Warning: Heavy “Meta” content! Do not inhale, consume or expose to eyes if you are easily bored.
In school, I had a torrid affair with the written word. Often, I’d get called out in class--even hit by the teacher!—for reading, instead of paying attention to the lesson. Similarly, I loved to write. I’d read books on writing and write stories and read more and write more. Every once in a while, I’d even take the very serious step of thinking about submitting something for publication.
I’m not sure what happened, but when I went to college, that torrid affair turned tepid. I had to read and write, often, for school—but hey, there’s this new Internet thing, and golly gosh WOW this thing is wicked sweet! My passion for long-form reading and writing became an addiction to quick-hit forums, message boards and what would eventually come to be called "blogs". Instantly sharing my hobbies and passions and feelings with thousands of others, all over the world; spouting off about Lions vs. Vikings, malt vs. hops, full manual vs. dual-clutch automatic . . .
This blog was a way to focus all of that manic energy. To capture all of that Web browsing, forum trawling, article reading, and message board posting, and turn it into a constructive, creative long-term project. To harness the thousands of ephemeral words I’d have broadcasted into the void, ground them, and build them them into something that will stand tall for ever after; something that I can point to with pride.
Moreover, it was a way to sharpen my tools, to hone my craft, to polish my skills. I wanted to quit being “a guy who used to want to write”, and start being a writer. I have no delusions that I can do this as well as the folks who do it for a living—but from the feedback you folks have been so kind to give me, I’m at least making it worth your while. For that, I’m thrilled.
That all having been said . . . some of the most valuable stuff here happens when I use the Web as something greater than a Massively Multiplayer Online Typewriter: charts to organize numbers, pictures to bring description to life, and video to transubstantiate chalk into football. In recognition of that, I’ve decided to take the next step.
I’ve been invited to join Fan Vs. Fan, a site where sports bloggers debate with one another a la Around the Horn or PTI. Topics are discussed via 60-second video clips, and voting determines the winner. It’s an awesome opportunity to hoist my blue torch and carry it into battle, fighting the good fight for Lions fans everywhere—moreover, it sounds like a hell of a lot of fun. However, it won’t stop there.
I'm going to begin producing a series of video clips, using the power of moving picture and sound to tell stories, do analysis, and generally be entertaining. Because I don't do anything fast or easy, I'm not just going to fire up a webcam and go. Instead, I'm setting up a little "studio" area in my basement, brushing up on video editing, and getting a quote on fixing the auto-focus on my DV minicam.
While brainstorming about this idea, a very dim bulb flickered in the rickety attic of my mind: “fireside chats”. In 1933, with the nation mired in a wicked recession triggered by a finance market collapse (sound familiar?), FDR came up with a brilliant idea: winning mass support for his recovery plans with a national radio broadcast. Using unadorned language and strong, descriptive imagery, FDR’s populist “fireside chats” were incredibly popular--and effective. Over the ensuing seventy-five years, the weekly radio address became such a fundamental part of the political landscape that Americans now ignore it entirely. Did you know President Obama now gives a weekly YouTube address?
It's in that spirit that I'll be producing these clips: bringing intelligent, dedicated, hopeful Lions fandom to the masses, by the glow of the burning blue flame. In the meantime, check out Fan Vs. Fan, have some fun, and get ready for what I hope will be only mildly horribly embarrassing video of me.