Marketing for Superman and the Devil

One of my students wore a shirt today with the words, “It started with a smile.” The shirt reminded me of one of my previous blog posts as well as a song lyric to (Everybody Talks) “It Started with a Whisper.”

I talk. I talk to myself. I talk to my pictures. They talk back. We have conversations. If this sounds a little crazy, it is only because I am downplaying my confusion. I am like an amp turned to …  eleven? But these START at 11

 It is 11/12/13 and counting

San Antonio's Girl in a Coma played The New Parish in Oakland, California on Monday June 10, 2013. Jenn Alva (bass), Phanie Diaz (drummer), and Nina Diaz (lead vocalist and guitarist) are signed to Joan Jett's Blackheart Records. (bryan farley)

Are these blue suede shoes from the San Antonio band Girl in a Coma? Would you believe me if I told you that I wondered whether I was actually in a coma at the last JEA Convention during photo critiques?

If truth is stranger than fiction, perhaps fiction can teach me something… if only I could tell the difference between the two. Lately, my life is starting to feel more like the rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. Exchange drummers and fathers and we almost have a movie. There is another difference. I am going to Boston tomorrow for another JEA National Convention, unlike the fictional band whose Boston gig was cancelled. Their manager Ian Faith told them,  “I wouldn’t worry about it though. It’s not a big college town.”

So on the Eve of my 14th JEA National Convention, I am going to dust off some old This Is Spinal Tap quotes along with magical Peter Pan advice to see if I can make sense of the last several conventions.

“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”  And the greatest of these? A smile.

 (bryan farley)

The 2013 Treasure Island Music Festival reminded me of the Joan Jett cover of Love Is All Around You. Do you know why?

In case you have not heard the Joan Jett version of the Mary Tyler Moore theme song, you probably do not know the lyric, “Who can turn the world on with her smile?” Do you know where the Mary Richards character started her career? Minneapolis! (I do not know where she lived before Minneapolis. Clovis?)

The JEA/NSPA Fall National High School Journalism Convention was held Nov. 17-20 2011 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. More than 4,000 people attended the Fall  Convention. (bryan farley)

1984 was the year of Spinal Tap and Purple Rain. One is real and the other is unreal. Can you see your reflection in both?

I may never see Prince. He is probably the one person I want to meet and I probably should have met him during the San Francisco convention. It’s an epilepsy thing. We both have it, and somehow I was too busy doing epilepsy events to notice that he was in town. Truth is stranger than fiction. April was probably the strangest month of my life. Or May.

Times are changing… it’s time we become something new. And that means you too. You, Me. Everybody… Even when the shadows win, and the shadows often win.

 (bryan farley)

Change is difficult. My pictures tell me that sometimes the shadows win. Even when I photograph hearts, I lean towards the fragility of life. I hear Blondie and Heart of Glass instead of Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” How can I change my imagination before Google Glass starts programming all of my entertainment. Who wants a Heart of Google Glass when you use my search terms?


Make Some Noise Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation was started by Malcolm Sutherland-Foggio, a child cancer survivor. (bryan farley)

In Seattle, I heard a picture sing A Heart Shaped Box, by Nirvana.  Rather than listen to Nirvana, you might want to listen to Miranda Lambert’s Heart Like Mine, from the album Revolution. She makes for better conversations. (I talked to her pictures a couple days ago on her 30th birthday in preparation for the Boston Revolution convention.)

 (bryan farley)

I use a photo of my son for my Twitter profile. When I first heard the song, “Waiting for Superman,” I thought about the photos. Many people ask about Superman’s cape. Why does he need it? Jimmy Olsen probably asks, especially in the Spin Doctors song, “Jimmy Olsen’s Blues.” The picture answered the question. Superman doesn’t need it to fly. It is marketing… maybe even a security blanket. Superman was once young. He realized early that he would be different. He would see things other children would not see. The cape connects him to the time when he could be a regular kid… when others could see him a a good guy.

The 2013 Sharon's Ride.Run.Walk for Epilepsy was on Sunday, April 14, 2013 at De Anza Cove at Mission Bay Park in San Diego, California. The event benefits The Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County. (bryan farley)

In San Diego this Spring for the San Diego County Epilepsy Foundation fundraiser with my new friend. Just two puppets. On a string. No verbs.

I have sympathy for Superman. Superman must hide his true identity. How does he make friends? Where does he find love? Does he keep faith and pixie dust? Who does he trust? How do the rest of us make friends? Do our toys help us connect or will they destroy what we most need to survive?

As for the devil, I do not have so much sympathy, but I am impressed with the marketing. People actually believe that the devil is in the details. Borrowing from the rule of holes –

When you are Dancing with the Devil, do not focus on your footwork. Stop dancing.

… or as the temporary Spinal Tap manager said, “If I told them once, I told them a thousand times. Spinal Tap first. Puppet Show second.”

and lastly, “such a shame our friendship had to end. Purple Rain. Purple Rain.”


5 Responses to “Marketing for Superman and the Devil”

  1. Alice J Pierson-Knapp says:

    Enjoyed the read!
    Many thanks!
    love you!

  2. Bryan Farley says:

    Lizabeth Walsh Great seeing you today. I was going to edit this post from yesterday, but thought I would leave it for posterity, until I put in my 10,000 hours. Jill Jarsulic Chittum, Dude! I totally forgot to include an Arrowsmith song reference. (They are a Boston band.) I added a 1984 Cars reference, but forgot my J Geils and Arrowsmith songs. Oh well. Bradley Wilson, I hear that you have edited a little bit. Are there any good texts for editing? Liz gave me some good books to learn how to write. All suggestions are welcome as long as they completely positive and make me look and feel good. 🙂

  3. Bryan, sleep. If you don’t rest your brain, how can you expect it to be alive, alert, and enthusiastic?

  4. Bryan Farley says:

    going to sleep now… well, in five minutes

  5. Bryan Farley says:


    Thank you for being a loyal reader, but mostly, thank you for being such a loyal mother. God I am lucky that you found me and never let me stray too far away.

    I just read my post again and it isn’t all that bad… a little editing and I might have something. Since I wrote, I have a couple more ideas for the post. One is related to the urban legend that humans use 10% of our brains. The other is connected to the number 22. Perhaps when Taylor sang that she was feeling 22, she was referring to another piece of literature.

    Good night and good ….