Wednesday, August 15, 2012

John Scalzi Trying to Manipulate You With Subliminal Messages?

Photo By:  Brian Ingmanson
John Scalzi, over at his blog, Whatever, recently posted both a fantastic article about how people can avoid being creepy in general in social situations (and especially at cons), and then a follow up post in which he talked about his own experiences as both a creepee and a potential creeper.  Both are well worth your time and energy to read--and to read through the comment threads as well.  Then again, we should probably just treat it as fact at this point that if Scalzi posts it on his blog, that means you should probably read it and internalize it.

Heck, I'd be willing to believe there were deep philosophical ideals to be gleaned from his "Bacon Taped to a Cat" escapades.  What those messages might be, I dunno.  Maybe something about the possibly destructive nature of having our every desires met with such ease, or maybe something along about how even our best relationships can become problematic and bothersome at times?  Or maybe that the ultimate question--to which the answer is 42--is "how many strips of bacon should I eat for breakfast?"

However, I have one point I need to mention.  I often search for Scalzi's name in the comment threads because I like to see how Scalzi reponds to the naysayers and trolls.  It's a lesson on internet etiquette and how to effectively monitor a discussion of controversial topics--hell of how to effectively run a site.  While scrolling, however, something caught my eye.  At first, I thought it was just a bit of dust on my screen--it happens all the time.  I'm not the most neat and tidy person.  However, I noticed when I scrolled past it, it went away.  Whatever it was, it was only only showing up in Scalzi's posts.

If you don't notice it right away, it's over on the right of his comment.  See that very faint dark swatch?

Do you see it now?  I scrolled up and down.  Given the sort of circular nature of the dark spot, I thought, heck, maybe Scalzi has it programmed to show a coffee stain on his post.  That's a typical author thing to have.  A lot of authors use coffee imagery because it's synonymous with authors and teachers.  It's what fuels them.

But then I started looking closer.  I called my wife in to see if she could see it.  She couldn't at first.  I had to point it out to her.  I present to you an enhanced photograph so that you can see what Scalzi hides in his comments.

IT'S SCALZI'S FACE!  (BUM BUM BUUUUUUUUM!!!!)  What could this mean?  Why would Scalzi hide his face ever so faintly in his comments?  Is it because he wants to manipulate you into buying more of his books?  Is it because he wants to create a pleasing feeling whenever you see his face?  Is it because the author we know as "Scalzi" is not really Scalzi but is in fact his alien captor Izlacs from the Rohtua galaxy and Scalzi has been made a prisoner of his own website--like the Phantom Zone for authors???

Or, is his true message sort of a Big Brother circa 1984.  Maybe his face looming and watching you from the corner of his eye is a way of reminding you that Big Scalzi is watching, and if you don't behave in his comments section, ye will the Mallet of Loving Correction descend upon you with a righteous fury.

Or maybe, given Scalzi's fair and well maintained comments section.  It's more of a promise.  Sort of like that famous quote from the Grapes of Wrath:  "Whenever there's a fight where bigots spew garbage, I'll be there.  Whenever there's a straight, cis, white dude whining about the use of the word 'privilege,' I'll be there."

Who knows what this could mean?  What promise of dark vengeance or glorious salvation is Scalzi proffering up?  Put on your tinfoil hats and post your own theories below, if you got 'em.