I’ve been trying to recollect what horrible thing I said in that interview with that film crew … what juicy, ghastly, evil comment I might have made that will be plucked out and impaled on a stick and waved to the audience to inflame them. It’s a waste of time, of course — I tend to be far too mellow in person, despite occasional brief declamations that religion is crap, and they’re going to have to strain a bit to find anything sufficiently inciteful.
And then I remembered — the interviewer was mildly obsessed with one thing that he brought up several times. It was a quote from this interview, otherwise most memorable for the way that kook John A. Davison turned the comment thread into a maelstrom of inanity.
How did you get started?
I had this software sitting on the server in my lab, and there was this white, empty text box pleading to be filled. I started putting a few words into it to satisfy it, but it craves more and more, and now if I stop, the screaming begins…the horrible, awful, desperate screaming. The box must never be empty.
There’s also a wall that must be painted with the blood of creationists, that must never be allowed to dry…but I’ve said too much, and now I’ve revealed my fondness for nny, and Jhonen Vasquez, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses are never going to ring my doorbell again, are they?
I guess I am just a channel for my brain chemistry and my obsessions.
He asked me what that meant. I told him it was a florid bit of writing, a piece of self-deprecating humor — in the entire interview there I play off my reputation as a ferocious madman.
He wasn’t satisfied, it seems, and he came back to it later in the interview and essentially asked if I really did do violence to creationists. It was a strange question then, but now that I have the context it makes perfect sense. At the time I just said, no, it’s not literally true, I don’t believe in violence of any kind, and I even offered to take him over to the house to inspect the basement walls (Look! No blood! Maybe a little mildew), where I’d probably also be able to find the comic book the reference is from. It’s too bad I didn’t — it’s a rather grim, depressing, and cynical book, and I’d love to see them wave it around in the movie as our substitute for the Bible. I suspect instead we’ll just get a brief snippet of something they’ll claim is me joking about killing creationists.
They should have focused on this part.
I tend to be uncompromising, unkind, unpitying, opinionated, and dismissive of nonsense. I bite. I make small children cry, but I am kind to squid. When I meet people in person, they tend to tell me I’m calm and mild-mannered and professorial, which infuriates me — beneath this soft and tweedy exterior lies a howling, fulminating fury. Seriously, if I actually looked like I feel, I’d be 12 feet tall with lasers blasting out of my eyesockets, OK? Don’t you people have imaginations any more?
With a little money in the special effects budget, they could have made me fit their image. But then, I also think the last sentence is prescient: they don’t have imaginations at all.