The End of Silence

If you’re a regular reader of this infrequently updated blog – or better yet a reader of Mixtape – you’ll know I’m a firm believer in the ability of music to change your world. The right song at the right moment in your life can have repercussions that echo through your entire life. This is the story of one of those songs that still echoes.

So it’s 1992. My birthday to be exact. Note I didn’t say “happy” birthday, because this one wasn’t. Generally I hate celebrating my birthday because who on earth wants to celebrate getting older? Most years I won’t even acknowledge it. But this year in particular sticks out because it was my last birthday “celebrated” at home. This was senior year of High School and I was heading off to college that fall. Of course in the moment I wasn’t sure that was going to happen because I had  something of a problem, namely I thought I was a talentless, worthless, and doomed to failure. My Big Plan was to go to Film School. Everyone thought that was a bad idea. They thought I should be realistic, that I should have a backup, that a career in the movie biz was incredibly difficult and who was I to think I could succeed in it when so many others more talented than me didn’t? they told me I was just not good enough or talented enough or hard working enough to ever make it.

And I believed them.

Plus, this was also at a time when my parents were fighting and arguing, near constantly (the news that hit me later that year – at Christmas, naturally – that they were separating wasn’t really a surprise). On the birth day in question, while opening my presents, something set one or the other off and soon enough they were yelling at each other while I tried to enjoy my birthday. But, I didn’t and rather than confront them, or ask them to keep their B.S. to themselves for just one day, I left. I got my coat and keys, hopped into my car and drove off. I had a dinner invite, and a party to go to later that night but I blew those off and just drove to nearby Kingston by myself, grabbed dinner by myself, drove around by myself, drove home by myself. Naturally I was listening to music – my mixtapes – but the song this is about wasn’t on those.

That was my birthday, February 21, 1992.  The End of Silence by The Rollins Band dropped four days later, on February 25 1992. But it would be a while before I picked it up.

Silence1

I first saw The Rollins Band at the first Lollapalooza festival the summer before, where they had the first slot of the day. The unenviable opening slot; first in the afternoon to a half-empty stadium. Not that they cared; they brought everything they had. And while I liked them, nothing indicated just how important this band and singer were to become in my life.

Low Self Opinion was – I believe – the second single off the album, so it didn’t appear on my radar until later that year, just before I graduated. By then that miserable birthday had been shoved off onto the corner where I keep all my other unhappy memories. I managed to graduate with pretty good grades, and shortly thereafter I found out I had been accepted into the Film Studies Program at Ryerson University. So to set the scene; I was looking forward to college, I was frightened of leaving home, but mostly I was looking forward to moving to Toronto already. But there was still some unfinished business — Lollapalooza 1992 was approaching, and I was trying to cram in as much fun into that summer as I could before college began and shit got “real”.

To me (and frankly, to everyone) college represented a chance to reset the clock and reinvent myself.  Really it’s one of the few chances in life you get to become the person you want to be. But doing that is more difficult than you think. You can maintain the illusion for a while but that old you – the real you – is still there lurking in your shadow. And while I knew who I wanted to be I also knew who I was. That angry, lonely kid who still felt he was destined to fail.

And then one day in June I heard it. More appropriately I saw it. I watched. I listened. I hopped in my car, drove to the local record store, and bought the album. Because the person that song was describing was me to an absolute T.

[Do me a favor, even if you know it, please click and listen/watch this video below before continuing]

It was freaky how accurately it described me at that time. Because I had been alienating myself and everybody else. My self-ridicule, my continued suffering in silence, my brushing off of friends and parties, my generally treating people like shit so they’d feel the way I did, which was miserable. Hearing this song, listening to it over and over again told me that I wasn’t fooling them – I was fooling myself. And slowly but surely I realized that while I had no control over who I was, I could control how I was. And I knew that if I carried the baggage of that person to college I’d end up being the same person I was thru high school.

Was it easy? No. Was I successful? More or less. I still have those moments of feeling inadequate, of feeling like a failure, but they don’t last nearly as long as they used to, and when they do come I usually get over them off and move on. But success is built on the foundations of your failure. Like a pyramid, the base is large and wide, chock full of disappointment. The next level is slightly smaller, and the level above smaller than that. All the way up those failures get less and less and pretty soon you find yourself standing at the summit, gazing out over a whole different looking world.

If I tally up Rollins Band performances and spoken word performances over the years I realize I’ve seen Henry Rollins more than I’ve seen any performer ever, and spanning over two decades.

Rollins1994But the most important show — to me anyway — was on August 26 1992, six months after The End of Silence, six months after that disastrous birthday. Only a few short days before I departed for college, I saw the Rollins Band in Ottawa. And as the band tore through their ferocious set I reflected on how much had changed since the last time – the first time – I saw them only a year before. And it was the first time I really knew that I would be alright.

I now live in New York, and have been writing movies and TV and comic books and now a novel, all full time since early 1999. All those predictions that I wouldn’t make it fell flat. That’s not the first time people have bet against me and lost, but I’m still here, and in its own small way that song was responsible for putting me here. I’m successful, obviously, but not so successful that I forgot what it’s like to think you have nothing to offer to anybody.

I still listen to Henry Rollins too. He’s more or less retired from music, but he still does spoken word tours, hosts a radio show on KCRW in L.A. And he has an excellent podcast along with friend and assistant Heidi May called Henry and Heidi that is my weekly listening ritual (and you can find that on iTunes)

Now I’m not saying that this song or any song is the be all and cure-all for whatever’s ailing you. If you’re really dealing with severe depression, you need to see someone about it. But for me, the right song at the right moment told me that I wasn’t alone. That what I was feeling was felt by countless others at some point in their lives. And Henry probably felt it because he wrote and performed a song that ended up changing this kid’s life. If there is a song that has that effect of saying “things aren’t that bad. I can change. I can make it better” then hang onto that song for dear life and it’ll always be there for you when you need it to.

Don’t suffer in silence.

 

21st Century Digital Boy

I realize I don’t really write much about tech. Probably because I have a love-hate relationship with it, especially with things internet-related. For every positive the internet has given us, there’s like ten awful things. I’ve actually been stepping back from all things online over the last year because it was becoming too much. Too much drama, too much distraction, too much bullshit. So it was under that particular cloud that late last year I said to my wife, “we should get an iPad.”

I’m not sure what brought this idea on, because I prefer my books on paper, my TV on a 42 inch set, my movies in a theater, and my music on – well, on my iPod (but preferably with a nice stereo system on hand). Plus, given that I spend my day staring at computer screens, the last thing I want to do on my downtime is stare at another.

I had also never even really picked up an iPad. Maybe at a friend’s place once or twice, but to me it just seemed like an oversized iPod. I didn’t think I needed one. But after doing a little research (thanks, Internet), we decided rather than having a whole pile of Christmas gifts under the tree, we’d splurge on one big gift we could both get some use out of. So we pooled our Xmas spending money, added in some money from our families back in Canada (in our home Christmas season is “Money From Canada” season), and bought a 128 GB iPad Air 2.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

And five months later it has become indispensable.

First, for work. Having found travel to be part of my writing life as of late, having the iPad with me on those travels has made doing my job a lot easier. Sending and receiving emails, obviously, but with Dropbox on my desktop and the Dropbox App on the iPad I was able to access work docs when I was up in Toronto last month. So that was handy. Also handy; Skype and Face Time. Skype, because my writing partner Kris is based in Halifax, and while email generally gets the job done, sometimes we need to talk face-to-digital-face. Face Time is great because my wife has it on her phone, and it makes calls to her while I’m away a bit nicer, especially on those longer trips. Given when we started dating back in 2003 (her in NY, me in Toronto) we racked up long distance bills equal to the GDP of a Third World Country, making calls for basically what we pay in internet access is a huge deal.

Second, for news. I don’t watch a lot of network or cable news because this is America and news here is crammed with partisan bullshit from which there is no escape. I am, however, a big magazine guy, having had a National Geographic subscription pretty much my entire life, and I’ve been an Economist subscriber since 2009. Both magazines have apps for subscribers, so I can download the new issue of the Economist on Thursdays, when the print edition sometimes doesn’t show up in my mailbox until Monday, by when I’m at least half way thru the latest issue on the iPad. I can download the latest NatGeo a day or so before the print mag arrives, and they have some additional features – video interviews, interactive maps etc. I also get Intelligent Life Quarterly for free, thanks to my Economist Subscription, which is chock full of goodness. I’ve even been considering switching to the Digital Only versions of my magazines when my subscriptions are up for renewal, for the convenience, and to maybe spare a few trees.

Don't let that fool you -- those are just the recent issues.

Don’t let that fool you — those are just the recent issues.

Third is entertainment. Spotify, iTunes, iBooks, but also (takes a deep breath) HBO GO, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, PBS, Hulu Plus, and the NFB.

Pictured: All The Entertainments

Pictured: All The Entertainments

A bit about those last two; I went all in for the Hulu Plus subscription ($7.99/month) for one big reason – this:

Drool

Drool

Yeah, that’s pretty much the entire Janus Films/Criterion Collection library at my fingertips. Were I to buy each title seperately I’d be broke. But having Bergman, Herzog, Kurosawa, Chaplin, Lloyd, Keaton, Lang et al just sitting there anytime I want them? Well worth the monthly rental.

But I have to say the real treasure is this NFB app. That’s The National Film Board of Canada’s library (they’re constantly adding titles). I found out about it when I was up in Toronto, downloaded it later that day, and found to my delight it’s accessible in the US.

O Canada ...

O Canada …

It’s also totally free. No charge for the app, no charge to watch. And they have a great function that Netflix, Hulu et al do not– the ability to download films to watch offline. They stay there for 48 hours, but when you’re travelling or just offline, you can watch Neighbors, Paddle to the Sea, the Log Driver’s Waltz, The Burning Times, The Cat Came Back, Ryan – everything.

If there is a downside to all this, it’s that it feels like I have too much entertainment at my fingertips. Funny to think though that five, ten years ago if I wanted all this content I had to go look for it. Like, in a store. So the ease of delivery and access is great.

But there’s 125 titles in my Netflix queue – titles, not individual things and much is TV. There’s well over a hundred Criterion titles in my Hulu Queue, plus there’s all the HBO stuff, the NFB stuff, lots of great public domain content on YouTube, and that doesn’t even cover my Spotify playlists. I’m never going to have time to enjoy all of it.

Now, for the point of this tech talk; How Much Has This Changed How I Spend My Money? Not as much as you’d think.

Granted, with so many streaming options for film and TV, I don’t buy nearly as many DVDs or Blu-Rays as I used to. Really, it’s mostly July and November, when Barnes & Noble have their excellent 50 % off Criterion titles that I go nuts, and even then usually to the tune of $100 for the entire sale period. The Criterion titles I can access on Hulu fill the rest of that void so I only buy the titles I really want copies of.

In addition I will admit my movie going has dropped off in the last year or so(that means “go to the theater to see a movie”). I used to go almost once a week. Now if I go once a month it’s usually for a good reason. Frankly there hasn’t been a lot to really entice me to the movies as of late. What I do try and do is seek out the smaller indie films than the big blockbusters. Age of Ultron doesn’t need my money, but The Babadook, It Follows, and The Guest do.

With one exception ...

With one exception …

With TV, we’ve cut our bill down to just basic service and HBO. We’re buying a new modem so we can return the one TWC charges a monthly rental fee. We could cut the cord entirely, but paying for the basic package gets us a good deal on our high-speed.

As far as music, I’m actually buying more even with Spotify giving me my music for the price of listening to their ads. I know Spotify gets a bum rap for the tiny royalties they pay out to the artists, but I’ve actually been prompted to buy songs and albums from a lot of the artists I discover on Spotify. I still like owning my music, and I like the artists to get a piece of my money because I want them to keep making music. In fact, if Spotify were to give you an option to buy digital files of the songs you stream, a lot of those criticisms might be muted.

Pictured: My shopping list

Pictured: My shopping list

I also find that with the iPad I am spending less time at my desk, which could be a lifesaver. A sedentary lifestyle is not a good one, and when my internet browsing was limited to that chair, it wasn’t doing me any favors. With my work desk focused on actual work it’s not uncommon for me to finish writing a couple hours earlier and switching it off for the day, keeping the iPad on hand to answer any emails that trickle in after the fact.

While it’s weird to think that 5-10 years from now iPads and tablets may look as anachronistic as flip-phones and Walkmans, ours has actually been a pretty good investment, especially when you realize this entire post was written on an iPad, and pictures were taken on it and uploaded on it.

Now all I need to do is know when to turn it off for the day.

 

If You Were Here

So I’ve been “laying low” pretty much since the beginning of 2015 for many reasons; work, personal, weather (seriously, was this or was this not the longest winter we’ve had in recent memory?). Plus I’ve been trying to downsize my involvement in all things online, which must be horrifying to the social media and SEO experts convinced my little patch of cyberspace is on life support. But to them I’d say “don’t worry about me” because things have been exceedingly positive on the work front, as the following will demonstrate.

NOW YOU KNOW

logo

Meet Howie and Baboo. They’re the stars of a new children’s series that will begin airing around the world this fall called Now You Know. It was created and produced by  Little Engine Moving Pictures, and I was asked to write five episodes of the first season. It’s an educational show, aimed at the pre-K crowd, where we provide answers to questions such as “how do rockets get into space” and “what happens when I flush the toilet”. It’s a lot of fun – and it encourages kids just about to enter Kindergarten to not be afraid to ask questions about things they don’t understand. I actually finished my work on Season 1 last year but before it even aired, Season 2 was greenlit. I’m proud to be involved in Now You Know also, because, it’s designed to instill an interest in learning in pre-schoolers, to teach them not be afraid to ask questions, and to not be afraid of giving a wrong answer. As someone who was quite shy starting out in school, that is important to me. Plus it has puppets, and puppets are fun.

MAGICIANS IMPOSSIBLE

At long last I have joined the ranks of published authors everywhere as my debut novel MAGICIANS IMPOSSIBLE will be published in 2017 by MacMillan Books. It’s about … well, just read this:

IMG_0297

This has been in the works for a while, probably since 2009 when in conversation with someone I was trying to say “Mission Impossible” and mangled the words as they escaped my mouth so they sounded like “Magicians Impossible.” And that someone said “you should totally write that”. And I thought to myself … maybe I should. That someone was my former agent Brendan Deneen, who left agenting to become a successful editor at St. Martins Press and producer at MacMillan Films. And while an earlier/different version of the Magicians Impossible story has long existed, both in screenplay and novel formats, it never quite clicked the way I wanted it to.  That was until a year ago when Brendan invited me out to lunch to ask what I thought about reworking the existing Magicians Impossible story into something along the lines of “Harry Potter meets James Bond”.

And over the intervening months as I worked feverishly on two other projects, I brainstormed MI’s characters and the world they lived in, wrote a detailed story treatment and character histories, and after much trial and error, delivered thirty pages of manuscript and an outline before jumping onto a plane to Scandinavia. Returning from my 10-day odyssey, I waited, and waited, and waited some more. And just before Halloween, Brendan and MacMillan made their official offer. After some months of back and forth while I sought out and secured the services of uber agent Jodi Reamer at Writers’ House  the deal was finalized. I deliver the manuscript in a year’s time.

60 SQUADRON

BB Cover-page-001

Now, time management will be key, because in addition to Magicians Impossible, I landed my first ever TV series created by me. Sort of. 60 SQUADRON – or “THE SQUADRON” which is the current working title (and rest assured there will be more titles run through the grinder before we settle on the final version) tells the story of the famous (some would say infamous) squadron that was home to notable flying aces like Albert Ball, Willy Fry, Grid Caldwell, and a Canadian of some note named Billy Bishop. This was the finest collection of pilots the Allies and the Royal Flying Corps had to throw at the Central Powers, and has been a story I’ve been wanting to tell nearly all my life. Along with creative partner writer-director Kris Booth (At Home By Myself With You) we in the very early stages of development, having just partnered with Copperheart Entertainment (Ginger Snaps, Splice, Wolves) to bring the adventures of 60 Squadron to the small screen in – we hope – 2017, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Bloody April – the most deadly month of aeriel combart in WW1. There are still many miles to fly on it and this is very much the start of what we hope will be quite the journey, but as it’s the culmination of an idea that planted itself in my mind way back in 2001 it feels like for the first time in a long time it could become a tangible reality.

MIXTAPE

The last, but certainly not least bit of news pertains to everybody’s favorite comic book about teenagers in the 1990sand their feelings. The ink is dry and I can finally announce Mixtape will be returning to comic book stores later this year. I just signed a deal with the brand new Space Goat Productions to publish itexclusively. The caveats: we’re reprinting Vol 1. (so Mixtape 1-5) and publishing it bi-monthly starting in September 2015.

Space-Goat

To those of you who already bought Mixtape this may come as a surprise and possibly a disappointment (though I hope not the latter). I’m routinely asked when Mixtape #6 will arrive, and can say that its arrival (along with subsequent issues) just became easier.

The fact is that outside of Mixtape #1, no issue of Mixtape has adorned a comic book shelf since April 2012. Issues 2 thru 5 were self-produced and distributed to what stores I could convince to accept them. Most of the sales came from comic book shows and conventions, sold personally by me to whomever stopped by my table. As you can imagine this is not a huge number. Local stores like Carmine Street Comics have really supported the book, but there’s a vast ocean of stores across the land and I want to get Mixtape into all of them. We’ll also be making Mixtape available digitally through Comixology, and other digital platforms, each arriving concurrent with the print version.

MIXTAPE VOLUME 1 will also be collected in a trade edition – something we’re calling a Deluxe Edition featuring playlists, behind the scenes notes and sketches, and hopefully a few “bonus tracks” in the form of guest artists, and a new Mixtape short story. We’re also considering adding a splash of color to the Deluxe Edition.
The plan is to segue from the “reprint” of Vol. 1 into Vol. 2, starting in July 2016. Volume 2, titled “Daydream Nation” has outlined and scripting has just finished on issue #6.

That gap in time gives us time to produce the books, and hopefully release it at a more consistent rate. Of course, this is all contingent on people buying the book, requesting it to be added to their pull-list, and spreading the word. And maybe, just maybe, Mixtape will find the audience that doesn’t even know it’s been what they’re looking for.

Now this does mean that issues 1-5 are being removed from IndyPlanet and iBooks as Space Goat takes over the print rights. This is unavoidable but if you already own the books in either form you still get to keep them. And we’ll be making some minor tweaks to the reprinted issues so the versions you already own will be collector’s items.

Plus, as detailed above, with Magicians Impossible and 60 Squadron dominating much of the next two plus years of my life, the ability to produce and promote Mixtape at shows and online is severely limited. The last thing I want is for it to die on the vine or be forgotten entirely – something that was in risk of happening before Space Goat stepped up. With the support of a comic book publisher with a solid marketing and sales plan in place, the job of getting Mixtape out wide becomes much, much easier.

And that’s where things are. That doesn’t include a couple other projects that may also be gearing up sooner than later. One is another TV project, the other a possible book-to-film adaptation, but they’re both in the discussion stages so I’d rather not dish on them just yet. But either way, 2015 is going to be one hell of a year.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll find time to update this website more often.

Angry Chair

I think we’ll all agree that 2014 was the year Outrage went viral. Everywhere you looked someone was getting angry about something. And it’s not that there weren’t things to get angry about. I won’t go into the sad sordid details of what was terrible about 2014 because you probably lived through it, and the moment I wrote ‘outrage’ your mind flashed to something that may have outraged you. Hell, in the time I started drafting this blog post to actually posting it people got outraged over the Oscar nominations, a female-male rape joke on Broad City and a bunch of other things.

Pictured: 2014

Pictured: 2014

In college I was friendly with a girl. Not romantically, just friendly. Saw her at various shows, saw her around campus. But she always had some cause she was fighting for. Always some injustice to right. And while we could converse about music, and movies, and life stuff she would inevitably steer the conversation around to what she wanted to talk about. Petitions were usually involved, as were invitations to marches and meetings and sit-ins. And while I agreed with her points, and the things she fought for and why she fought for them, it got to the point where I was starting to avoid her because I knew if we crossed paths, and grabbed coffee, soon she would be railing against whatever was outraging her that day. Because her perpetual outrage drove away someone who could have been an ally. It was exhausting to listen to, and probably exhausting to her as well.

Oh, and her outrage? It totally burnt her out. Last I heard she was doing … nothing in particular. Certainly not saving the world.

I *get* that people have things to be outraged about, especially the marginalized. But if all you have is outrage, people will start tuning you out, even if they want to support you, even if they agree with you. Because it’s exhausting for them to always hear your outrage. It’s inevitable – not because people don’t care, but because it’s exhausting hearing someone go on and on endlessly about the things that should make you care.

[Though I will make the somewhat controversial statement that much of the current outrage du jour movement is fueled by narcissism more than any quest for justice; that some people must be a part of the conversation and if that conversation isn’t what they want, will do everything in their power to steer it to territory where they can hold sway]

I call this Outrage fatigue. It’s a very real thing. A self-perpetuating Ouroboros of anger forever swallowing its own tail. It closes down the opportunity to discuss the reasons behind it, and eliminates any chance to change things for the better. I’ve seen innumerable instances where potential allies were turfed out of the cause for making the suggestion that there has to be a better way to solve these problems. I’ve heard people claim that if you’re not as outraged as they are about the cause then you’re on the side of the enemy. That your silence implies consent. Just when a turning point, an understanding could be reached, BOOM. Headshot. Brain matter everywhere.

Comedian Patton Oswalt said something to the effect that the best response to awful things is to not get outraged over them but to laugh at them. To rob them of their power. Naturally he was pilloried for this, because some people take a general observation as a personal attack because they have to remain part of the conversation even when it isn’t about them. But he was 100% right.

To me, the best response to outrage (and in fact a much better use of your energy) is to laugh at it. No matter the righteousness of the cause, no matter how entrenched your opponents are, once you laugh at them you shut them down. Because there’s no response to a good belly laugh. None.

Satire, and humor, can be a much more effective weapon than outrage ever will be. And it can accomplish much more than being angry about things. Because being angry burns you out quicker than anything. I’ve seen people drive themselves to the point of near breakdown because they’re just so tired of being so outraged all the time. They’ve become addicted to the endorphin rush righteous anger delivers. But like any addiction, that “hit” needs to be stronger every time you take it, and soon enough it destroys you. One drink needs to become three, needs to become a dozen. And soon you need that every day.

I’m not saying anger isn’t an appropriate response to bad shit in the world. But what I am saying is that anger has a tendency to drag you down to the level of the people and things you’re angry at.  The internet is pretty much fueled by anger and outrage – Salon.com did an Outrage Calendar that detailed on a day-by-day basis what people were getting angry about. There wasn’t a single day that was blank. Every day was outrage. But looking deeper you see how much of that outrage lasted barely a day. Someone tweeted something others took offence at, the pitchforks and torches came out, apologies were made, accounts deleted, and the mob moved on to the next  thing.

Quick quiz: what were we all outraged about this day a year ago? Without peeking at that Salon calendar. You can’t do it can you. Because in outrage you sweat everything; small stuff, large stuff, and soon enough you’ve become the Boy (or Girl) who cried I’M OUTRAGED, and everyone else has stopped listening.

To me the best way to bring people together is through laughter. To make someone understand a different POV, is through laughter. Through comedy, through satire – through art. And I speak from experience, as you’ll see with the inevitable anecdote.

Flashback 1990. I’m in High School, living in a small town in Easter Ontario. A small, conservative town in Easter Ontario. So not the most “progressive” of places. Largely white, Anglo-Saxon protestant. It was actually settled largely by United Empire Loyalists, fleeing the aftermath of the American Revolution. And it retains those roots to this day.

But it was, for the most part, a nice, safe place to grow up. Unless you were different. A visible minority. Or gay. Especially the latter. And the honest truth is as a teenager I was probably a little bit homophobic. Not out of any genuine malice, but because that was the environment I was growing up in. Not at home – my parents were and remain quite  progressive, having grown up during the Civil Rights era. But in the 80s words like “fag” and “queer” and “homo” and “dyke” were insults. The worst acts I performed would have been using those words in a derisive manner.

The reason was because the world was smaller then, more a greenhouse than a garden. We had no internet, no social media. The next town over might as well have been a million miles away. And that was the environment I grew up in.

So what changed my attitudes? Television, and specifically this show:

the-kids-in-the-hall

And this actor:

ST

Who most famously played this character

Buddy

I detailed a couple years ago how Kids in the Hall was an important TV series in my life. I trekked all over Toronto one Saturday just to get my hands on a cassette tape from the band who performed the music for it. I taped every episode, and watched every episode multiple times. It was my generation’s Monty Python, and it changed my life in many ways. Particularly one sketch, which you can watch below.

Needless to say I was blown away. Because here was this actor, who made me laugh every week, basically coming out on nation-wide television.

And you know what? I was okay with it. Because it was my favorite show, because Scott was my favorite performer on that show. So yes, in 2014 speak it made me “check my privilege” not by throwing outrage everywhere, but making me laugh at myself and those attitudes I carried. And not two years later I was in university, at a downtown Toronto campus at the edge of the “Gay Village” of Church Street and College. I had classmates who were gay, the security guard at our residence was transgendered. And I was fine with all of it, because the Kids and Scott had opened my eyes to the world, to made me see it in a different light, and to laugh at the absurdity of judging someone because of their race, gender, and orientation. It made me laugh at myself.

Because what Scott taught me was that there was nothing about gay people that I should fear. Because that’s where prejudice comes from – fear. And outrage comes from an inability to control that fear and anger, to make it your weapon, rather than being consumed by it.

So don’t.