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Kevin Smith Online





"Your concept of celebrity was just boomer handed to you anyways..."


- Courtney Love in a 1994 net.news posting


This is my main gripe about the web: most home pages are unidirectional. Sure, pages usually provide an email link to the author but few web meisters provide anything like the open dialog found on net.news.


It doesn't have to be that way. A nifty place called Matt's Script Archive has free software that lets you embed a threaded message board in a web page. You'll need some technical savvy to set it up but you should be able to manage if you've ever edited a CONFIG.SYS file.


One of the better implementations of a web board is the View Askew board. If you're an indie film buff, you'll recognize View Askew as Kevin Smith's movie production company. Again, if you're an indie film buff you'll recognize Kevin Smith as the writer/director who made the outrageously funny, outrageously low-budgeted Clerks and Chasing Amy as well as the much maligned but pretty decent "big-budget" flick Mallrats.



The net seems to follow the Gordon Gekko rule: if it's wreckable someone will wreck it.



The conversation found on the View Askew board is not particularly deep. Smith's films are loud, crude, and set in New Jersey. Some of his audience follow suit online. Smith is no troglodyte, however. Underneath the gross-out jokes and the comic book references, Smith piles on telling satire and a spoonful of advice: love is what really matters. I'm not far enough into my thirties to disagree with him.


What sets the View Askew board apart is Smith and key members of his team readily interact with the board's comic fan boys, indie film aficionados, and those merely curious about the life of a former counter jockey who managed to turn himself into an award-winning film maker through a combination of good work and good luck.


Smith, whose forte is dialog, is surprisingly spare with his online words but tries to follow up many threads. His minions, the people Smith readily acknowledges are the secret of his success, are quick to answer questions in more detail. Most users seem satisfied that Smith and company at least take time to chat. Hey, just 'cause you've met Alyssa Milano and Tarantino sort of likes your films doesn't mean you can forget the movie go'ers!


While it would be nice if more celebs followed Smith's lead, the net's flat structure creates some difficulties for those with a wider audience. Paul McCartney, in a recent net outing, had something like a million messages directed his way.


Ranters are another impediment. The net seems to follow the Gordon Gekko rule: if it's wreckable someone will wreck it. Babylon 5's creator J. Michael Straczynski used to answer questions on rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5 until flamers drove him away. Back in '94, Courtney Love posted rambling messages to alt.fan.courtney-love. Her cryptic posts delighted most but ranters moved in for the kill, accusing her of murdering Kurt Cobain. She beat a hasty retreat, giving what amounted to the virtual finger: "God sometimes you kids make the Boomers look fucking hip."




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Copyright 2002 Karl Mamer

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"Copyright 2002 Karl Mamer (kamamer@yahoo.com)"

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