Blame Diablo Cody

After snoozing through the French debate and a lacklustre American Idol, I was looking forward to watching The United States of Tara which is about a woman with multiple personalities.

For those unfortunates living without premium cable, Tara is one of the best things to watch on the telly these days.

Tara and Nurse Jackie.

Anyway, this week’s episode started with a bizarre announcement apologizing to the people of Japan. The Movie Channel told viewers that this episode wasn’t meant to offend the people of Japan. The promo then promised to provide information on how Canadians can send aid to the Japanese.

I wondered: what possibly could the writer Diablo Cody have done to insult the earnest people of Japan?

Make fun of the Japanese earthquake?


The storyline goes that Tara’s daughter decides to teach English to the Japanese. She’s sitting in the airport lounge when the news comes on. Japan has experienced a devastating earthquake. The telly shows images of cars submerged in swirling black water, panicked people milling about. You get the picture.

The daughter shrugs and goes home.

The series was shot before the earthquake, so it seems, Cody had a vision of things to come. Much like Michael Douglas who produced the China Syndrome, a movie about nuclear disaster which was released just one month before the meltdown at Three Mile Island.

So I’m wondering what Cody was thinking after the series was put to bed when she turned on the television and watched parts of Japan being swallowed whole by the ocean. Would she think this was a good thing, or a bad thing?

A cynical and greedy producer might rub his shwetty hands with glee, thinking that the publicity would be good for the series. A writer would not.

A writer would believe she caused the Earthquake. It’s the way writers think.

There’s a line in a movie that goes: “When you’re asking God for something make sure you’re very specific.”

If you want smaller breasts, don’t say I wish I didn’t have these boobs — because God might give you breast cancer. Or if you’re mad at your kids, you never think: “I wish I didn’t have kids.”

Because, you know.

Writers, real writers, are very superstitious, methodical, and obsessive. The great writer Philip Roth pens his novels standing at a table. Others have to have their computer screens facing the sun.

We’re also very paranoid, and do believe, to paraphrase W.P. Kinsella, if you think it, it will happen.

Because sometimes it does.

Stephen King wrote in his excellent memoir, On Writing, that when he was hit by a maniacal driver while walking peacefully down the road, he looked up only to see a drooling, googly-eyed Maine character. He realized he’d nearly been killed by a character out of one of his own novels.

As a writer, and as a person, I follow the code. So I wouldn’t be the person chosen to write a disaster movie like, say, 2012.

Cause if is happens, if the predictions come true and it’s the end of days, I don’t want to be responsible.

I’m sure Diablo Cody is thinking the exact same thing right now.


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