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Along for the Ride
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You write the book ...

john ridley

Post your stories about superheroes, life in tights and a cape, Vegas or anything else having to do with this edition with John Ridley. Email us at theride@npr.org. Please give us your first name and tell us where you're writing from. Of course, we also like to get mail the old-fashioned way. Write us at: Along For The Ride, National Public Radio, 635 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001.

"No more "ride" contests"
From: theride@npr.org
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2002 1:03 PM

Sorry, Vince. We no longer have the staff to pull off a contest. Thanks for your interest.

"... interested in entering john ridley's the 'ride' contest..."
From: Vince
Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2002 3:08 PM

i'm very VERY interested in entering john ridley's 'the ride' contest...however, when i clicked on the link, i received a 'page not found' error. is the contest over? can i still enter??!?!? and if so, what are the parameters of the contest?

i'm a rabid john ridley fan (is it okay to say that and not sound marginally creepy?) - as an aspiring african-american author, i'm constantly inspired by his smart, sharp fiction and his eye for cultural detail. and that's not just sucking up, although that was pretty much my intent.

ANYway, please let me know if it's still possible to enter. thanks!

RE: Contacting John Ridley
From: theride@npr.org
Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2002 2:06 PM

In response to John's comics pieces we've been deluged with requests for his contact info. As always, we won't give out direct contact info but will forward letters sent to theride@npr.org to John if you ask us to.

Contacting John Ridley
From: Marc H.
Sent: Wednesday, February 10, 2002 10:39 AM

Do you have an e-mail address for John Ridley?

Regarding your piece flogging comics fans ….
From: Charles in Chicago
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2002 3:06 PM

Regarding your piece flogging comics fans: I haven't heard such a useless bit of radio in ages. Here are people having a good time, talking about something they enjoy (which none of them seemed to take as deathly seriously as you wanted them to) and you turn to the listener with a shocked "Can you *believe* that?"

Sure, comics fans can always use a good laugh at their own expense (as evidenced by the hilarious Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons) but I didn't hear any laughing from you, just condescension.

Ridley [has the] …gall….!!
From: JP in NY
Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2002 3:50 PM

The piece in question was not only insulting to me as a lifelong comics reader, but also as an intelligent, literate and creative person. What seems on the surface nothing more than a glimpse at the obsessive nature of comic readers is actually a dismissive diatribe, which perpetuates the elitist notion that such people can't handle reality. Ridley even has the gall to instruct comic fans to spend their money "getting a life," proof positive that as a writer (and comics creator) he has no respect for his audience. Worse, he attempts to distance himself from his hypocrisy by randomly slagging characters and comic titles with more history and social relevance than he could hope to achieve in his lifetime.

If NPR's idea of "fun listening" is taking potshots at easy targets like obsessive fans, I think I'll tune my radio elsewhere. Perhaps there is some truth to the stereotype of NPR as a haven for snooty liberals and holier-than-thou academics who get their collective jollies deriding the ignorant masses. I guess if NPR sees no harm in promoting stereotypes, or exaggerating the nature of fandom, it's reasonable to apply the same standard to NPR itself.

No pledge money for you …


From: Jerry D.
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2002 1:28 AM

Typically, I enjoy listening to the weekend edition of "All Things Considered" Saturday evenings on my way home from the gym. Being a longtime comics reader I was quite interested yesterday evening when I heard announced there would be a segment on comics. Even though the segment was announced by the theme music from the Batman television show, a camp oddity cancelled some years before I was born and which I have not watched since I was four, I held out hope that since the segment was written by another comics enthusiast it would perhaps reflect the current creative ferment of the comics medium, not misconceptions as old as those images of Burt Ward's shaven legs.

I was wrong. Never could I have expected that interest in the medium would be described--as it was--as a psychopathology, or that it would be suggested that comics readers engage in their interest because their mental deficiencies prevent them from the more mature relationship to culture of "normal people." To quote Mr. Ridley's report, I was told that instead of buying comics, I "should buy a clue."

Even though I will begin my second postgraduate degree this spring and hold an M.A. in English with focuses in Renaissance poetry and post-structuralist literary theory, I will have to prevail upon NPR's good will for it to be believed that I am indeed of sound enough mind that I am capable of expression and, more shockingly to Mr. Ridley, coherent thought.

Mr. Ridley's likely defence is that his report was intended ironically, and that its condescending tone was undercut with self-effacing humor. Indeed it was. But in our postmodern world, irony not patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. I refer him to the psychoanalytic theorist Slavoj Zizek's idea that irony is saying directly, literally, exactly what one wants to without having to take responsibility for it.

For Mr. Ridley's thesis that comics readers engage with their favored texts not as fictions but as real life (i.e., their interest in the characters actions outside the denoted stories) to be correct, they would be not merely delusional but full-blown schizophrenics. What he mis-describes as delusion is fans' interest in changing or making their own stories, not a refusal to accept stories presented in comics form as stories. This active engagement with the text is superior to passive reading, to merely considering a text as content that is sucked into the mind and left there, inert….

…No pledge money for you.

Thanks for your great radio piece …
From: JFM
Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2002 3:37 PM

Damn right. I figured there were others in this little world who felt weird going into comic stores. I mean seriously, I feel as out of place as Batman would at a NRA meeting …. I know they're superheroes, but do all the characters need to have six-packs on top of six-packs? ... Sigh, I'll guess I'll keep feeling out of place---cuz Iron Man and Deadpool will be picked up no matter what. Thanks for your great radio piece, made me think.

The last ride …
From: AB
Sent: Friday, February 15, 2002 12:26 PM

congratulations. it was a fun journey