Monthly Archives: October 2013

It’s Time to Take Back the Fedora

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’m here today to talk about an important problem. A problem that we, as a society, have ignored for too long. A problem that ranks among the greatest our nation has ever faced. I’m talking, of course, about the plight of the fedora.

The fedora was once a proud accessory. It was the hat of choice for fashionable ladies and cultured men. Hardboiled detectives and powerful gangsters wouldn’t be caught dead without one. Hollywood stars wore them on the silver screen with a cool indifference that oozed sex appeal. The fedora was an icon of culture and sophistication with hints of seductive danger. It was an icon of America.

But it fell out of fashion, as all styles do. While many were sad to see it go, it was best that it retired with a quiet dignity. If all had gone as intended we would be looking back at it today as a symbol of a sexy, tough and intriguing era.

Then something terrible happened. The fedora returned. Like a slumbering corpse disturbed by a malevolent necromancer, it rose from the grave as a twisted mockery of what it once was. Nobody thought much of it at first. “So what if a few frat bros are wearing fedoras? It’ll pass when they realise how stupid they look,” we told ourselves. Oh, how naïve we were.

Today we see fedoras worn by reality TV “stars” and sleazy musicians, by douchebags in their clubs and poseur wannabes in their coffee shops. The fedora has been taken over by a social class that thinks wearing a fedora will make them classy, instead of realising that classy people once wore fedoras.

If only that were all. The poor fedora, already suffering enough, has also been adopted by the polar opposite of the bros—the nerds. Once common enemies in teen comedies, these long-time foes have bonded over their shared love of headwear that makes them look creepy. The fedora can be found on the man-child trying and failing to appear sophisticated in a blurry dating profile picture that can’t disguise his bad facial hair and naked desperation. It can be found on the man whose primary passion in life is a cartoon for little girls. It can be found on the misogynist who swears he’s just “telling it like it is,” the man who thinks the fedora is the accessory of choice for the clever wit, the poor fellow who believes the fedora is a substitute for a personality. The fedora is worn by nerds who risk erasing the social acceptability nerd-kind has so recently gained.

And is that all? No! Gone are the simple black or grey fedoras of yesteryear. Today’s fedoras are plaid or checkered, are decorated with skulls or, God help us all, sequins. Some of today’s fedoras are made of straw. I can think of no greater blasphemy.

Well I say enough is enough. The modern fedora is not the brief fad we hoped it would be—it’s here to stay. But must we simply accept that? No! Must we let it destroy the legacy of a once proud and stylish accessory? No! Must we let it destroy our images, the images of us nerds and artists and party rockers who are proud of who we are, who have a basic sense of fashion and elementary social skills, yet who are unfairly grouped in with those who don’t? No! Today we take a stand, ladies and gentlemen! Today we fight back!

We are taught from an early age that we should treat others how we wish to be treated. We are taught that it is wrong to judge people. And this is true—woe to the small-minded man who judges another based on their gender or race, their religion or their politics. But we can judge people who wear fedoras. We can and we must.

If you know a friend or family member that wears a fedora, you must intervene. Don’t be afraid to be blunt—it’s the only kind of communication they understand. Explain to them that their hat is ruining both their life and yours. Show them example after example of the terrible human beings who wear fedoras until they get the message. Physically restrain them and burn their fedora in front of them if you must. It’s for the greater good. It may ruin your relationship, but one day they’ll understand. One day they’ll thank you.

It’s with strangers where the true war lies. A direct confrontation would only scare them, would drive them to affix their accursed headpieces upon their thick skulls with an even greater misguided aplomb. No, this front requires subtlety. Make jokes about fedoras when you know their owners can hear you. Shun them at social events. Don’t hold doors for them, don’t laugh at their jokes, don’t acknowledge their existence. Do anything and everything you can within the laws of society and reality to ostracise them. We must send the message that there is a problem, and that problem is their hat.

Brothers and sisters, this will not be an easy fight. We are dealing with a thick-headed foe that excels at blaming anyone but themselves for their ills and that lacks the ability to pick up on even the most basic social cues. You will suffer setbacks. You will be discouraged. You will, in your darkest hours, consider that maybe the state of the fedora isn’t that bad. You will want to surrender.

I won’t judge you. I’ve had those same thoughts myself. All I ask is that you consider one question. Do you want to live in a world where the fedora stops being associated with Humphrey Bogart and starts being associated with scrawny men sporting sex offender moustaches and the misguided belief that white males are being oppressed by a feminist dominated society? I thought not.

This will not be an easy fight, but it will be a fight worth fighting. Like many warriors, we may not live to see the fruits of our labours. But I believe that one day, if we work hard, our grandchildren will think of the fedora the way it should be thought of. They will think of Humphrey Bogart.

Thank you, and good luck.

Excerpts From the Los Santos Police Blotter

October 8, 3:27 pm: A man commits triple vehicular homicide in a stolen automobile. Police pursue for two minutes before losing the suspect and declaring the case closed.

October 8, 3:33 pm: An illegal street race kills several bystanders and causes thousands of dollars of property damage. Police fail to catch the vehicles, note their license plate numbers or acquire descriptions of the drivers. No further action is taken.

October 8, 3:45 pm: A man is hospitalised after he drives off an overpass and lands on the road below, causing a seven car crash that seriously injures multiple people. During police questioning the man states that the accident was caused when he attempted to “ramp that shit.” No charges filed.

October 8, 4:13 pm: A man throws a driver out of his vehicle and backs over the driver’s neck and spine before exiting the vehicle and breaking into a luxury vehicle he spots in an adjacent parking lot. Eight bystanders witness the crime and provide police with a description of the suspect. Police do not investigate.

October 8, 5:02 pm: A man steals a military helicopter and lands it on a crowd of sex workers, injuring several. He then enters a strip club, where he knocks several bouncers and dancers unconscious before being thrown out. He returns to the helicopter and opens fire on the strip club, causing significant death and property damage. Three police helicopters are shot down while attempting to pursue, killing several officers and also causing multiple deaths at the crash sites. Several patrons and staff members of the strip club provide a detailed description of the suspect, which is collaborated by security camera footage. Police investigate for six and a half minutes before losing track of the stolen helicopter and giving up.

October 8, 5:41 pm: A man blocks three lanes of freeway traffic with a stolen freight truck. As traffic piles up he crashes several stolen cars into vehicles occupied by commuters and lands several stolen helicopters on the crashed cars. After roughly an hour of preparation, during which more and more vehicles, including several police cars, join the artificial gridlock, the man plants several bombs along the road. He then drives a motorcycle off a nearby ramp and over the wreckage while detonating the explosives. The bombs alight the gas tanks of the vehicles quicker than the man anticipated, creating a massive ball of flame and shrapnel that sends the man flying into a concrete overpass at high speed. Dozens of civilians are killed. The suspect is later released from hospital and police consider the matter closed.

October 8, 6:52 pm: A man accidentally bumps a police car with his motorcycle, causing minor damage to both vehicles. As per protocol, officers shoot the man dead.

October 8, 7:18 pm: A man employs legally owned handguns and shotguns as well as illegal automatic rifles, sniper rifles, grenades and rocket propelled grenade launchers to kill 23 gang members, 31 police officers and 12 civilians in a shootout. The neighbourhood in which the shootout occurs suffers hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage. Four police cars are blown up as the suspect flees, killing eight more officers and three civilians. The suspect escapes by pulling into a garage and having his car painted a different shade of green. Hundreds of grieving family members urge the police to spare no expense in locating the psychopath behind the shooting and bringing him to justice. Either unable or unwilling to sort through the mountains of evidence and testimony, police close the case and begin their newest recruitment drive.

I Am Working on a Novel

I think you’re really going to like my novel. It’s like Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games, but with a dash of Twilight mixed in. There’s a touch of sci-fi, and plenty of romance. It will be marketed at teenagers, but adults will enjoy it too. It has something for everyone.

The main character is a troubled teen who wants to fight the injustices of a corrupt world. She’s (yes, the main character is a girl!) spurred to action when the government does something bad to her parents. But she’s torn—and here’s where it gets really interesting—she’s torn between two boys on either side of the conflict. I think people will really be able to identify with her.

And you’re going to love to hate my bad guy. He’s a real badass. He knows martial arts and uses old, esoteric weapons. He wears a trench coat and sunglasses and never shows emotion. He kills anyone who gets in his way! But just when you decide he’s a monster, you learn his tragic back-story. You’re going to be torn up inside, let me tell you.

I’ve got it all planned out. I’ve thought of all the character arcs and plot twists. It’s a classic coming of age story and a hero’s journey rolled together, but with modern sensibilities. Hero’s journey is a term us writers use. You probably aren’t familiar with it, but it’s very important.

And I’ve thought of all the symbolism, of course. My novel is going to address the issues that people really worry about these days. It’s a metaphor for class conflict, and healthcare, and also mankind’s destructive nature. Topics that really make people think. That’s why I hesitate to shackle my novel’s description within a single genre. My novel is literary.

I’ve even written a dictionary of futuristic slang, and designed sigils and uniforms for the various factions. I’ve planned out every little detail of my world. I don’t want to say you’ve never seen anything like it, but only because you haven’t seen it yet. It’s a futuristic dystopia, but it’s based on contemporary society. It’s like… what if our world became a dystopia? Or what if it already is, and we haven’t even noticed? I’m not afraid to get political. I want to take my readers out of their middle class comfort zones and challenge their conformist views of the world. You’re going to hear the word “provocative” a lot when people are talking about my novel.

I’ve put a lot of work into my novel, but there are still a few things to be done. I mean, it’s all there in my head, so now I just have to write the words. I’m guessing it will be around 200 pages, maybe 220 if I write an epilogue that sets up the rest of the trilogy. I can’t fit my world into just one novel. It’s too rich for that.

I don’t know when I’ll finish. Deadlines mean nothing to a writer. Since you’re not a writer, you don’t understand. Let me explain writing to you. You can’t just sit down and do it. Your muse must be with you. I can only write at night, when I can be alone with a glass of red wine and my thoughts. I must be in my study, where soft classical music must be playing in the background. Only then can I write, can I pour my heart and soul out onto the page—with short breaks to check Facebook and watch funny YouTube videos, of course. A writer has to recharge his batteries!

If I could write like that every single night, I’d be done in no time. But modern society isn’t kind to us writers, us creators (ironically, that’s something my novel touches on!). Sometimes my muse leaves me after a tough day at the office. And then there are the nights when I’m tired, or when I have my friends over to play video games, or when Survivor is on. Not to mention dates, parties, floor hockey and coin club. There are the weekends, of course, but I need those days to recharge for the week ahead. I don’t have the luxury of being able to write all day like J.K. Rowling. It’s a wonder life lets me write at all. But I’ll get this book written somehow, because that’s what writers do.

In the meantime, I’m making progress on other fronts. I’ve decided which agent I’m going to submit my manuscript to, and I’ve picked a couple of backups just in case. I’ve narrowed my nom de plume down to three options. I had a portrait taken and my friend promised to draw the cover art, so that’s the book jacket taken care of. Today I’m hoping to decide on a font, and whether I want to use Arabic or Roman numerals for the chapter numbers. I’ve been back and forth on this, but this really feels like the day I come to a conclusion. I’ll tweet the results.

So you see? Even with all the pressures of life I’m still able to work on my novel. I think it will make for a really inspirational story when it gets published. Maybe I’ll write a novel about it.