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Stuff Said 064: “The Names Have Been Changed”



Not sure what to really say about this episode, since, as I mentioned in the episode, I kind of like the idea of the story standing on its own without too much additional commentary.

I suppose I can write a bit about the process, how this all came to be and I ended up taking this approach, because this is definitely a story I’ve wanted to address.

Years ago I imagined having “CJ” on STUFF SAID as a guest, and bringing up “Roberto Mendoza”…my theory was that “CJ” would deny it and then I’d have cause to reach out to folks who knew, maybe get them on record, get a really dramatic, juicy set of episodes out of it…kinda like when Marc Maron had Carlos Mencia on WTF.

But as time passed that became less likely, and the idea of doing that on STUFF SAID seemed less in line with the spirit of the show…I had other solo shows that seemed a better fit…and then I got busy.

At some point, and I can’t remember when, I hit upon the idea of telling the story as a story and changing all the names…and then I got it in my head to link the names, somehow, thematically. I originally was going to use superhero secret identities, to play to the “secret identity” thing, but thought that might put certain companies in mind, etc, and then somehow I hit upon THE WEST WING, and everything sort of fell into place. Which makes no sense, because outside of using Jed Bartlett, the President on the show, to represent the Editor in Chief at “Capitol Comics”, nothing else really followed that governmental hierarchy, so…I think I just liked the gimmick more than anything else (though it’s possible if you’re a huge WEST WING fan the names might get in the way the way superhero identities would*). And that’s why the story begins with the opening notes of the WEST WING theme song.

The bedding music during the story comes from the score to the movie FARGO, which famously begins with text reading:

THIS IS A TRUE STORY. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.

Since this was also a true story, with changed names, it seemed appropriate…plus I really love the FARGO TV series, which recently ended it’s third season. A part of me wonders if that music will make people think, like the movie and tv series, this story isn’t actually true. I assure you, it is.

And I’ll leave it at that. I hope you enjoyed it.



*In the novel WONDER BOYS, Michael Chabon wrote a scene where a character waits outside The Baxter Building and mentions several members of The Fantastic Four by their non-superhero names. It totally distracted me from the otherwise really great book. I apologize to any listeners for whom the WEST WING names have had the same effect.