Saturday, August 03, 2002


Sometimes my husband accuses me of being too attached to my habits, and I do not contradict him. Nearly every Saturday I rise up, feed the dog, make my coffee, and strap myself into my walkman. I do not watch Headline News. I do not snuggle. This is probably not good for my marriage.

I cannot help myself. I am deeply fond of the public radio show "On the Media," which is, in my humble opinion, a terrible title for a wonderful show about...well, the innards of the media. But the blanketish title allows the show to cover all kinds of not-necessarily-the-news news, such as the fact that after 40 years of comic book life, Marvel's hero The Thing has been given a Jewish identity. Which makes all the smarty pants listening think of Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay," including me. Remember how Mr. Spock could sometimes make Captain Kirk erase parts of his past, by pressing some human nerve thingie and whispering "Forget, forget?" I wish Mr. Spock could show up at my door after I've read a wonderment like "The Amazing Adventures..." and do that to me, so I could read the book a second time in the same state of awe as I did when I read it the first time.

Anyhoo, along with all the theorizing about why make Ben Grimm-turned-Thing Jewish now, an interview with the current comic writer, comparisons to the Golem and to Moses, and a funny skit that imagines The Thing's Jewish Mom, they also interviewed the original co-creator, Stan Lee, who is proof that comics keep you forever young. He basically said, "Huh?" Stan Lee, a very smart guy, seemed absolutely...well, marveling at all the theories people had come up with. Nope, he'd never intended the Thing to be any religion, and no, he didn't change his Jewish name to fit in to the comics....he changed his name because comics weren't respectable. And that's when I realized that Mr. Spock had come to my door, and I was having Kavalier and Clay, Part II, read aloud to me.


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