In Pong We Trust

By Thom Fowler
Posted 06/11/02 04:49:41

First, a correction. The Pajama Party was not the opening for the Standard Downtown, but a party hosted by Sony for the E3 convention. The “Some Guy” who snapped a few shots of me with his disposable camera turned out to be Billy Zane. So now I’m floating around his personal photo collection and he doesn’t even know why.

I retain all rights to my likeness except under fair use or for educational purposes. For example, “Do not talk to this man. His words are viral. If you suspect you have been infected, please turn on the Bloomberg channel instantly. Your programming will be reset.”

The next video game movie should be based on Pong.

That would be totally killer.

The story of a disk of light that gets paddled around. It's an allegory of feeling powerless and invokes the starkness of Bergman and Sartre. And yet, it is also a look back into the primordial mists of the co-evolution of biology and consciousness. And yet, it is also a meditation on monotony and repetition with profound echoes in the heartbeat of a fetus, a gentle stirring in the cosmic womb portending an era of 128 bit processing and real-time rendering.

Piracy on the Inoteroneto

I know a guy who puts together an Atari convention every year if you are like, really into Pong. I went five years ago in Philadelphia and it coincided with an exhibit about the history of home gaming systems held in some museum with a giant statue of Ben Franklin in the Foyer. is the website. Despite the name, the site isn’t about Porn as much as its about what all the internet pioneers loved about the medium “back in the day”. Free, compelling, independantly produced, instantly accessible, many to many communication. (Although he doesn't mention the Atari thing on his website - so you'll sound totally in the know if you email him about it.)

The Sisters of Mercy were playing their supposedly only and final tour date after a 7 year hiatus, so slave that I am, I flew out to Philly with a bunch of people who also flew out there and packed a warehouse outside of the city. It was a Sea of Black. And then... then... they HAD A NATIONAL TOUR. But I got to see the Liberty Bell and shop at Zipperhead so I guess it wasn't a total waste.

I also left all the CD's I bought that weekend in my hotel room along with my pager and a little carved bone skull necklace that I looooved and Housekeeping says, "oh no, we didn't find anything".


Pong and Star Wars are key components of my world view. I had a close encounter of the first kind with George Lucas, not as an officially sanctioned Star Wars press envoy but accidentally, in a restaurant where for an hour, he sat inches away from me and all I could do was think, “because I’m polite and I respect his need to have a personal life, I’m going to just eat my dinner but gosh darn it if I’m not wasting the opportunity of a lifetime.” Our waiter was a teacher by day. Lucas runs an educational foundation ( and he perked up when our waiter started telling us about how he can’t make ends meet as a teacher.

Steven Gaghan, who wrote and directed Traffic and the upcoming Abandoned, copped to being descended from the Huguenots at the Words Into Pictures conference organized by the Writer’s Guild Foundation. So now I’ve got a bead on the lost aristocratic pedigree of two families – The Romanovs and The Huguenots. I thought the Huguenots all lost their head. You know there was a moment in French history when the Huguenots just weren’t well received.

The French Revolution came about no doubt, not because Marie Antoinette thought peasants should eat cake, but because some enterprising designer looked at the Palais Du Louvre and thought, “I wouldn’t have to do a THING to make this a great museum.” I imagine that is what interior designer Steven Cordrey said when he looked at my house – a perfect monument to 1975 bourgeois taste. It’s not my fault, I’m just renting. Cordrey’s impressive client list does not include any real royalty, just the Hollywood version.

I don’t want to start making my living dropping the bombs about who is sleeping with who deep inside Hollywood. I’m just not interested in Sex and Scandal. I prefer to highlight the artists and creative people who are creating compelling works of art and speaking to the culture even if they are sometimes wrapped in the debilitating glamour of fame. It’s a fine line to walk, because although its not important that Akiva Goldsman has to take a piss just like everyone else, you still want to know about what’s hanging between his legs. I couldn’t tell you, there was a divider between his urinal and mine. Would I have looked? Would YOU have looked?

I think I drove past Gwyneth Paltrow today. If you haven't heard, Paltrow is going to play Sylvia Plath in a film about the writer and her husband. We were stopped on opposite sides of an intersection. She was driving an SUV, wearing sunglasses and holding a cigarette in front of her mouth, obscuring most of her face. Maybe it was just one of those girls who try to look like Paltrow so you’ll turn around and look at her. LA does strange things to people.

Like those guys in WeHo who pull the brim of their ball cap down over their eyes so you won’t recognize them. What are all these people hiding from? The fallout from their life?

When I was in elementary school, there was a path that connected my neighborhood to my elementary school that ran between the freeway and the back wall of the subdivision I lived in. The older kids called it “The Dangerous Path Way” but I thought they said “Dangers Pass Way.” Needless to say, I was forbidden to take the Dangers Pass Way to school, but doing it became not only a challenge but a rite of passage. Growing up in the streets of Suburbia can harden you.

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