Tuesday, January 31, 2006

For Love

Garamed Sanzhi. I don't know why he popped into my mind but they do that. Garamed Sanzhi came to me wanting it bad. Please, he says. Good looking kid, in love with a woman -- and this was long after love had lost its luster -- would not get off it. Love love love. Love love love love. It was like listening to a frog. I offered to kill him in the office. I would do that from time to time, pro bono for hopeless cases with no screen appeal, and I was sincere. Of course, it was obvious to me that he was incomplete: he hadn't been reindecodependicated. I could have killed him with a pencil, and believe me, I've wondered many times why I didn't. You just can't make a man in love sympathetic.

Garamed Sanzhi was a numan with human traces: genital remainders, rogue chemistries, obsessive urges, irrational behaviors, prone to bursting in, breaking down, stammering, rubbing things, talking to the walls and floors. He wanted to end it all on the Suicide Show. He wanted to die for love.

I had to tell him. First of all I said I could kill him in two minutes without even touching him, and I had an hour to fill. Secondly I told him his reason for dying was so disgusting that nobody would contribute. Thirdly I pointed out that if nobody contributes, nobody wins: he fades to black, lucky boy, while the rest of us back here have to pay for his trip. Doesn't work that way.

What got me about Garamed Sanzhi was how well he cried and begged and pleaded -- it was very musical: not so loud as to overpower my voice, not so soft as to be lost under the crowd. I sensed talent, so I probed on and subthought with the staff, who agreed. We connected to Sanzhi's coupler, whose name was Skaal. She filled in a lot of blanks.

Skaal was a v9 pleasure preset whose talents the humans considered miraculous, while the numans saw in her nothing special beyond her exceptional gymnastic skills. As to why she was willing to allow every manner of orificial plunging, we numans did not know and were not curious. We wince and turn away.

Generally. But Skaal was something different now that she stood there in my office. Breathtaking. Of course the v9 didn't hurt, but what the human brought to the table was somehow irresistible. Unkillable almost. I liked her immediately, we all did, we were supposed to. We were inclined to do whatever she said. Personally, I felt plunged.

With Garamed gone we filled her in but Skaal could not remember a Garamed Sanzhi, which was odd for a hybrid, but true nonetheless, so I waved him to her and she smiled. She was actually very pretty, lack of scales aside, more advanced than I'd originally thought. Skaal hadn't forgotten Garamed Sanzhi. She'd deleted him.

She fed me pictures. Stalking, drugging, tazing, beating, jailing -- not of her, but her companions. They would begin to mount then disappear: they were there, then not there. Replaced by Garamed Sanzhi, proposing union again. This went on for a staggeringly long time.

Skaal was a dedicated preset that couldn't handle a life without purpose. She began to degrade. Standing there in that office looking at her tits we all wanted to oil her and told her so which perked her up -- but you had to be careful with these v9s because she was on her back on the desk with her legs in the air before we finished our sentence. But what she was doing to herself was something she seemed to be proud of, so rather than turn away as we preferred, we looked on delightedly with the idea in mind that to do so was to feed her.

While she was occupied, we kicked it around. Nobody worked the love-sex angle anymore, not even the History Channel. Between us, the scenario unfolded in brief: first they'll have sex, then she kills him. The simplicity astounded us. We all took a step back. Perfect. Everybody gets what they want, including Skaal, probably. Publicity and all. Skaal caught the picture and sat up, ready to sign. We pulled Garamed back in later, separately, we didn't want a scene, and signed him immediately.

The best laid plans are prone, of course, to failure. And that's what made the Show such a success. The more things screwed up, the more they loved it.

We planned to bring out Garamed out first, after his vio, but two minutes in we had 50,000 fans ready to kill him right now. That was unexpected. Our fans weren't killers, just watchers. We knew Garamed would disgust them, but we weren't prepared for their reaction to his sonnets. So we scrubbed him for the first slot and brought out Skaal -- no vio -- just brought her out.

She came out swinging -- on a rope: magnificent. Starting from the peak of the stadium, she sailed over the seats and across the stage and up and above the crowd on the other side, coming back on a slightly new trajectory, legs wide open, more naked than a numan could ever be. V9s had no scales whatsoever and were known to have secret slots which historians once believed were portals for maintenance.

Not after that show! Skaal was brilliant. She said no music. We argued and lost. So she did her rope trick in silence. In silence! See the v if you don't believe me. Fifty-thousand people not a peep. Including the postfetals! They were full of subthought questions, mainly about those two big bouncy bags of blubber, but their guides were just as dumbfounded.

It wasn't until the show was over that we learned from the Center for Disease Control why our audience had been so captivated by Skaal the v9. Shortly after she appeared, monitors began detecting a hormonal sea change over the vast audience. Something called testosterone was manufacturing itself in numan bodies, and before long they were making estrogen too, another ancient chemical left over from our human roots. Before the show was over, many of the postfetals were naked and humping each other -- so cute we did a featurette, it was even a fad for awhile, people hugging and kissing and "fooling around" as they called it -- but it died out after a month or two, thank G.

When we finally brought out Garamed, it was strange. He got a standing O. They understood! They got it. They could see why he'd want to die for the v9, sort of. Not really, but sort of. And they felt bad for the guy anyway because he was such a meep. He was like a Prince in a fairytale dying of a broken heart.

The low point, unfortunately, came during copulation, so gruesome it would be impolite to describe. We handled most of it with cutaway reactions. The band sped it up. We took a break early and I gave Skaal a few timely tips: pain keeps them alive longer, small wounds hurt more and kill slower than big ones. She knew.

When we came back she had just the right touch, using her fingernails until his limbs were stripped and his torso was liked pulled chicken. As easy as it is to kill a human, he still wasn't through, so she worked on his face, mostly cosmetic, but the human head bleeds freely, looks good on v, and he drained right on time, but not without a terrific finish, wherein Skaal reached into him and pulled out his spine! This is what we got from saying yes to an amateur. Skaal took us to a new level.

I hired her immediately after the show. Don't know why. I just wanted her so badly. Needed her. It was hard to explain. Still is. Probably always will be. She was the worst thing I ever did. And she's the one who put me down here, underfoot, for your viewing pleasure.

Skaal.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Death of Death


eds stop over me from time to time, read the board and ask me about the show: how it got started, was it easy or hard, what obstacles did I have to overcome, what it's like living in a hole and so forth. I answer all their questions, of course. I'm happy to talk about any of it.

It started slowly, the end of death, the way all big things begin, the avalanche, tsunami, volcano, plague. Nobody really knew for certain that the end of death had come; all we knew was that our lifespans were extended--greatly--but by how far remains unknown.

People found the death of death disquieting, too vast a concept to cling to, even as the last undertaker went out of business. Sex became pointless, silly, unnecessary; hygiene took a nose dive, the bars thinned out, marriages quietly dissolved and children were allowed to run free. Most stayed to themselves and stared.

Not me though. While everybody else was staring at nothing, I was staring at them staring at nothing. Deep in my heart I knew that if I could just give these people some hope, I'd be rich. And that idea gave me hope.

Hope is a goddamn funny business. Man wants only what he cannot have. The moment he gets what he wants, he wants something else that he cannot have. This endless wanting was the fuel of discovery. It's what made man scurry. Annoying creatures. But fun.

When syn was first introduced to man's dna it hit the species like a pandemic, wiping out flesh and replacing it with photochemical nanotissues, remaking exisiting models, as they lived, with materials that couldn't remain injured for long, and couldn't be killed except by extraordinary measures, and under extreme circumstances--which haven't been determined since The Suicide Show was shut down.

When the Show was at its peak, there were only a few complete synners in the world. Most people were partials: smart enough to have full use of their brains, but not smart enough to know there's an off switch. So they stared, busy in their minds. I myself was neither, but a man. Human, homo sapiens. I had a partial dental plate, the kind you take out at night and put in a cup, but that's it. And look at me now. Poster child for catchable syn.

Man wanted more. He wanted to live forever, then hoped for death so he could rise again later. You couldn't please Man. Man wanted more. He had an inbred inability to be satisfied. And that flaw persists in the Noman.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The P-knob Malfunctor

Those born after R-43 have no memory of the "pleasure knob," and what little knowledge they have has been resynchronized, but I remember. Because I had one. It was one of the earliest nanomechanical implants, and it regulated the emotional, "internal lives" of first a generation, and then a society. The P-knob was inserted by means of a syringe into the jaws of infants where it selfconnected to the brain. P-knob babies never cried, P-knob children never misbehaved, P-knob adults never worried. And by R-124, P-knobs were the first to stop dying, followed by the rest of the world.

What I remember most about my P-knob was the warm feeling of well-being that seemed to come from the center of my forehead, a place my mother called my "third eye." Yet, until I lost this feeling in R-92 as a boy of 51, I never knew I even had it. I only found its goodness when it was taken from me during a routine wisdom tooth extraction. After that, the spot went cold and my thoughts became incomprehensible to anyone but myself.

For years I wandered unregulated, avoiding people, afraid of being caught and upgraded. I was a frown in a meadow of smiles. I stood out like the one dead light bulb in the sign. I lived in a cityblock, but without a license I was forced to reside illegally. I chose a small room in the cellar where I constructed an even smaller room out of boxes. I avoided daylight and moonlight and all the naked months. I ate garbage. Obviously I couldn't deploy.

These were the terrible years of Version 3.0 when all humanity was impleasured through radiance, which also fed them, and it was a fate I did not want. To me, V3s weren't alive but undead. I'd grown accustomed to food, enjoyed it, even though I admit it was a barbarous and toxic thing to do to my body. I remember McDonald's and Burger King and Wendy's and Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. I remember when they closed. I remember grocery stores and restaurants. And farms. Cows, chickens, pigs. And, though it makes me sick to admit it, I remember defecation.

At 52 I discovered the phenomena of depleasure. It was stark new territory, never before explored by humans as far as I knew. I was the first to arrive on its sandless shores, the first to trek through its foot thick muck, the first to fear rejection, the first to hide.

But I was not the first to self kill. To this day it's something I have not tried, though I sent so many souls away simply by showing them the door and opening it up. By the end of The Suicide Show, more than 350 people made the leap. Not so many. But it saved Americo and began a new age of relief.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

When deathlessness was born

Everybody's got family. I've got one too. I've lived with the Roaches eighteen years. I've seen generations of them come and go, most of as snacks. We could be having some fun, playing Keep Away, maybe Fight for the Crumb, and the next moment, without thinking, Crunch. Crunch was my favorite game, although I was alone in that opinion for the longest time. I don't know how many champions I bested, or why they kept coming around.

The Roaches are forgiving folk, cheerful, and kind, and a bit more than a little dense for my taste. But they were family because they were all I had. They were family because I could not get rid of them, family because we were exactly alike in almost every way. So I was patient. They had to be shown. I held one in my teeth and placed my head on the floor so they could see it all in close up and even hear the screams of their brother, but still I got little reaction, and even as I bit the boy in half their curiosity remained unprovoked. Only when I chewed him and let my breath seep across the floor did they come from all directions, and when I spat him in a puddle, I learned the Roaches were not a family but a great and sprawling nation that preferred their roaches prepared just so.

And I think that's something the generations coming up will never understand about my own particular generation and those that came before us. That we remember death and even long for it is for them a yawning romance. To them, our recurring disappearances are a mysterious but welcome phenomenon. To them, we are moths, so preoccupied with our own demise that death becomes our life's work. To them, we are chickens, or veal. Pudgy creatures, hairy. Retired models. Strewn.

I am not here by choice. Choices don't exist anymore. Choices died on the day that deathlessness was born. Some say it happened when radiance replaced food, others point to nanomech. I don't wonder anymore.

I yearn.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Real Me

There was a rumor in our second season that the Jack Jaw you saw on televist was not the same Jack Jaw that sits in the front office. They said I found a lookalike. They said I was scared of being shot by somebody in the crowd.

First of all, who wouldn't be? It happened every week, somebody getting shot or shot at. It was amazing we had a staff at all. My turnover, because of the shootings, was sky high, but I had them lined up for interviews every morning--not that I interviewed. The point is they were there if I needed them. Of course, we had a huge waiting list. Those people could have never work for me! I'd never hire anybody who'd fill out an application and wait in line all day even after they've been told there are no jobs. That's not a demonstration of commitment. That's an idiot, and I don't hire idiots.

These idiots wanted to work the Show even at the risk of being sniped, because, sadly, the snipers had become part of the show, and, constitutionally, there was nothing we could do to stop it.

Given the easy devotion of the idiots, do you really think that I wouldn't share this same devotion?

I, creator of the Show, who nurtured it through the governments, who got it on the Network, who lived it and breathed it--do you really think that Jack Jaw himself would be too scared to step onto the field?

Impossible. I've never known fear. I'm a businessman. I understand priorities. Without me there never would have been a show. Exposing me to danger made no sense, but I didn't have a double. I had four.

Hitler did the same thing. You can look at the photographs and easily tell. If he's smiling, it isn't Hitler. Smart on his part to have the little mustasche. He and Charlie Chaplin were the only two people in the world who ever had it. It was distinctive, to say the least. Without it, Hitler wouldn't have been horrifying and Chaplin wouldn't have been hilarious. Without it, they were anonymous. Hitler could have had a hundred doubles for the price of a haircut and a grease pencil.

That's why I went for the red stripe. It was too strange for anyone to imitate. There was something in the straightness of that ear to ear red line that gave me the look of a puppet. And I was right. It never caught on. If it had, I would have been nobody again.

I admit I was a cartoon. Hair by Einstein, eyebrows by Twain, the mirrored eyecups, the midnight blue sharkskin suit, and of course, that long straight bright red mustasche. Put it on, you're me.

They said I lied, that I said I was on the field for every round. But I was there, fully tied to everyone on the field, and densely arrayed through my own port. So you tell me. Was I on the field? Was I in charge? Did I see and hear and touch and taste and smell everything down there all at once and all from the best vantage point to make the best decisions I could? Yes. Yes, yes, yes. You're damn tootin' I was on the field, just as sure as I'm sitting in your own lap right now.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Killing Kelly

Kelly Ferguson was the Christopher Columbus of the Suicide Show. She went first, God bless her. On the other hand, thank God she's gone! If that's callous, sorry. I've killed a lot of people. But Kelly's antics, though tame by today's standards, were beyond dramatic when we first started out. Her wild behavior was beyond traumatic, beyond any nightmare we imagined--and we thought we'd imagined them all. If we knew then what we know now, we wouldn't have panicked the way we did.

She came to us after reading an article about me and my idea for the show. And she seemed perfect. She was 37, anorexic and roidal and had made six suicide attempts in the last five years, basically one for every man she dated, and one for a woman. So we thought she was perfect.

We didn't realize at the time that attempters don't qualify. Attempters can't be contestants on the Suicide Show because they desperately want to live. They just don't want to live without a certain person who can't live with them, so they offer their death to see if their love object can live with that. They don't qualify.

I had two men down on the field in minute 12 and she was only in Round Two! We'd just removed eight of her fingers and were getting started on her left thumb when onto the field come three gunmen--why they didn't go highpower from the stands I'll never know--shooting 'em up like cowboys, took down Gus--who was okay--but sent Clorine Pugh on permanent leave. Clorine was the stylist. She did the makeup during commercials--and no, she didn't add blood, she didn't remove blood, she didn't speak to the contestants, she was just there for makeup and hair--but she took a round to the cranium, bled to death on camera, awful, horrible thing--but it made us credible. We didn't turn away from it. Heads bleed like crazy, but dead heads don't. Fortunately for picture purposes Clorine survived the bullet--she was fully conscious and speaking on camera matter-of-factly about garbage we still can't decipher, but the bleeding was spectacular.

The event was difficult on us all, but there was learning from it. Bleeding works once but not twice. It's too long! And it's not very painful, partly due to shock and partly due to not enough blood. A dry brain feels no pain. So, from the learning standpoint, Clorine was an assist. But Kelly?

Kelly was an asshole. And the public agreed. First of all we never should have let her speak. We actually gave her a microphone. And when we cut it off--and you would have done the same thing--it didn't matter. The spectators just hit the parabolic on their fones and keyed her in. We felt we had no choice but to sever the cords, but she didn't agree with that either. She approved it in the contract, but suddenly, on the field, she decides something else. She wanted out!

Out? That was my question. We're in a commercial. I got 35,000 fans in the stands and 200 million at home and she wants out. I'm disgusted. We discussed this. She's in tears because they brought over the gunmen. Her boyfriends. Yes. Boyfriends. This is when I begin to realize I've been scammed. I ask my guys to get these two bloody corpses off my set and Kelly spits in my face. I didn't wipe it off. I spat back. You would have too. We were supposed to be in a commercial, but the networks decided this was news, so the whole thing, without my knowledge, was witnessed by the entire human race at the same moment, and those who missed it caught it later. I spat at the contestant.

Was it something I shouldn't have done? No. She signed the contract. If I wasn't tough now, we'd never get another chance. We'd be yanked. The stadium fell completely silent. You wouldn't think it could be so quiet. Everybody was trying to hear what we were saying. She was begging me to let her out of the contract. I was upset. I'd never seen anybody die before and I wanted more like everybody else, but rather than remind her of all the money her heirs are about to get and pump her up for the next round--which was my job back then--I decided to spit on the contestant, because the contestant spat on me. And then somebody in the southwestern seats started chanting KILL THE CONTRACT. They wanted her to kill my contract.

My show is not a democracy. You don't come on my show to vote. You come here to kill or be killed. Those aren't the rules. That's how it is. I snapped my fingers for a contract. Half the crowd roars approval, the other half disapproval. I tell my folks to take off her handcuffs. She was on the third apparatus, cuffed spead eagle, legs and arms, in preparation for the nosing--which she knew about, of course--but she wanted out of the contract.

I just handed her the pen.

The definition of a classic is something that's always good no matter how old it is or how old you are. There was something so poignant in Kelly's face as she realized that without fingers she'd no longer be playing piano or grading papers or giving handjobs to janitors or signing any more contracts. Who knows why comedy works? Sometimes it just does.

We went ahead with the nosing, as planned if not as scheduled, and it did what it was supposed to. Round 3 for Kelly was all about giving her beauty--and she was gorgeous (with an assist from Clorine). Nosing was the option she chose.

Kelly did make it, thanks to our fantastic doctors who kept her alive through the very difficult ninth and tenth rounds. And when, at the climax of Round 10, she gave her life, she gave the entire world a solid hour of entertainment.

Personally, I was disappointed. We messed around so much before Round 3 that there was no time for reaction control once we killed her. I was shocked by the number of people screaming for us to stop. I couldn't understand it. It was in the contract. They signed it to get into the stadium. They knew what was coming.

There were lawsuits from day one. You ruined my life. I can't sleep anymore. My child wants to be on your show and I don't appreciate it. And most of all, over and over, why the dog? Why the dog? Why the dog? Why her own dog? How could you starve her own pet so he'd finish her off? Such a horrible thing to do, bla bla.

Yes. It was.

The Kelly Ferguson Endowment is today worth $686 trillion. Not bad for an hour of her time.

Jaw's Law

There wouldn't have been a Suicide Show without the "endineers," as I liked to call them. You knew them as Gus, Leo and Dex, but their real names are much longer. I made these guys part oif the show because they were part of the show. Without them, we had no show. No devise, no demise.

The endineers designed and built 110 suicide contraptions over our three-year run, and almost none of them worked at first, and many of them didn't work at dress rehearsal either--but this only raised the tension level.

People accused of us of rigging them to fail on purpose to improve our ratings. There are two reasons why this is the stupidest thing I ever heard. Number one, we had no reason to improve our ratings. We owned 7 to 9 o'clock, three nights a week. Yet income from advertising was less than 8% of our total. Endowments accounted for more than 40% and syndication brought 21% with the rest divided among merchandising, spinoffs and endorsements. And these figures don't even include the Heaven's Jaws, our controversial but highly successful venture into franchised hospice care.

The second reason we never rigged an apparatus to fail was because the Suicide Show was not about failure but success, not about despair but about hope, never about grief but about joy. It was about pain, but only if the contestant chose it. The experience of dying a horrible death before the eyes of the entire world, with your family and friends in the front row, is painful enough. We had no reason to make it worse. And besides. We had Jaw's Law.

Jaw's Law was not, as some suspected, a simple variation of Murphy's Law, which says that if anything can go wrong, it will. There really never was a "Jaw's Law," not for public consumption, at least. The first time I heard the term was when Senator Browning asked me about it at the Hearings. I said: "Jaw's Law states that if anything can go wrong, we've got a way out of it." It didn't go over so well at the Senate, but it was best sound bite of my career.

Early on, when the concept was just in the napkin stage, I made a special point about the importance of addressing humanitarian concerns. I didn't want to mess with anybody's dignity. We had promises to keep. These people gave us their lives. You can't give any more than that. We had an obligation to deliver everything we promised--every dime of the donations to which the family was entitled in a timely way with advisor services for investing it wisely, and Uncle Sam got more than his fair share, believe me, which was how the show got on the air in the first place, and how the U.S. government was able to reverse its position on euthanasia.

If I had a law, it was this: Jack Jaw's Suicide Show would never put these people out there to humiliate them, embarrass them, make fun of them or torture them unless they opted. That's why we had doctors on the actual set. They were there to ensure that no contestant would die before their designated time. I had two hours to fill three nights a week. And every week we moved to a new stadium in another city! The advance work was deep deep, way deep--18 months out! And still we were always behind schedule. Within the first week we knew we'd never be able to kill them all. It was one of those happy/sad revelations that haunt you sometimes. And it haunts me most, these days, that my work, for now, is done.

A small article in the newspaper last week gave me an incredible lift. Whoever filled the soup did a lousy job but I could still make out most of it. It said the suicide rate, though flat, remains strong and steady, some 600% higher than it was in the 20th century. So there is progress. We must press on. Why? Because life goes on, and death proves it.

That's why.

Nobody's Worthless

When a person says to me--and I've heard this so many times--Jack, they say, I feel worthless. I say why. They say they've got no purpose. I say yes you do.

That's what I'm giving people. A purpose. A chance to make something out of themselves, make sense out of the mess they made down here, leave behind a legacy that includes a vast array of managed holdings--not just cars, cash and college--but a genuine inheritance that carries your name down through the generations.

And they call me a killer!

Look. There are no dead celebrities. You can't be dead and remain a celebrity. Because celebrity requires appearances.

Fame, on the other hand, prefers you dead and will look back on you fondly if you leave behind something great--fat chance ha ha said the typical Americon back in the early seventies when I first started thinking this stuff up. What I saw back then was a society of fully compatible, continually updated people, good people, once dedicated employees and built that way by a proud Americo, people who were now deliberately choosing the wrong way, the path of crime, the wide road that leads straight to the vats of Chihuahua.

People, ordinary people, some as young as 120, going on violent sprees to no good purpose but to blow off steam. It wasn't war but sport. I saw what they wanted, and I said so, and they said I was crazy. But I say it still.

People want to die. They do. There's a time for it. But the ceo's enthusiasm for reuseability took that freedom away. I still think that's what these young people were looking for. A way out. Flies on a window.

But I proved it was more than that. People desperately wanted the hope--not the guarantee, but just the hope of a chance to slice their wedge of fame and lift themselves, if only an inch, from the rest of the crowd. Crime was the only route, as long as it was truly spectacular. But sadly, crime doesn't lead to fame either, but to infamy--and it was still more appealing than vanishing from this Ur and leaving behind nothing but dust.

Maybe all you did in life was get a Participation Award. Is that enough? Some would say yes. I don't. I say that's crap. You're worth more than that. When you die, what do you want people saying about you? He was never late for work? She took good care of her car? He did his best? She didn't complain as much as her mother? You see? What good is a life of such petty insignificance? Not much!

Not much. Face it. It's true. Life is cheap, my friend, life is very, very cheap. Don't believe it? Look at how we kill each other. We say we value life, ours. Yours we snuff. Look at how we breed. Casual sex, casual parenthood, generations raised by puter, orphans by choice. What have we got?

Before there was Jack Jaw, what did any of these people have besides nothing. What the hell is left to be taken away from most people? Their dignity? Come on. That goes early. Our money? The times we live in, if you have money, you better know it's temporary. Look at me, living proof. What was I, $28 billion urd? Yeah, that's a lot of money. Was I happy? What do you think? Would you be?

I make 14 cents an hour and I'm happy. I created more moguls than Ray Kroc and Dick Cheney combined.

I found a need and tapped a nerve. I gave people a way out. With dignity, I believe, though many have argued with me on this, but there is dignity to entertainment, and there is entertainment in true life drama such as we presented.

I had a man tell me he was worthless, I looked that man right in the eye and I said, yes, you are, I admit it, and I applaud your candor, but if you sign this document, I personally guarantee that your family will receive one million dollars. The man didn't believe it, but he was no fool. He signed. And thank Gad he did. Because he was my father. And the document he signed was a check. Later there would be more checks and more until finally out of money he died the very day I made the call to Hack Bitburg my associate producer who agreed my idea was perfect as long as it was clear my father made the choice on his own.

That's why I loved Hack. He always brought it down to where it was. Dad had to want to kill himself so I could shoot the pilot. I couldn't go to the Network with a script. Or a proposal, a pitch--no, no, nobody'd ever believe anybody'd kill themself for a donation. We had to show it. I knew Dad would understand. He was my greatest supporter all my life. Oh, he complained sometimes, but he had a lot of money, and I was always much larger than him. I'll tell you more later--lice check.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

How they'll remember me

I know that many of you think you know the Jack Jaw story, but believe me: you don't know anything about Jack Jaw that Jack Jaw didn't already tell his people to tell you. Jack Jaw's just that careful about information handling because it's not what you tell, it's who you tell it to. The reason nobody knows the truth is because I never told it.

This is the truth now, laid out for anybody who might have read anything about me that might have been false. I'm straightening the record. Certain congressmen might have wanted you to believe I'm a monster, but they misrepresent the facts. I am not a proponent of assisted suicide. The Suicide Show does not assist suicide, facilitate suicide, reward it or encourage it in any way. The Suicide Show merely shows suicide for exactly what it is--incredible entertainment. We do reward the survivors, because you know what? They need to move on. And that costs money.

Today everybody knows what it's like to watch a person commit suicide. Critics say we glamorized it. We like to say we dignified it. We gave it meaning. Even the New Newyork Post-Times said so. "Jack Jaw has transformed suicide from the ultimate act of human despair to the greatest sacrifice a person can make for their loved ones. For better or worse, Jaw knows how to make the poor rich and the humble great. No wonder the Networls loves him."

You can't buy that kind of advertising. Actually you can, but the point is it's worth a lot more than whatever you paid.

The premise of the show is simple: contestants, by prearrangement, kill themselves slowly over the course of 10 rounds in exchange for a growing amount of cash, college and cars for their loved ones, and it all happens in an arena full of people, live, worldwide. If the contestant fails to die in the 10th round, their beneficiaries get nothing and the contestant must live, horribly disfigured and crippled. If the contestant dies too early, the beneficiaries receive whatever amount Americo foned in.

But the premise takes a distant backseat to the promise of the show. The promise is what provides its social redemption, for when we look around that stadium, we see those mothers and fathers squeezing into a ball with their little families, grieving something terrible on the one hand, but on the other so proud of their son or daughter who had the selflessness to enter that Seven Stage Blender for $100,000, plus the car for mom, plus an education for her kid sister at the community college of her choice, man--that's gut wrenching stuff, and it has a purpose.

The Suicide Show took on death and kicked its ass. In fact it can accurately be said that the Suicide Show is the only thing in history, including war, that ever actually forced death to cough up a purpose. I've probably met half the miserable souls who yearn for an early checkout and I've had to turn so many of them away, but until the FCC lifts its ban on multiples all we can do is hope. And try to find a way around it. There is still much work to be done.

Some have said the Suicide Show has turned death into sport. What's next, they wonder, lions versus Christians? Human catapults? A chain of contestants hanging hand to foot from a blimp over the stadium? These are all excellent ideas, and they've all come from the fans who are the heart and soul of the Suicide Show. Without them we wouldn't exist.

So, to the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been touched by the millions of dollars in cash, college, and cars we've given away to their loved ones, heirs and designees, thank you. And thanks especially, as always, to the courage and selflessness shown by our 86 contestants -- so far -- and counting. May you rest in peace knowing you entertained literally billions when we add in the aftermarket.

In the end, if it comes, I'm confident this world will see Jack Jaw for what he is. The man who conquered death. This is my blog.
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