Signifier Signed
February 29, 2008 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Excuse me, Ms. Ono, Mr. Gehry, Sen. Wellstone—pardon me Mr. Chomsky, Mr. Castellanetta, Gov. Ventura—would you mind signing this paper?
Oh no, don't sign your name. Sign mine.
posted by Partial Law (18 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Barbara Kingsolver sure looks humorless.
posted by OmieWise at 12:48 PM on February 29, 2008

I went to a reading last night by an author I greatly respect, and didn't have my copy of the author's book on hand. I'd wavered on buying a second copy, just for the purposes of getting it signed, but eventually didn't (I'm pretty broke, and I also figured I'd be able to catch her at another reading in the future). When I spoke to her after the reading I explained that my copy wasn't with me, so I couldn't get her to autograph it, then I went on to ask her a few questions, the last one being the correct spelling of an author she mentioned who influenced her early interest in her subject. Rather than spelling it aloud, she reached over and wrote the author's name in the top corner of my notebook. So now I have the autograph of one writer, as written by another writer. It's not the same as having her write her name, or write my name, but I love that it's so unusual, and no one will understand what it is but me. I'm going to cut that corner of my notebook out and tuck it inside the cover of her book when I have my hands on it again.
posted by roombythelake at 12:55 PM on February 29, 2008

Barbara Kingsolver, no. Henry Rollins, yes!
posted by paddysat at 12:58 PM on February 29, 2008

Well, she's a commercial writer without merit. An office worker whose forms are fiction.
posted by sonic meat machine at 1:01 PM on February 29, 2008

I'm surprized by how similar the signatures are rather than how different. Its actually more boring than one would think.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:05 PM on February 29, 2008

Billy Bragg's and Robert Wilson's were my favorites. I can't believe I read through this whole thing.
posted by not_on_display at 1:06 PM on February 29, 2008

This is a pretty neat concept.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:14 PM on February 29, 2008

I'll never forget the time my friend Brian (baphomet), some other friends, and I went to see Chuck Palahniuk speak at a bookstore in St. Paul. He brought his copy of the 2nd ed D&D player's handbook for Palahniuk to sign. If you've never met Palahniuk, you should know that he looks like he lifts weights for at least an hour a day. He's a man who's very cheerful on the surface, but you can tell there's only a thin layer of civility covering his dark, tumultuous inner life. It's scary to shake his hand.

At any rate, when we got to the front of the line after the talk, Brian hauls out the player's handbook and asks Palahniuk to sign it. There was a long pause, a tense smile grotesquely plastered to Palahniuk's face. He signed the book, then held out his hand to shake. A tense pause on our end, now, each of us sizing up his biceps and realizing that he might have felt insulted by the player's handbook. Finally Brian smiled and shook Palahniuk's hand, and the rest of us did likewise in turn. It was a strange couple of minutes. I hope Brian's still got that copy of the player's guide.

Yes, this had little to do with the post, but it was the first thing I thought of upon reading it.
posted by voltairemodern at 1:28 PM on February 29, 2008 [2 favorites]

Fascinating. For some reason it brings to mind the Lazlo Toth letters.

Also, how does one get the addresses of such luminaries?
posted by joseph_elmhurst at 1:37 PM on February 29, 2008

The choices of people he asks to sign belie... something. Not sure what. Intellectualism , or an appreciation for some pretty out-there art, or something. Very cool.
posted by hifiparasol at 2:33 PM on February 29, 2008

Well, she's a commercial writer without merit. An office worker whose forms are fiction.

I presume you're referring to Kingsolver? While her writing might be "commercial" in that it makes her a living, I think dismissing it as without merit is a tad hasty. When I got done with the Poisonwood Bible, I looked around for more books about the Congo besides Heart of Darkness & King Leopold's Ghost, both of which I'd read, and basically, there weren't any. I think she deserves some merit for simply setting the novel there and getting some of the facts straight.

And yes, Henry Rollins FTW. Interesting project, and I'm surprised he's gotten as many responses as he has.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:58 PM on February 29, 2008

What Pope Guilty said.
posted by mediareport at 6:11 PM on February 29, 2008

Seriously, how can none of you done this yet?

-- Paul Schmelzer
posted by blasdelf at 1:10 AM on March 1, 2008

No, I'm Spartacus.

I think all of this shows is that Schmelzer is really awkward to write. Shmelzer. Schelmer. Whatever.
posted by blacklite at 1:26 AM on March 1, 2008

Well, he didn't ask me, but Ordinary People can write Paul Schmelzer, too.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:08 AM on March 1, 2008

Well, she's a commercial writer without merit. An office worker whose forms are fiction.
I've read her books and your snark, and have found something without merit.
posted by langedon at 8:49 AM on March 1, 2008

John- Thanks for reminding me of that! I totally still have it. The reason I chose my 2nd ed PHB, in case anyone was wondering, is because I figured it was the book I was least likely to lose or accidentally destroy. This has since proven a prudent decision as I still have it, however I don't still have any of my Palahniuk books (lent them out and never got them back).

It was really a scary moment when he looked at the book and back at me. For one gut-wrenching second I thought he was going to throw it at me as a precursor to mangling my face somehow. Not that he really is a scary or intimidating guy, but man, the look he gave me when I asked him to sign a Dungeons and Dragons book was pretty much pure murder. It was TENSE. I was seriously bracing for something and I was completely relieved when he just signed it and handed the book back.

The part voltairemodern left out was after the signing, when upon returning to our ride's vehicle we discovered that he'd scored a flat tire in a pretty fuckin' shady part of St. Paul. None of us had a cell phone and it was like 9:00 on a Sunday night...being a bunch of broke high school students we didn't even have change for a phone call. I don't actually remember how we got out of that one, but I do remember it taking like 5 hours.
posted by baphomet at 9:47 PM on March 1, 2008

Oh, and for the record, I'm willing to wager that nobody else on MetaFilter has a book that is not only signed by Chuck Palahniuk, but also has their name and phone number written on it by their mom.
posted by baphomet at 9:51 PM on March 1, 2008

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