“If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”
— Anton Chekhov
Andrew Bogut ruined my blog.
Well… kind of.
I’ve always had a thing about titles, you see. It’s like a tick. I’ve written entire pieces off of just a headline that came across my mind, and I’ve had pieces I never finished because I couldn’t come up with a good enough name for them. It’s more or less the dumbest basis for a work ethic you can imagine.
I like to think I’m somewhat good at turning a phrase, so this doesn’t always need to come up. Headlines come fairly easily to me; in my brief time recapping Detroit Pistons games, the headlines were far and away the only interesting thing I published (blame the Pistons – they were awful). Naming a thing, though? A website, a blog, something like that? It’s practically beyond me. A momentum-killer.
See, I don’t want to write on “Daniel’s Entertainment Blog.” It can’t just be vague or generic or cliche – I want the thing I create to stand out somehow. Red Letter Media? That’s a memorable name. Hardwood Paroxysm? I had to Google what that one meant back in the day, because I’m stupid. It stuck with me, though. Sorry, Sports Reference, but you guys bore the hell out of me.
When it comes time to name my websites, then, it can be a long process. Back in high school, I had 4th and Long – an unbelievably goddamn boring name which I hate. Years later came The Legend of Jed Lowrie – a significant improvement, in my eyes. A largely baseball-focused blog, Lowrie emphasized my Red Sox fandom and came with enough of a funny backstory to be interesting. It wasn’t a completely original name on my part, though, and Jed Lowrie didn’t stick around with the Sox for too much longer, so the goof had sort of run its course. I contributed to a handful of other sites through this time period, too – my favorite name-wise being Fire Brand of the American League – but the slow death of Lowrie led to a hiatus in my writing.
Until last year. Last year, I told myself it was time. I was gonna make myself a new blog, with a great name, and I was gonna churn out content like nobody’s business. Yo, prospective employers, you want some writing samples? Yeah, I’m gonna have loads of that shit. I was motivated, and I had the right name in mind.
Perfect. An inside joke that was funny to at least three people in the world that I know of, counting myself. My friends and I play far too much NBA 2k, you see, and the gag was that one of us had Australian center Andrew Bogut on our roster, but couldn’t remember if he was hurt or not. One obvious “Schrödinger’s Cat” reference later, and he became “Schrödinger’s Bogut” to us forever. It was the perfect combination of sports geekdom, referential humor, and “funny to basically only me.” I had a couple pieces out there pretty quickly, and I felt good.
The downside I hadn’t anticipated, though, is that when your site’s name is a reference to a real person, you might end up finding out that person… well, sucks.
Andrew Bogut definitely sucks. Loudly and obnoxiously, in a very Neo-Nazi kind of way. This Deadspin article sums up a lot of it quite well (along with a pretty sweet anti-Bogut burn, shout-out to you, T_nels). The funny inside joke turned out to actually be in reference to a guy who puts on a pretty reprehensible public persona (more like Andrew Bigot, am I right?), and naming my blog after him, in my mind, associated my content with him. So, that ruled that one out.
It’s been close to a year since all that, and I’ve failed remarkably hard at getting more writing out there. I’ve started loads of pieces and never finished them. Part of it was definitely laziness, for sure, and another part has been a lack of free time. There’s always been that little bit of a question, though, too: “Where do I publish it?” Writing an article meant that I’d have to make a blog to put it on, and making a blog meant that I had to name a blog. Bogut burned me hard, maybe I wasn’t ready to commit like that again. So I put it off. I was half-tempted to just call this blog Some Shit I Wrote, and leave it at that, but maybe that wouldn’t look the most… professional.
So here we are. You’re reading this, which means you A – almost certainly think I am utterly insane, and B – have already seen that I did, in fact, settle on a name: Chekhov’s ________ (that’s “Chekhov’s Blank,” unless you feel like sounding out eight underscores somehow, in which case… you go, buddy). Based on the famous storytelling principle “Chekhov’s Gun,” detailed above by Mr. Anton Chekhov himself. It has always been one of my favorites to reference just based on its sheer versatility. Chekhov’s Gun can be anything you want it to be. Chekhov’s Gun? Better shoot it. Chekhov’s Pizza? Better eat it. Chekhov’s Planet? Better go there. It’s infinitely applicable on top of being a great guideline for writing. Best of all, as far as I know, Anton Chekhov was decidedly not a Neo-Nazi! It’s perfect.
So I’m back in the blogging world again, ready to launch hot takes into the endless void of the Internet. I hope you’ll join me, even if only to tell me what an idiot I am. I don’t have a so-called “schedule,” or what you people would call “plans,” but I’ll do my best to put things out there on the regular. So stay tuned, and remember:
If you set up a blog in Act 1, you gotta write on it in Act 3.