RIP Ox Baker, Master of the Heart Punch, the Iron-On Shirt, and Predicting the Price of Wall Clocks. Florida will forever belong to you.
WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but it seems like every party we’ve attended lately has included tarot card readings, or fortune-telling, or some other kind of vaguely witchy entertainment. Plus, when we moved recently, we were given dried sage to burn by just about everyone we know!
So uh… C.W. McCall wrote a song about the Pine Tar Incident at Royals Stadium? And he calls Billy Martin a “tar baby” in it? And he throws Billy Carter under the bus? I guess C.W. just really hates city slickers, and needed to record a hot diss song in 1983 to disguise the fact that he was just a studio trucker.
I found it! As mentioned in a previous post, I recently stumbled across the 826NYC Fact Book that was handed out a decade ago shortly before the center opened. I subsequently “put it somewhere safe” and immediately forgot which box of papers is “somewhere safe”. But I found it again last night!
Ten years later, some of the names (and fonts) have changed, but the mission and the programs are pretty much identical. And at the risk of repeating myself, you can donate a few bucks to keep these programs running right now! Or any time, but at this point I’m super close to reaching my goal of raising $826 by 8/26. If everyone who shared or liked one of my previous social-networking outbursts donated two dollars apiece ($2.00! American!) I would totally be there and could go back to just posting stories about being questioned about the relevance of World War Hulk to the story of Anne Frank by a seven year old without explicitly busking for money while doing it.
Thanks once again to everyone who has already donated and spread the word. Back in 2004 826NYC didn’t have Tumblr (or Twitter, or Instagram, or Facebook, or an online superhero supply store) to spread the word. We may have had a janky Myspace account, but that was just about it. Imagine what sort of crazy platforms will exist in 2024! You’ll probably be able to TASTE superpowers online by then.
An Update on Asking For Money, With Clarifications But No Adorable Story
Thank you to everyone who has donated and/or spread the word about $826 for 826NYC on 8/26. I wanted to clarify several things!
- First off, thank you once again to everyone who donated. I realize that sending hard-earned digital money into the ether of the Internet for nothing other than altruism is very far down the list of people with means limited or otherwise. I’m very grateful.
- There appeared to be some confusion on exactly how to donate. I apologize. Here is the link that will take you to a page where you can donate whatever amount you wish.
- And it is indeed whatever amount you wish. The stated goal of this little experiment is to get a lot of our volunteer base to go out and rep for 826NYC and get all of their friends and acquaintances to donate a total of $826. You can donate any amount you wish, even if it’s a symbolic eighty-three cents. I thought $0.826 would be more symbolic, but unfortunately at this time we cannot accept fractions of a cent.
- Some people have asked me about volunteering. We’re always looking for new volunteers! The site is in the midst of a redesign (the snappy new logo above is part of it!) so here is a direct link to information about volunteering. If you don’t live in New York but are interested in working with a very similar education program (sans cape tester, sadly) you can check out 826 National for information about seven other chapters across the nation.
With all of that said, even if you are a New Yorker who wants to neither volunteer nor donate, you should still sign up for the 826NYC mailing list! It’s only one or two e-mails a month, and in addition to hearing more about great programs you should totally donate or volunteer to support, you’ll also be the first to know about the sweet fundraising events we regularly hold, where you get to support creativity and education in addition to attending unique and exciting events. I went to the very first one of these (and recently stumbled across the infosheet for it and subsequently misplaced it again) back in June 2004, mere weeks before inadvertently moving to an apartment a few blocks away from the center.
So anyway, do at least one of these things! Or more than one! One more time, this is the link to donate. I hope things have been sufficiently clarified.
In Which I Ask You to Donate Money, But Sweeten the Pot With a Story of Learning and Tolerance
It was after drop-in tutoring and two kids around ten years old hadn’t yet been fetched by their parents. One was an 826 lifer who’s been involved with countless workshops and projects. The other was dragged in sporadically by his parents for maybe a year before his sullen eye-rolling brought an end to the experiment. Maybe it’s not important which was which.
The first kid mentions his hopes of getting a dog for his birthday. Or maybe a cat. Definitely a pet. He would LOVE a pet and turns to the second to ask if he has any pets. Second Kid says no, and when pressed on the issue explains because his mother is allergic to dogs.
The first kid is gobstruck. “WHAT? She’s allergic to DOGS? I’m sorry, but that is STUPID. Dogs are awesome. What kind of messed up person would be ALLERGIC to something so awesome? I don’t know man, your mom is DUMB.”
Second kid has absolutely no response to this, and looks at me pleadingly. I attempt to intervene: “Look First Kid, being allergic to dogs has nothing to do with liking dogs. My mother loves all animals, but she’s allergic to cats and a lot of dogs. She can’t help it, it’s just something that happens.”
First kid is deep in thought. “So like you’re born with allergies?”
"There are people in our community who are… I don’t want to say the word… it’s like when a boy likes a boy or a girl likes a girl."
"You mean people who are gay?"
"YES! Now… I know that being G-A-Y isn’t a big deal, it’s just how some people are born, and it’s not weird, and no one should ever make fun of them for it. I shouldn’t get in trouble for saying this!"
"You haven’t said anything that will get you in trouble, First Kid. And if you’re just stating a fact it’s okay to say gay."
"I don’t want to get in trouble. But like… Second Kid’s mom was just BORN allergic to dogs?"
"Okay, so being allergic to dogs is the same thing as being gay?"
"I mean… yes?"
"Second Kid, I’m sorry I made fun of your Mom for being allergic to dogs. It’s just like she’s gay or something, she’s not stupid."
Second kid begrudgingly accepted the apology, and seconds later his mother came in to pick him up. First kid felt a little bad for being prejudiced against allergic people, but I told him he’s fine. And he is.Beyond watching sullen eight year olds who hate homework growing into high-achieving teenagers who will patiently walk a second grader they barely know through multiplication even if it interrupts their own studies, beyond watching kids discover their hidden love of acting, poetry, claymation, or fashion design, beyond even getting to walk through A SECRET PASSAGE HIDDEN BEHIND A BOOKSHELF multiple times a week, this is why I volunteer at 826NYC and want it to continue to flourish. It’s a safe space for people to ask questions, explore topics, and learn tolerance for people with dog allergies.
Embracing the red pen.
I think this article could have used some revising to reflect there are at least four levels of “editorial involvement” at the Marvel/DC level:
- Actual line-editing, i.e. “You misspelled these words and you might want to work on your transition between scenes here, it’s not clear.”
- A creative sounding-board/story editor, i.e. “You might want to flesh out this character’s motivations more, and hold off on resolving [plot point] until after [event]. Maybe you could explore this?
- Continuity/Character Cop, i.e. “Namor wasn’t an Avenger until long after when you’re flashing back to. Martian Manhunter probably wouldn’t call anyone a “stupid douchebag”. You’re drawing red underwear on Superman, and Batman doesn’t sit.”
- Editorially Driven Content, i.e. “Hey drop what you’re doing. Your next three issues need to tie into our linewide event. Stop using Character A, I know you’re halfway into a yearlong story, but someone has dibs on her. You’re using this other character now, to set up a mini-series someone else is writing. Also we’re replacing you on this book, you’re writing an entirely different thing or nothing at all. Also goddammit, we told you Batman doesn’t sit.”
I am reasonably certain every single Image book (and indeed, every book published in the world, even self-published ones) have people doing Jobs One and Two. You might have a few hardcore auteurs bristle against Job Two, but they’re few and far between.
Job Three is a necessary task — I wouldn’t even call it a necessary evil, though some might and I can see where they’re coming from — but I honestly don’t see a lot of it evident from most Big Two books, and where I do it’s usually something silly like the Batman Doesn’t Sit business.
Job Four is probably seen as a necessary evil, and is almost certainly where 90% of complaints about editors originate. I think a lot of times this involves shooting the messenger, since the assistant editor on Doctor Strange or Doom Patrol isn’t deciding when a marquee character turns into a [black person/woman/corpse/talking horse]. It’s frustrating as a reader to see stories you enjoy get derailed, so I can only imagine how it feels to the creators. It may be the cost of doing business, but it’s also a completely valid motivation for someone to want to stop doing that business, and to call it “demonizing editors” is wack.