boards at TNB has anything to do with a more expansive readership? I’m not convinced that we do have a more expansive readership. It seems to me that the readership peaked in the months just after the introduction of TNB 3.0. But maybe I think that because the comments peaked at that time.

          • James D. Irwin says:

            I don’t think America can take all the blame, but then it is largely because American movies and TV shows have been making heroes and idols out of slackers since at least the 1990s.

            There are few things more depressing than a grown man dressed like a child. I’ve only ever seen Sex in the City once, and not at all by choice. I don’t really get why anyone would want to continue living like a teenager into full blown adulthood. It’s kind of a depressing way to live, even when you’re young. I tend to fall into ruts— as I have done of late— where I fall into a pattern of junk food and TV and video games, and it all gets a bit soul destroying. I hate myself for it, because I feel like I’m wasting my life.

            The whole extension and almost fetishization of youth is a bit troubling. Then again it’s almost understandable because society generally treats the elderly like an inconvenience. There is a middle ground of course, but it seems more and more people want to cling on to the university lifestyle for as long as they bloody well can.

            I think for some people Facebook still encourages the delusion that people are interested in what you do, say, or think. Maybe it’s just amongst the friends I have who are of my generation. A lot of them are still posting ill considered political opinions, self-involved passive aggression, and hundreds of near identical pictures of themselves in various states of drunkenness. Generally though I would agree with you— amongst slightly older friends general activity seems to have dropped off. The novelty does seem to have worn off to an extent. I noticed a day or two ago that I haven’t posted a status in over a week. I closed my Twitter account on a whim as well, and it comes as no surprise whatsoever that I don’t miss it. It’s just another idle distraction.

            For a long time I’ve wanted to trade in my semi-smart phone (it has a touchscreen, but it can’t do anything fancy) for an old fashioned thing with buttons. Ideally I’d like a phone that can only send and receive texts, and nothing else. Not even receive calls. I hate talking on the phone. I barely like texting, but it’s pretty handy for arranging social events.

            I always find headphones and earphones make my ears very hot and uncomfortable. And music always sounds better loud and open. The height of absurdity regarding headphones was the ‘silent disco’ where you all wear headphones and dance. So you’re all listening to the same music and dancing, but completely isolated and alienated from everyone else. In some ways it’s a superb metaphor for the effect of technology on society.

            Well, when I talk about the simple life I really mean a more rural existence, and I’ve largely grown up in rural or coastal towns so I know what I’m talking about— small villages where it’s relatively empty and quiet, with most of the environment natural rather than concrete.

            I don’t really know what I’m talking about with web trends— maybe not an expansion in readership, but the expansion of the site is the cause for the decline in comments. TNB is much larger and more daunting than it once was. Also, I suppose the increased use of smartphones, and the fervour with which they are used and the amount of attention/distraction demanded from social networks means people are both too busy, and too impatient to comment. Why leave a reaction to an essay/engage in a conversation when you can post something of your own elsewhere online and get a far greater reaction much sooner?

            Most TNB comments come from people who write for TNB. Readers don’t comment much these days, I guess.

            • D.R. Haney says:

              Very few people know what they’re talking about when they talk about web trends, and I certainly wouldn’t say I’m one of them, and where TNB is concerned, only Brad has the stats. But it’s an interesting idea that social networks have eaten into commentary here and elsewhere — outside of social networks, I mean — with smartphones likewise playing a role. I hadn’t considered that, and I’m not sure how to consider it, since I couldn’t begin to guess as to how many people now read websites on their phones, versus the way they used to read. Personally, I never read on my phone. I glance at it here and there, but I never feel that I have to see what’s happening online. But my own reactions can never be trusted as indicators of others.

              I closed my Twitter and Facebooks on whims as well. Almost everything I do online is according to whim — but isn’t whim the lifeblood of the internet? On that note, I would think that never in history have so many people wasted so much time as they do now. Already, before the internet, a great deal of time was wasted watching TV, and now we have, in addition to the internet and TV, video games. So at least know that you have a great deal of company in the wasting-time department, though that knowledge probably won’t bring much comfort. It hasn’t been a comfort to me.

              Oh, and at least you have the advantage of being young at at time when youth has never been more fashionable. Once upon a time, the young wore powdered wigs to affect old age, or in any case maturity, which was synonymous with “wisdom.” I don’t predict the return of the old-age look anytime soon. But today’s young are alleged by corporations to be oracles, pretty much, in matters of commerce, so I would place much stock in your predictions than I would my own.

              • dana says:

                I still love twitter, although I rarely tweet anything myself. I find myself re-tweeting things I find funny or informational. Like yesterday I tweeted this link: http://undergroundnewyorkpubliclibrary.com/
                that I think is just fascinating and goes well with the manifesto the two of you are working out.

                James, your comment regarding young peoples propensity to post the same posed drunk-face photos over and over is so spot on, yet it had barely registered with me until I read your statement. Weird. No one seems to be ashamed of getting out of control anymore.

                Myself, I’m trying to not get online during the weekend anymore. On the other hand, I do love this crazy internet medium that has allowed me meet literally dozens of my best friends in the world and those that I have SOMETHING (besides a blood line) in common with. I try to remain optimistic that we’re just finding our way through this massive change in technology and we haven’t quite figured out the balance just yet, but we will. I have a friend who lives less than 30 miles from me (whom I met through the internet and re: music) and our contact is almost completely online. So when he was was diagnosed with cancer 3 weeks ago, and we happened to be on vacation and not paying attention to facebook, we had no idea. Luckily he’s responding very well to treatment. I just happened to see a stray facebook post that led me to make an inquiry about his health, or I’d never have known at all. So I don’t want to be tied to social media, but I can’t keep my head in the sand or I’ll lose all contact with 75% of those I care about.

                When you guys figure it out, would you mind sending me a tweet?

                • D.R. Haney says:

                  Love your tweet. I’m glad to see that people are still reading on the NYC subway. It may be that people are seen reading in NYC than in any other city in North America. Without question, more people are seen reading in NYC than in LA, but then, more people are probably seen reading in Dogpatch than in LA.

                  I would like to think that we’re all finding our way with the new technology and, eventually, we’ll achieve some balance, but if our experience with TV is any indication, I don’t think it will happen. People are investing more in technology all the time, it seems to me, so that, once the Google glasses are introduced, we’ll not only be deaf, as for all intents and purposes we already are, but blind as well. And that’s all a warm-up for the moment when we begin to merge with computers by nanobots shot into our veins. I’m not making this up! That’s where the nerds want us to go, and nerds call the shots these days.

                  I understand that everyone has his or her reason(s) for participating in social media. Even though I hated to rejoin Facebook, I did so the other day, because it was obvious to me I’m hurting the chances of anything I post online to be read if I’m not on Facebook. I knew that already, but there’s abstract knowledge and concrete knowledge, and the last few weeks reinforced the latter. So I’m back, being invited to events I can’t possibly attend, and being asked to like things I never heard of, and feeling like a horrible person because I didn’t compliment a photo of someone’s child, and so on. I’m avoiding Facebook at the moment, in fact, because I can’t deal with it, and I don’t know how other people do, although I recognize that some — maybe many — feel better for having Facebook in their lives.

                  I believe James has left the discussion, but maybe your participation will bring him back. I rejoined Twitter as well, but I’ll have to rebuild from scratch, as I didn’t have to do on Facebook, and I don’t have the time at the moment. But maybe, if James and I ever figure anything out, he can tweet it. Although maybe, by then, my profile will be robust enough that my tweet will somehow find its way to you. And then I’ll tweet about — what? I have absolutely nothing to say — not in the form of a tweet. Three years taught me that much. I was just one of the millions on the lower rungs of the Tower of Babel.

                  Sorry that I sound so doleful; I’m having a rough day. Meanwhile, I hope your friend continues to respond well to treatment.

                  • James D. Irwin says:

                    Duke… this is so fucking weird. I did technically leave, making the sort of call that where you left our debate it was wrapped up quite nicely and there wasn’t much I could add without really repeating myself. I’m back here by an odd chain of circumstance… I went to a pub quiz with a few friends having miraculously found £10. We won the quiz and a fuck looad of free beer. We got drunk, and I walked up towards my old campus with them. I popped in because I can use their computers (I don’t have the internet after about midnight at home) andchecked TNB on a whim… saw your comment on the side and out of curiosity followed it only to find my name crop up a few times…

                    You rejoined Twitter?! I’m appalled, but not really. Like anything on the internet it has it’s upsides and its downsides. I closed my account and… I don’t miss it at all… but then I didn’t have much following, and most of the people I followed I know on Facebook, and many rarely tweeted. About 80% of my feed was the same eight people tweeting…

                    Apparently, Dana, the average Brit is drunk in 75% of their Facebook photos. I think I’m drinking in a lot of mine, but not drunk. Until recently I didn’t have any photos of myself, but people get tagging me and they get upset if you untag yourself. None of them are that bad, and I’m only off my face in four from the same night. I’m not proud of any of them, except maybe the one where I’m in a suit and drinking a martini…

                    It’s strange the pride people seem to take in being out of control. I don’t get that, it is nothing to be proud of… I don’t know how it is in the States, but here progressively drinking culture is about how quickly people can get drunk, and on how little. I fucking hate losing total control of myself, as has happened a few times. Being drunk is only fun if it’s by accident… a consequence rather than a goal. For example, I’m a little drunk now. I’m clearly in control of myself, unless I’m only imagining that these sentences are coherent. But that wasn’t the aim of the night, and in fact it seemed impossible five hours ago. I had no money, but I found a few quid and I did a pub quiz with two of my closest friends as we used to before university finished. We won the quiz, and with it a gallon of free beer which then got us a little drunk and, quite by accident, we found ourselves staying out three ours later than intended and reminiscing about the ‘old days.’ I can’t see myself having enjoyed myself quite so much if I’d chugged down a few Jager bombs and gone to a club…

                    I’m not sure if that has anything to do with anything, but there it is. I’m gaining more and more distrust of the internet, and fear the day when I’m sort of left behind as a relic of the past. People are going to laugh at me when I’m a grown man. ‘What do you mean you don’t know what an app is, you wanker?!’ ‘What, you still listen to CDs?! Who are you, a seventeenth century peasant?!’ And so on and so forth. Technology confuses and scares me, and I know so little about it I’m almost Amish…

                    But it isn’t all bad. I think it mostly is. Most ‘pro’ internet arguments aren’t, in my opinion, necessarily a good thing. But it’s nice being in touch with people all over the world. I can relate to your experience with a sick friend. It is only thanks to comments on Facebook that, after an absence, I heard the incredibly sad news about Michelle. Michelle used to comment on TNB, and particularly on my posts back in my early days. I wasn’t glad to hear it, but I was glad to have known her, and grateful to learn of what had happened…

                    Still, I find our current reliance on technology disconcerting. We have to an extent abused it. Technology was meant to aid our our lives, but then it began to run our lives, and increasing it IS our lives. I’m sort of all over the place, and I should probably start walking home… but this is an area of debate I find incredibly fascinating and I really am quite sorry Duke that I fell away from it.

                    If it is any consolation, I have been using my time to write what I hope will be my first TNB post in nearly a year…

                    I can only hope for the time being that I have made some sense..

                    • James D. Irwin says:

                      I’ve technically repeated the same ‘I’ve been drinking story’ in this comment but that’s mostly down to terrible recall and the fact that I kept losing focus.

                      And now I’m going home. I’m the only person on campus, and it’s freaking me out a little…

  11. dana says:

    Hurray! Duke! 🙂 Loved the post, but don’t have time to squirrel through the oodles of comments just now. Love these conversations.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Thanks, Dana. It’s just a giggle, as the English sometimes (used to?) say when, um, something is just a giggle.

      Of course there are oodles less comments now than there used to be, but I’m not complaining. It’s nice simply to see a few familiar faces, including that wonderful Dana person who lives in my home state. It’s been a spell. I hope she’s doing well.

      • dana says:

        A giggle, you say? That picture of Kate Jackson is simply horrifying. She’s pure evil! Funny that I liked her best when I watched the show because she was the brains of the operation… well, in that context anyway. Sean’s comment about Jaclyn Smith reminded me of an adorable boy I used to babysit. I think there were 3 boys. Extraordinarily beautiful family, mom, dad and 3 boys. This would have been about 1979 or 80, so probably prime time for the Angels. The oldest boy picked up a magazine with Jaclyn Smith on the cover and said, “you look just like her”. Now this couldn’t have been any further from the truth, I had brown hair and blue eyes but the similarities ended there. And yet, this 4 year old little boy totally charmed me with that simple statement. Maybe we were all under the thrall of one Charlie or another.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Did you read, by any chance, my exchange with Nat above? KJ was reportedly a nightmare to work with. The funny thing is, I think she was married at one point to Andrew Stevens, whom I met once when we were both doing movies for Roger Corman, and he was a good guy. But of course she and Andrew Stevens divorced, and besides, private life is one thing and professional life another.

          That’s charming, that the four-year-old thought you looked just like Jaclyn Smith. When I was in high school, I was looking through records in a department store, and a little kid who was standing next to me said I looked like Keith Richard, who was pictured on the record I happened to holding. I did not take it as a compliment, which shows what a dope I was. Even so, I never looked remotely like Keith Richard, so that kid must have been on drugs.

          Other than that, I can’t remember a little kid ever telling me I looked like a celebrity; it’s always been teenagers or adults, and I get no celebrity comparisons at all these days. Which is good, since the first that would probably come to mind would be Uncle Fester.

          If I’m under the thrall of any Charlie, it would have to be Charlie Parker.

  12. D.R. Haney says:

    James (and Dana, if you’re still participating), down here.

    This comment is only a place holder. I’m too exhausted after a full-on nightmare day to contribute to the manifesto. Also, I’m (somewhat) enjoying a little red wine to assist in my recovery from the nightmare, though don’t expect any corroborating photos on Facebook.

    But I felt I had to write this much right away: I remember Michelle! I can see her avatar plain as day, and in fact we had a few exchanges on TNB 2.0. Is this an improper forum to ask what happened to her?

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