This Week's Guest: Glen Weldon
How much thought have you given to what your secret identity would be if you were a superhero? My guest this week is Glen Weldon, host of NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour -- a lively chat about books, music, movies, TV, and more. As host, Glen's renowned for his encyclopedic knowledge of heros and comic books. But for a long time, that comic geek was just one of his secret identities.
By the way, Pop Culture Happy Hour is coming to Chicago next week for a live show on April 12. You can go to HarrisTheaterChicago.org to get tickets.
This Week's Recommendation: Black Books
I suspect that Glen's memories of being a surly, resentful bookstore employee will be deeply familiar to many of us who have worked retail. It certainly reminded me of the time I worked at a certain one-hour photo chain, and gave up even trying to meet that deadline for orders. If someone complained, I told them, "one-hour photo is just the name of the store, we don't actually do it in an hour."
And that brings me to my recommendation this week: the British TV series Black Books. It's set in bookstore owned my a man who is comprised entirely of misanthropy and ill will, moving through life with so many defenses raised it's difficult to tell if there's even a person at the center of them.
Bernard, the misanthrope character, is a lot of fun -- witty, sardonic, ridiculous and aloof.
And ultimately, that's the most that defenses will allow a person to be -- defenses let you be fun, but they tend to get in the way of anything meaningful, or honest, or insightful. To write something that resonates, or to have relationships that last requires a dropping of those defenses, that you make yourself open, give away your secrets, allow yourself to be read. To be like an open book.