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John Green Profile by Margaret Talbot

posted by Nell Minow

My friend and Pre-Code movie series co-host Margaret Talbot has a thoughtful profile of The Fault in our Stars author John Green in The New Yorker.  He told her

I love the intensity teen-agers bring not just to first love but also to the first time you’re grappling with grief, at least as a sovereign being—the first time you’re taking on why people suffer and whether there’s meaning in life, and whether meaning is constructed or derived. Teen-agers feel that what you conclude about those questions is going to matter. And they’re dead right. It matters for adults, too, but we’ve almost taken too much power away from ourselves. We don’t acknowledge on a daily basis how much it matters.

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Talbot is insightful not just about why teen stories appeal to Green but about why Green is so important to teenagers, in part because he has made himself so accessible.  She writes about his online chats with teens who have cancer and his responding to comments on his series of video posts about everything from public policy to geopolitical conflicts, classic literature to promoting his slogan: DFTBA — “Don’t forget to be awesome” (and evil corporations profiting from that slogan).  The article is as significant for its portrayal of the millennial generation’s experience and expectation of fan-dom as it is for its biographical details about Green.  It is reassuring to see that some analog aspects of fandom persist, even in the era of Tumblr, YouTube channels, and Twitter.

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Many authors do pre-publication publicity, but Green did extra credit: he signed the entire first printing—a hundred and fifty thousand copies—which took ten weeks and necessitated physical therapy for his shoulder.

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