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In which John talks about his book, Hank's song about his book, and (in a roundabout way) the election.


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A Bunny
( - -)
((') (')
Hank: (Singing)
"I'm sitting in the minivan, it's about one a.m. I can't believe I'm hanging out with Margo Roth Spiegelman She hands me a grocery list, and I say "What is this?" She gives me a hundred dollars and says that should cover it   Three whole catfish wrapped separately A six-pack of Mountain Dew, tissues, and some Veet A dozen tulips, a bottle of water A can of blue spray paint, a giant tub of Vaseline"

John: Good morning, Hank, it's Wednesday November 5th and you just watched yourself singing in front of a lot of Nerdfighters in Louisville, Kentucky. The song you're singing is of course only available on the Paper Towns secret collaboration album, but I played twenty seconds of it because I like it so much. It's so fun when I make something up, and then someone else makes something up about the thing I made up.

So okay Nerdfighters, every time Hank plays that song there's that part where Vaseline gets drawn out and drawn out and drawn out. And sometimes, even though it's no secret I can't sing on key, I like to sing along to that part and see if I can outlast Hank on that one note. And I have consistently failed. Until tonight!

Both: "Giant tub of Vaselineeeeeeeeeeee"
John: Ah, yes!

Then afterwards I read from the part of Paper Towns that inspired that song, and then went on a long rant about the importance of imagining the other with more complexity.

(Cut to John at event)

The problem with finding Margo for Q and for all the other characters in the book isn't that it's so hard to figure what happened or it's so complicated or anything like that. The problem with finding Margo is this: When the characters in the book look at Margo, they don't see Margo. They don't see anything essentially true about Margo. What they see is some fun house mirror reflection of themselves.

Spiegelman is this German word that means "mirror-maker," like, the guy in a German village who made the mirrors was the Spiegelman. And Margo is the Spiegelman in this novel.

The nerdfighter community, the community that has built up around our video blogs, is one of the most thoughtful and respectful communities that I have ever been privileged to be a part of. But, when it comes to political discourse, the quality of the conversation plummets. It really does. On all sides. It just absolutely plummets into name-calling and over-simplification and "you're stupid," "no, you're stupid," no, I'm right," "no, you're right." I really believe that this is the result of not doing a good job of imagining what it's like to be other people. The people who disagree with you aren't evil. They aren't. They don't want to destroy America. They are neither terrorists nor fascists. They are complicated people with complicated motives who contain multitudes just as you do.

Hank, it's like W. H. Auden said, "We must love one another, or die."

Hank, watching you be a rock star is so fun. You're made of awesome and I'll see you tomorrow.


(Switch to event again)

Audience member: Have you yet to spot a cow first?

John: (Laughs) So, Katherine and I, Hank's wife, is traveling with us... Oh, sorry, hello YouTube! Um, Hank's wife is traveling with us and we play a game called cows, which is where when Katherine and I are both sitting in the front seat, you wait to see a cow, and you say "cow!" Um, and then if you win, it's 'cause you got there first. And I have been completely dominated by Katherine, who has some kind of, like, cow-spying gene. But, uh, there was about thirty minutes where they were both asleep in the morning where I totally dominated at cows. I was up like, I was up like seven to nothing. And I didn't want to wake them up so I'd be very quiet, I'd be like (whispers) "cows... cows"