#We All Want To Get Our Hand Close to That Big, Toothy Mouth

The title of this post is a quote from Merlin Mann, an endlessly quotable guy I listen to almost every week. It’s a great way of describing how people who make things want to be famous on their own terms, but almost never actually get to be.

I’ve thought about writing my thoughts on Back to Work for a while now, and while I don’t think I’ll do this with every episode, I’m at the very least noting my thoughts on this one.

Here’s some stuff I gleaned from Back to Work 203. It isn’t necessarily what Merlin or Dan said, just what I got out of it.

  • the fact that people (especially people with blogs) want to get noticed
  • but want to be noticed for their best things, which is out of their control are often noticed for their most sensationalist things, which isn’t terribly surprising
  • how reading an author regularly gives you a very different perspective on their work than reading them once
  • it might be nice to think that your blog is something you can fly casual with, but it still counts like any other writing, and it can absolutely blow up regardless of what you do
  • this can be scary, but it shouldn’t be so scary that you don’t do it
  • how even talking about the same thing over and over doesn’t make that one thing that makes you famous seem any less sensationalist
  • writing everything with the fear of heavy scrutinty can be creatively disasterous, but you still want things to count
  • perhaps blogs shouldn’t be treated as immutable, permanent writing, but perhaps something more living and human. But that decision is only determined by the reader and never the writer
  • the entire concept of celebrity has really changed, to the point that it’s both easier and more difficult to know how to treat people you know because of what they’ve done. On the one hand, celebrities have never been closer to us (and in many cases, are us) but this proximity means that you can actually affect them
  • it’s incredibly easy to take other people’s actions and words and twist them in a way they never intended, even if you don’t mean to
  • one of the major ways we twist celebrity” action is by assuming that there’s so much more to it than the action itself
  • we simply don’t believe that someone says something simply because they meant exactly that, and will inevitably dig to find out what it really” means
  • but maybe if we took the time to get to know them a little, we might actually believe them
  • the closer celebrity culture gets to normal human culture, the less chance that there’s any sort of agenda whatsoever to what they do (turns out they are just like us).

Merlin Mann


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