Dear Allison, Jamie, Citizen Radio’s John Frusciante (and Katey)
(You gave me a foundation for my mistrust and hate of the mainstream media
Before, I had clenched my fists and there was a tickle in my brain that told me
something was wrong here. Oh my gosh, everything is racist and we live in
a patriarchy and all those history classes that told me of the white, triumphant heroes
who were so brave as they slaughtered and stole and took rights away
were some kind of biased lie, and did you know that history is repeating itself?
Jamie made me know that it was okay to be anxious and sad,
but also to laugh a lot when things seem dark
That within the creative mind there are so many possibilities
From Bane to Sad!Mario to Evil Republican Baby.
From NPR!Jim to Tad Everyman tonight on CNN!
That sometimes life is a 1 in 25 stand-up shows chance to make the world know
who you are and laugh a little until that chance becomes a surefire result
With fans – Maniacs – to support you until and when you get there
Allison made me know that it is okay to be angry and questioning,
but also not to be apathetic where there seems to be no solution
Within the many so-called truths the facts will emerge if you
look for them hard enough
That just because you’re serious doesn’t mean you can’t laugh
And come up with ways to get your point across in a way that’s funny and still
gets the information into the ears that will willingly search for it and listen
From Jan Brewer to Helena to NPR!Pam
To dissuading Jamie from working with
Carl the Styrofoam Man
And telling us Maniacs when to “Nope. Don’t do that.”
You gave me a foundation in which I could relax
And laugh and be anxious about the newest ridiculous
Thing that’s happening rather than my own worries that keep me awake
With this community I know that I am safe,
while trying to make the world better
Thanks Jamie and Allison and
Katey and Citizen Radio’s John Frusciante
For the comedy and reporting and therapeutic advice –
For Dezzy and Penny
For writing a book – which is much easier a recommendation to make
to random strangers than a podcast that’s an hour long, 5 days a week –
Something I can have when the power on my phone is zero
The past 11 months you’ve made me happy when I wasn’t
Assured my confidence in what I want to be (a science fiction/fantasy author)
You’ve made me stop eating meat and eat more vegetables
You’ve made me heal and mostly not care what certain people
that have wronged me, think)
After getting on 2 different buses, walking a lot, taking the subway for the first time (and getting my mom to help me/allow me to go – the most important step) I made it to Powerhouse Arena. I knew, instinctively, that it would go amazingly and it would be the best day of my life. No, seriously.
What I didn’t know was I was absolutely right on both things. I laughed a lot (and tried not having my mom sitting next to me affect that, although she did laugh a couple of times, which surprised me). It was great, my face hurt, and I was exhausted and excited at the same time. The joke I wanted to make, I couldn’t make in front of my mom, but…. isn’t it ironic that we were watching atheists talk while sitting in church-like pews? 🙂 (Thanks for not harping on the atheism, actually. I think that persuaded my God-has-a-plan and pray to St. Whatever mom to kind of warm up to you three.)
Then came the signing part.
Usually, I need to plan out what I’m going to say, because, haha, anxiety, but somehow I managed to tell you all about how Citizen Radio gave my anger direction and that listening to episodes repeatedly helps me from getting too anxious and panicky.
A whole theme of this day for me was confidence. Somehow through all the exhaustion and travel, I was confident that when I got there, everything would be okay. That’s because I know when I listen to the newest episode (or whatever episode) of Citizen Radio, everything will be okay, and I feel safe. (Also, This Part’s The Best, as well, of course.)
You’ve made me see the world for what it is, and it’s a horrible place (uh, for people with less privilege, obviously.) But it’s a less horrible place when there’s Twitter and Fellow Maniacs and comedy and Citizen Radio’s John Frusciante. Speaking of which, he recognized me! All three of you, maybe? But anyway, “Are you Mary Wright?” YES, YES I AM, CITIZEN RADIO’S JOHN FRUSCIANTE!
Thanks for all that you do. I support the show currently without money, but with lots of retweets and re-listens and somehow, overall overprotectiveness. Citizen Radio’s John Frusciante was right when he said that some Maniacs (me) like to keep the podcast to themselves. It feels like a personal thing to me, since in my life right now there’s not many things I can say that I can think about without worrying what my mom with think/say about whatever random not-at-all-bad thing it is. (Haha, that might change now that my mom “knows” *a little* about Citizen Radio).
I’ve been listening for 11 months now (almost), and I can’t tell you how many times listening has helped me relax to get to sleep and stop worrying, or making me laugh when I needed to laugh. (Sometimes both.)
I’m seriously surprised I didn’t cry when I got to the signing table. (Tears were in my eyes when I saw you all standing waiting for Dave Zirin to welcome you to the chairs, but after that, all laughs and confidence).
I know I am, by far, not one of the worse-off listeners, and that my perception of my life is because I’m not where I want to be yet. (Also, anxiety. That helps.) Things could be worse. But they aren’t.
So, as Jamie said last night, “The misery is just part of the story you’re going to tell.” (I may have misquoted you a bit, but that was the general idea of what you said, and it stuck with me.)
Seriously, thank you all so much for everything.
-Mary Wright (@maryiswriting)
P.S. Best Day Ever would have been even more awesome if I got Citizen Radio’s John Frusciante’s autograph, but I didn’t have anything for him to sign.
P.P.S. I wish I met Katey Healy-Wurzburg. (I got excited on the way when I saw streets I remembered you all mentioning, and Duane Reade, and JAY STREET METRO TECH)
P.P.P.S. I live in Northern NJ. The trip wasn’t that far, but it was a big deal for me, because anxiety, and I don’t……um, go to a lot of places that aren’t bookstores, or go places in general. (Case in point, Powerhouse Arena is a bookstore.)
[FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT PART OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE MEANT TO READ THIS LETTER, BUY NEWSFAIL. YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT. IT’S EVEN BETTER THAN I IMAGINED IT, AND I IMAGINED IT AS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I’LL EVER READ, BEFORE I EVEN GOT IT. BUY IT. C’MON.]
[If you ever wanted a testimonial for it, mine would be, “If you’d like an accurately documented history of what’s wrong with the U.S. media (and internationally, sometimes), alongside the history of the struggle by a journalist and a comedian to be heard in a world of lies, this book is for you. If you want actual hope, and actual laughs, and not the fake kind that most media tries to make with their offensive punny headlines, and misleading graphs and tables and answers from anonymous sources, then this is the book for you. Also, this might be the podcast for you, too. If you think there are a lot of problems with how the world works, you’d be right – #NEWSFAIL lays it out for you, like a really funny, fantastic-description-filled timeline.”]