Life the Reboot


As is the case with many Depressives, the holidays and the end of the year tend to be hard for me. They’re time for reflection and taking stock of your life, and while there’s much that I’m proud of this year, my depression-addled brain thoughtfully decides to ignore many of the good things in order to focus monomaniacally on everything that went wrong. 

Instead of focusing on the good aspects of the year, my brain instead decides to obsess on everything that went wrong: the columns killed, the pitches rejected, personal and professional relationships that atrophied or died, opportunities not realized or blown, work not done. 

I’m feeling old and exhausted and worn a fair amount these days, like a weird old movie people cared about once but has been forgotten. I need a rebirth or perhaps I need a reboot. 

The Nathan Rabin brand just is not what it once was. That Nathan Rabin guy had something once but he’s just too goddamn old and too bitter and too sloppy and prone to self-sabotage. And what’s with the Juggalo thing? I mean, it was cute as a novelty at first but then it got to be a little worrying. Is that supposed to be a permanent thing? And how can he expect his opinion to be taken seriously when one of those opinions is that Insane Clown Posse is great? 

The Nathan Rabin brand, honestly, is a bit of a goddamn mess. Insane Clown Posse, “Weird Al” Yankovic, mental illness, bad movies, podcasting and begging strangers for money on the internet: it’s all over the place. It’s sloppy, self-indulgent and barely coherent, let alone professional. Didn’t I used to be somebody? The A.V Club. Scribner. Weird Al: The Book. What the hell happened? I used to be associated with successes. Now it's trying to make the best of failure. 

The Nathan Rabin reboot will take care of this sloppiness and decay. 41 is entirely too old. 33 seems better. Imperfections are all well and good, but do I have to be so goddamned imperfect?No, I am entirely too old and weird and damaged. Time to go out with the old and in with the new. 


Here’s the thing: those sleek, shiny reboots, with the up-to-the-minute technology and unblemised, brand-spanking new stars? For the most part, they fucking suck. They’re soulless. They’re calculating and cynical and pandering and for the most part not just unloved but actively hated. 

So maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world if you’re stuck with the old, weird, ragged, imperfect Nathan Rabin, the one who has been kicked around a fair bit, and has the scars and damage that comes with two decades in a brutal industry and four decades in an ugly world. That dude may not be shiny and new and perfect, but he’s got a fuck-ton of character. 

Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place doesn’t have value and worth because I have lived a life of unending triumph and victory, because I was at the A.V Club at the very beginning and now that's a huge cultural force. No, the site has value because I’ve failed, and failed often, and found the strength to get up and keep fighting when I feel overwhelmed and defeated. It turns out the reboot of Nathan Rabin isn’t any more necessary than any other reboot. 


I am, if nothing else, an original, and this is one case where the crusty, sloppy, imperfect original might just be preferable to the shiny, happy remake. 

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