INTRODUCING...MICHAEL PETERSON

Hello, my name is Michael Peterson, and I was invited to guestblog here at "The Great Swifty Speaketh," because Justin and Swifty have both sold out, making them irrelevant in the internet community. Because on the internet, we value things that are INDY. If you didn"t like them before they were cool, then your opinion is without merit! Only conforming to Ape Law will let you live amongst the tribe! I have been brought in to save this site from its Timberlake-lovin" self. "Bring me 50 cc"s of Patchwork," Swifty said, and I was rushed in on a makeshift crash cart, still in my bath robe.

See, I am still INDY. I have known Justin since long before he was cool – he was, in fact, a slack-jawed convenience store employee who walked amongst the internet unwashed, like Christ in his early years. What"s more, you know for a fact that I am truly INDY because I shun the love of women. Right, Indy Rock Pete?



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Justin: Hahahaha perfect, nice Diesel Sweeties reference too
Swifty: Timberlake is god.


That"s right. Not even the lovely Dawn Yang can distract me. Because I am of a great and holy tribe, that of the INDY ARTIST, and we can make you orgasm with our sheer brain power.



I"m going to invite you into my world over the course of this post, and hopefully some of you will join me over at my pimpin" internet abode, Patchwork Earth.

…That"s right, kids, I"m here to advertise. I"m a sell-out, too. I SLEEP ON A BED OF LIES AND A PILLOW OF SHAME. And with blankets of guilt, and a comforter of hypocrisy, and, you know, so on in that vein.

However! I"ve already got you neck-deep into this post, so let"s go through the Wonka tunnel. I manipulate a little thought-puppet called Patch Brennan, and he is an angry, angry boy. Apparently, he"s alone and adrift in a sea of mediocrity. Tell them about it, Patches…

Warning: Exposure to this column, as always, may prompt Columbine-like acts of public vandalism… Sometimes I want to climb to my rooftop and start picking people off with my flesh rifle. A little schmeg between the eyes is just what this country needs. I, in my self-sacrificial role of comic columnist, have been reading Cheapweb Comics so that you don"t have to, and I may have a brain tumor now. This is nothing to laugh at. Unlike you unwashed masses, rolling about in cat feces and masturbating over photomanips that look like you wrapped last year"s playmate in Styrofoam, my brain is grooved so tight that nanites get their feet stuck in between the folds. By the time I was conceived, my brain already looked like Marlon Brando"s thumbprint. And so I do these things not for personal gain, but because I love you more than you love me.


That"s vile, and the only way to spank a protagonist when he acts out is to add a few more chapters of agony before the catharsis. This might be why "Lazy Metaphors," the cage I keep Patch locked up in, is thousands and thousands of pages in length. It might also be due to of a head injury I suffered when I was seven. My head was split open by concrete. Not long after, I decided that when I grew up, I was going to make comics for a living. I"ve since half-ass charmed my way into the industry, and have begun my insidious viral program to take over entertainment media itself. Why have I resorted to full-on supervillainy? I answered this question earlier this week over at Cellar Door Publishing


Whether things are better or worse than they used to be is irrelevant, honestly. Absolutely beside the point. The POINT is that we should never, ever settle, and that each and every last one of us should be pushing ourselves to make things better than they are. That means our leaders (secular and spiritual) need to be better, our teachers need to be better, our artists need to be better, our parents need to be better, our scientists have to be better, and our garbagemen, flight attendants, baristas, salespeople, and our fucking caddies have to be better. Everyone that isn't pushing is holding the rest back. Yeah, there's gonna be a lot of mediocre work, and a lot of downright shit. But when that happens, you've gotta say THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. We. Need. To. Stop. Settling.
Because we do, folks, we need to stop settling for mediocrity. We need to embrace the future. Art is changing, narrative is changing, and you need to keep up or the bus is leaving without you. You might notice I"ve been mixing metaphors throughout this post, and that"s entirely purposeful. If you haven"t noticed, I"ve got a thing about metaphors. So, what"s the future hold? I can"t say I"m the expert, I"m sad to admit, but I do know a few precious things, kids, so I"m going to impart them to you.

1) The relationship between audience and art is changing. Hopefully you"ve all read Justin"s rebuttal to Robin Hobb by now. That"s the tip of the proverbial iceberg, here. The fact is, the fan works are getting their own fans, making their own fan works. Our simple art-commerce-audience triangle is suddenly becoming something three- and four-dimensional. I sold someone on Carla Speed McNeil"s "Finder" once by role-playing as the protagonist. She went out and bought the whole series. Between fan works, role-playing, sanctioned non-canonical stories and apocrypha, and ever-more intricate post- and post-post-modern parodies, satires, homages, and references, it"s becoming increasingly about what you add to the created universe. The Tolkien fans would be quick to say it"s been this way for decades, but we"re only now getting to a point where the new connections and artwork being made isn"t insipid.
This brings us to my second point of contention…

2) Copyright is increasingly archaic and irrelevant. Look, if you"re not in the loop on Copyleft, it"s going to take a lot less time for you to go to the source than it is for me to lecture. Visit Creative Commons today. Read BoingBoing. Don"t just read what this stuff is, understand why it matters.

3) Information is viral. This shouldn"t even be under discussion, but some people are still—

NOLDORN!
Its name was known to all, no matter the level of existence it claimed in a given world. It was contained in the books of the Great Library, but only the legends, the oral re-tellings of those vanquished by the great worm, were ever given heed.
All knew that its thirteen segments were invulnerable, made of some hide hewn more out of stone; that its wail drove even the most stalwart to his knees in agony--or even madness; all knew that to challenge Noldorn was to welcome the splintering of bone and the subsequent plunge into the Void of Souls.
All knew that to strike its only weakness, the bleeding heart at its endpoint, would only enrage the beast--and it would retaliate with speed unparalleled by even the gods themselves...
--Huh. What the fuck was that about? Anyway, where was I? Anyway, memetics. Very important.
So what"s all this add up to? Well, you"ve gotta do the math yourself. What am I doing with it? Well, I made Patchwork Earth.

Patchwork Earth is an experiment in evolving narrative. What that means, is the complex, fractal web of stories that make up my creation of PE is only the first step. Everything, or almost everything, of mine is available under CC so that people can build upon it in their own ways, make their own narratives that will likewise be built upon. With luck, other people will have the same idea, and each unit of fiction will be its own node on what Spike and I have termed the Oneironet.

Why focus so heavily on comics? There"s a purity of _expression to comics that"s very ingrained and primal. Visual language was how we started as a culture. Here"s another homework assignment for you: Go out into the "real world" later, and take a look around at all the examples of comics, sequential images, cartoon iconography, closure, and masking that take place in everything around us. Get out a notebook and start writing them all down and come back to me. If you crib from "Understanding Comics," I"ll know. Show your work and use a number two pencil. Look at your world in a new way.

So. I need an apprentice. Someone I can instruct in the ways of Interstitial Fiction, Photo Sapiens, and now especially Alternate Reality Gaming (a term I dislike, but it was decided long before I arrived). These are terms you should look up, by the way. Someone who"s truly INDY does not wait for people to understand what the fuck he"s talking about, he barrels forward so that he and the few people in his little club can laugh about how much they know. You"d perform intern-like tasks of organization and keeping my general affairs in order, and you"d receive full-on lessons about comics and evolving narrative. You"d also help me build the infrastructure of Patchwork Earth and the Oneironet, all for zero pay and no benefits! Preferably in the Chicago area. Hot women preferred—will be ogled but not touched. May occasionally be snorted at derisively.

Perhaps you think I"ve nothing to teach you. Let me impart this freely to you. We could learn a lot more from Broadway Musicals. No? Consider this for a moment. To write for the stage requires dialogue with a certain cadence that can be heard aloud. While that dialogue may not be "realistic," per se, it can feel more natural to the ear by the way it flows. Working in and around a theatre crowd for many years of my life helped my ear for dialogue, I think. But that"s not all! Musicals require a suspension of disbelief in which a traditionally mundane story intersects wildly with the fantastic—the sudden break out into song and dance. This synthesis (a big word where I come from--everything"s about synthesis, it"s the trick behind everything I"ve talked about here) of two realities and how they interrelate is something you can take a cue from if you"re trying to write about the fantastic. How do you make the real and the surreal exist simultaneously in a believable world? That"s what it"s all about. When you can do that, you can write about whatever theme your INDY little heart desires.

And that"s all! Thanks for listening to me. I"m going to hand you over to the corporate-owned, commercial monkeys that run this site. I want to leave you tonight with a part of Patchwork Earth that some people don"t want you to see. It"s a song by in-canon band The Fever Dream Five, and it"s called "Spike"s Song" because Justin wrote this a few years back. It"s very emo. And it sums up perfectly well the mediocrity that"s hanging over our heads, a blunt-edged and worn Sword of Damocles. G"night, everyone, and stay pink, soft, and oily.

That's a Mystery Science Theater 3000 reference.

[CENSORED]

Thanks, Swifty. You fucking Sell-out.