John Hodgman is a sexy brainiac. I say this because when I saw him last night at a reading for his new book, he 1) used the word panopticon, a great word that’s underutilized and 2) because he said when he Googled himself, he found he’s been described as pudgy, stout, round. Who wants that? Try dapper, trim, and tuxedoed, bloggers. Just doing my part to improve your cyber status, John.
Hodgman, a correspondent for The Daily Show and the guy who plays the PC in the Mac commercials, was pitching his book More Information Than You Require at Brookline Booksmith where he bantered with his guitar-wielding friend, singer Jonathan Coulton, and read a piece about the surreal experience of overnight fame. Good stuff.
Watching this unconventional reading made me realize what a golden multimedia age we live in when you can write a magazine article or a book (cool enough, really) and parlay that into a humorous gig on a TV show, land a commercial, and become an icon overnight, if you’re funny, that is. For humor writers these days, the opportunities are dreamy and diverse—you can start a blog (like Hodgman’s packed-with-good bits site), post videos and hope they go viral, or pen stories for good old-fashioned magazines or the radio that magically turn into podcasts. Of course, if you’re a typical introverted writer the thought of being discovered by the media—mediafied, if you will—is terrifying. Better to strive to be a sexy brainiac with a low profile.