Archives for : August2019

Selling Nostalgia by Matt Klickstein

Past and future guest of Toon-In Talk Matt Klickstein sent word about his latest book, Selling Nostalgia.

My thoughts are already wagging at the title wondering what that title implies.  Is Matt going with an Ernest Cline Ready Player One flavor?  Or is he going with a Disney shtick about repackaging and reselling nostalgia as brand new?   Matt is threaded inspiration from the fandom and zeitgeist, so here is what Selling Nostalgia is about:

Prepare yourself to boldly go where few fanboys and fangirls have gone before on this rocket-powered rollercoaster ride through today’s madcap, pop culture-obsessed “nostalgia industry”—comprised of the reunions, reboots, blogs, podcasts, commenters, conventions, and collect-em-all merch—that fuels today’s ever-growing geek culture!

As with so many members of his generation, down-on-his-luck writer-filmmaker Milton Siegel has what some might call an unhealthy fixation on the TV shows, movies, books, music, and celebrities from his childhood that spanned the 1980s and 1990s. Unlikemany of his generation, Milt has spent most of his life as an adult (so to speak) chronicling this same pop culture of his youth. Hey, it’s a living…sometimes.

After quitting his job at a regional newspaper (or after having been fired, depending on who you ask), Milt finds himself on what becomes a quixotic quest to promote his latest pop culture history project around the country over one progressively insane and hilarious month. Throughout his many misadventures to come, Milt must contend with: a horde of salivating manic nerds, an inexplicable rash of natural disasters, clickbait-concocting media pundits, overly ambitious pseudo-celebrities, bafflingly incompetent event coordinators, a desperately hemorrhaging bank account, a super seductive stripper, ultra-competitive frenemies, and his own sense of the precarious future while being so embroiled in his childish past.

In the end, it’s up to Milt to make it through the month-long nomadic tour of laughter, tears, and revelations ahead without losing his mind. If he’s really lucky, he might even make rent, keep his new wife from fleeing in terror, and perhaps have a little fun along the way.

Not a bad story idea, Matt.  I have my own fandom and nostalgic fandom stories in my writing queue.  Kudos for getting yours published by Simon and Schuster!  Matt also wrote Slimed: An Oral History of Nickelodeon in 2013.

Autism is Hereditary and I’m a Mutant

One thing that makes me mad is when people ignore good science.  I say good science, because there is a lot of bad, kooky, and pseudoscience that is circumnavigating the Internet and, despite all the evidence to the contrary, people still believe in the junk.

One current junk science belief is that vaccinations cause autism.  They don’t.

Autism displays itself in some infants before they receive their first vaccines.  I was one of those infants.

What people are ignoring is that autism is probably a genetic mutation and is passed from one generation to the next.  In my case, my mother’s side has generational depression and anxiety, while my father’s father passed his dyslexia onto many of his descendants.  My parents’ genetics combined with their life stresses mixed in my utero soup led to my ASD (autism spectrum disorder).

Mental health professionals agree with my thoughts about hereditary ASD.  JAMA Psychiatry recently published, “Association of Genetic and Environmental Factors With Autism in a 5-Country Cohort.”

The test group consists of 2,001, 631 individuals, 51.3% were male and 22,156 were diagnosed with ASD.  The people in the test group were from Denmark, Western Australia, Israel, Sweden, and Finland. The researchers discovered that ASD is 80% hereditary.  Read the official results:

“The median (95% CI) ASD heritability was 80.8% (73.2%-85.5%) for country-specific point estimates, ranging from 50.9% (25.1%-75.6%) (Finland) to 86.8% (69.8%-100.0%) (Israel). For the Nordic countries combined, heritability estimates ranged from 81.2% (73.9%-85.3%) to 82.7% (79.1%-86.0%). Maternal effect was estimated to range from 0.4% to 1.6%. Estimates of genetic, maternal, and environmental effects for autistic disorder were similar with ASD.”

And the official conclusion:

“Based on population data from 5 countries, the heritability of ASD was estimated to be approximately 80%, indicating that the variation in ASD occurrence in the population is mostly owing to inherited genetic influences, with no support for contribution from maternal effects. The results suggest possible modest differences in the sources of ASD risk between countries.”

I love it!  I love it!  I love it!

BAM!  ASD is passed from parent to child!  Judging that ASD is a neurological disorder, I bet individuals (like my parents) who have non-ASD mental health issues and/or neurological disorders are at a higher risk of developing ASD when they conceive.  In other words, their kids are more likely to be autistic.

My hypothesis is strong based on the current science.  My parents’ DNA mutated when I was conceived and I became ASD.

So I’m a mutant?

Do I get to join the X-Men?

ASD people do go to special schools.  Maybe Professor Xavier’s Institute is a front for ASD education.

Dibs on Rogue’s costume.

I’m Back, Toon People!

Where have I been?

I’ve been networking at the San Diego Comic Con.

I’ve been presenting at GenCon.

I’ve been lecturing at the Highlights Foundation.

In under two weeks, I’ve been from one end of the country to the other.

Then life happened and I had to get my mutts back in a domesticated row.  They did not like that.

Onward and upward!