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Disappointed writes...

Hi Greg, I just wanted to say I love the show. But I have a bit of a bone to pick with you...

It's about this whole "Ask Greg" thing. I love that we can come here and ask questions, but I don't love your answers. I don't think that you owe us anything, but you've got to realize that some of us come here with high hopes, and we love the show enough to ask you about it. You choose to do this, yet you shoot half of us down. I'm rather tired of looking through the archives and seeing a question I want answered, getting my hopes up, then having them dashed to pieces because you gave some smart ass answer. I much rather appreciate when you simply say "I don't know" or that "I'm not answering this now." Keep in mind that you choose to do this Ask Greg thing, no one is forcing you. And for the people that do pick at you and only ask things to make you look foolish or whatever, why waste your time on them? You could be answering other true fans' legitimate questions and not falling so damn far behind. Yes, I know I'm complaining, but if you honestly can't see my point of view I can't make you understand. I enjoy Ask Greg (or at least I am trying to) but it gets really hard when half the answers you give are callous and uncalled for. I suggest that if Ask Greg is a pain to you, that you simply quit. You're not doing much good anyway since you don't answer our questions. So do yourself and everyone a favor...treat Ask Greg as you should be treating it or just simply drop it. But just remember whatever you do is by your choice alone. So grow up a bit, stop trying to be "funny" as you so often say when someone brings this up to you, and take some responsibility. Now if you've read this all the way through, thank you. I appreciate your time, I know you are very busy. But just keep in mind what I said and take it in and consider it. Thank you.

Greg responds...

I read it all the way through. And I'll consider it, but...

Look, it's a matter of personal taste. I know for a fact that some people enjoy (at least some of) my "Smart-Ass Responses".

I often answer with "I don't know", or "I don't want to answer this now." But even that gets old, both for me and for the readers. Some of my smart-ass responses haven't been too clever, admittedly, but I've had two or three zingers in there that have gotten almost as good a response as some of my more shocking and on the level revelations.

I don't want to quit. And I'll own up to that choice. But I still reserve the right to get annoyed every once in awhile. Guess what? I'm human and frankly, sometimes it gets a little annoying in this "room".

There have been times when I've been less than gracious. And I am truly, truly sorry about that. I usually get called on it. (Often by my brother, for which I'm grateful.) When it's pointed out to me, I try to honestly cop to it. To accept my mistakes, apologize, and then hopefully move on.

I don't think it's fair to blame the backlog on me alone. Our system is flawed, admittedly. And I'm slow. But I think my temperament has much improved now that I'm only answering two or three questions a day. I tended to get more annoyed cumulatively when I'd try to sit down and power through fifty questions in a night. The truth is if some of the posters here made even a slight effort to check the FAQ or Archives before posting their questions, ASK GREG would be a better experience for all concerned.

So that's both my apologia and my defense. I'm sorry that you're disappointed. But hey, it seems to be your name, so I guess it's a bit inevitable.

Response recorded on May 20, 2004

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Heading out of town...

I'll be out of town tomorrow and all next week.

No internet access while I'm gone, so I'll be back here at ASK GREG on 2/23/04.

Have a great Valentine's Day,

Greg


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pizza girl writes...

this may nt be a good question but do u ever get mad or bord or question not ancering all these questions?

Greg responds...

Yes. Yes. Yes.

But the positives still outweigh the negatives, or else I wouldn't be doing it.

Response recorded on February 04, 2004

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Lord Sloth writes...

This comes a tad too late perhaps, but I was wondering if I'm ok to tie my questions together under a topic like memories or love or religion, even though they are questions about different characters. I haven't abused the rules at all, have I? I'll wait for your answer before I ask anything about character religion.

Greg responds...

It's basically okay if it's a truly cohesive topic AND if you're NOT asking for a laundry list, along the lines of "Please list all the objects of affection for each of the following 92 characters."

Response recorded on December 09, 2003

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swimmguy2001@aol.com writes...

could you please send me all of the screen shots or other picutes of "the weird sisters" please?
Thanks

Greg responds...

No. That's not what I do here, at least in part because I don't know how.

Response recorded on September 12, 2003

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Greg Weisman writes...

hey greg, my name is greg weisman also, sorry, but i dont have a question. i was just on yahoo and i typed in my name and you came up as one of the greg weismans. its really cool that you work for disney. its wierd too because when i was 12(maybe younger or older)and i used to watch Gargoyles all the time. it was one of my favorite shows. im 16 now. sorry to take up your time, i just thaught it was wierd that we have the same name. once again im sorry that i didnt have a question and i hope you could email me back at Gweece@aol.com bye

Greg responds...

Hey Greg, I hope you haven't been pissed off at me for 19 months waiting for my e-mail response. I only just saw your posting. (Long line.)

I'm afraid I have to make it a policy not to e-mail people directly off this site. I'm afraid that (a) the requests would never end and (b) the usefulness of ASK GREG would be damaged as a forum for all the fandom.

What city do you live in? I get calls for other Greg Weisman's all the time. When I lived in New York, I'd often have to ask a confused caller, "Are you looking for the blond Greg Weisman or the Brown-haired Greg Weisman?" Inevitably, the ones with the sexy voices were looking for the blond.

Response recorded on August 25, 2003

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Joe writes...

Hey everyone, since he is far behind on questions, lets give him a chance to catch up ok?

Greg responds...

Okay.

Response recorded on August 22, 2003

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GATHERING 2003 JOURNAL - Or how I spent my summer vacation...

Before I start, I just want to say...

1. I had a blast. Thank you, everyone for another phenomenal and memorable event in my life.

2. Now that the posting function here at ASK GREG has been re-awakened, I'd like to ask everyone who attended the Gathering to post their Gathering journals/diaries/logs here at ASK GREG. If you've got them posted elsewhere, please cut and paste them here. (Do not provide a link.) One, I'd like to read them eventually. And I even think it'll be kind of fun to be reading them months from now. I'll be nostalgic. Two, I think we should have a record here for con virgins and other newbies about just how much fun the Gathering can be. Thanks, in advance.

3. As I'm going through my journal, I'm flat out bound to forget some things and even some people. I apologize in advance. There are so many names and faces, it sometimes takes me a year or two to process people (just ask Spacebabie).

4. I'm not just going to post about the Gathering (i.e. about June 27-29th). My vacation started on June 20th and didn't end until yesterday, July 6th. So I'm going to post everything Gathering related that took place over that period. Hopefully in chunks.

5. I won't be answering any more questions until I get this done, but I'm hoping to have it done by the end of the week.

6. I'm also hoping to getting back to rambling about episodes -- about one ep a week, starting next week or the week after. That's the plan, anyway.

7. And again. Wow. Thank you all.


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Master Debator writes...

Greetings all I never post and most likely never will again. I do though, enjoy this site tremendously. Greg what you are doing here is nothing less than saintly. I love to read the posts submitted by everyone, I must say you all are kindrid brothers in spirit.

I though pride myself as a Master Debator even if I am not the one debating. I want to know Greg and from all:

Greg: is there any questions you felt would have been asked that never were, here at ask greg?

Everyone who do you think is better in thier post deliveries-
Punchinello or Vanity ?
Demona Taina or Jim R ?

I would really love to see the responses.

Greg responds...

1. Nope. Plenty of questions that I didn't expect, but no stone left unturned that I did expect.

2 & 3. I'm not going to even dignify this.

Response recorded on June 20, 2003

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Punchinello writes...

<<You idiot! Did you not read the no ideas clause on the main askgreg page or are you just pretending to be stupid!>>

I found this to be a remarkable statement.

Hello Mr. Weisman.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine recently about new kinds of conventions in contemporary fiction, (it was less a conversation than a herculean effort on his part to _educate me_ about some of these things which I should know more about) and the topic of literary devices imported from things that are generally considered banal or somehow inferior to literature came up. The Sunday funnies, technical manuals, etc. He brought up something that I thought you would find interesting. I wanted to find out if you had any reaction to this, as I gather that you consider introducing young people to literature very important and this is something which is (possibly) maligning the way in which they perceive it.

My friend explained the phenomenon of these "adventure card games" to me. I guess the pokemon fall into this category. (Horrifying little things) There are also all manner of these dungeons and dragons type games. Apparently a convention has developed among people who play the games of generating fiction using the cards. For instance, each player would represent a character internal to a story and the cards they play with would dictate the structure of a work of fiction they were creating and "acting out" at the same time. The interesting thing about this is that characters within this convention are frequently developed by means of a pre defined list of "character attributes." Once again, for instance, you would have a condition like

10 personality types. Pick one.
10 types of conventional behavior. Pick one.
10 types of hats. Pick one.

The idea seems to be that character development emerges from the intersection of these variables. Even though I'm certain that this kind of convention could be exploited towards an interesting end in literature, I found this sort of "amateur authors" version of writing very limiting, and the whole method of lists of typical character attributes seems to be an arbitrary convention that was being maintained for the sake of game playing. It's all very silly.

The reason I mention all of this is because my friend told me that he has observed a trend among many amateur authors and many young aspiring authors to use this same kind of convention when writing. He sees characters being treated as though the author were at a buffet, and the author were allowed one "feature" for each little spot on his tray. He sees this a lot. He teaches a creative writing class at the moment and has noticed this sentiment that people are coming into the class with, that if they string together a lot of trivia about a fictional person, a real character will emerge as if by magic. He sees them conduct this exercise a lot where they define a character with...

John lives in Wisconsin.
John works in the Madison public Library.
John likes his job okay.

He mentioned he sees this limiting perspective carry over into their observations of other peoples writing. This way of thinking seems to prevent them from really experiencing a character. It seems they can only define the character for themselves from within the context of this kind of trivia.

He asked me if I had seen this obsession over trivia instead of character anywhere else. I immediately realized that I had! It usually takes the form of...

Where did fox get her tattoo?
Who were Mab's parents?
Who were Oberon's parents?
Who were Titania's parents?
Who were anansi's parents?
Will Brooklyn have children?
How many children?
Will his children have names?
Will those names begin with a consonant or a vowel?

This is why some people so appreciate your continued participation with this board. I'm really just writing this because I would like to read any general reaction you have to it. However, I think I would not be alone in wanting to hear you comment on the kind of questions outlined above (of which you field many). I think I kind of resent the implication in some of these questions that, as the author, you should know the names and mailing addresses of all of Elisa's cousin's three times removed, along with their favorite foods and weight at birth. Is there something you think is essentially being missed with questions like these? Maybe if you were to share with your fans, the kind of dialogue you think is worthwhile and exciting, you would see the trivia questions replaced with more real dialogue about "Gargoyles."

Greg responds...

Well, let's start with the "buffet"/game-playing writing style.

I think it's awful.

Having said that, I have this friend, a garg fan who's now a pretty darn successful writer. When I read her first book, I felt that the first half of it was written in that way. As if rolls of the dice determined who each character was, what he or she could do and what happenned to them.

The second half of the book was MUCH better. She took a few of the characters from the first half and delved much deeper into their lives and their stories.

When I asked her about it, she confessed (if that's the word) that I was dead on. The first half of the book was her almost literally setting to prose a game of D&D that she had played.

I don't recommend doing that, but look at the result. The second half of the novel, inspired as it was by the first half, was wonderful. And she's moved forward with these characters into other books as well.

My point is that people get inspiration from all sorts of places. I get it from Shakespeare, for example, and Shakespeare got his from all sorts of other sources. A good writer can take something that begins as an exercise... maybe a worthwhile exercise or maybe a dubious one... and turns it into something real and meaningful.

The question -- your first question, I think -- is whether these writers ever grow out of the exercise or whether they become trapped in them. Well, the answer is obviously both. Some will transcend, as some writers always have.

But your second question is more serious. Does this process in fact impair the reader/audience. Forget that some of these guys will never be great writers, will this make them bad readers?

I don't know. But my guess is that it's the same (or similar) percentage of people who would have been bad readers in the first place. The good ones will transcend. The others won't. That's my hypothesis.

Now, bringing it more specifically to ASK GREG and the "trivia questions" I often get, well, I have mixed feelings.

In some ways, trivia is exactly what this forum is for. After all, just a minute ago I fielded a question from a guy who wanted me to lay out ALL the story arcs for Bad Guys. That's not going to happen, as I told him. This isn't a forum for storytelling. It's a forum for people to get a peak inside the box, (the box being my head).

And in fact, I know no zip codes, but I am a font of unrevealed trivia about the show. I do know more about these characters then 66 episodes has revealed. Some of it I like to keep to myself, some of it I like to tease. Some of it I don't mind revealing and have done so.

So a lot comes down to the intent of the questioner, and you can usually tell, if not in a single post then in the range of posts that that person submits. If I get 16 posts in a row asking something like, "Who is Maggie's father?" followed by "Who is Claw's father?" followed by "Who is Fang's father?" or if I get requests for laundry lists of things, "Name all the ancient heroes who have encountered Oberon," then you can bet that the questioner was looking for a question to ask, as opposed to trying to deepen his or her understanding of the show or character.

But sometimes a so-called trivial question can lead to just that. Look at your list above. Some of it seems stupid, but some of the answers to some of those questions would certainly lead to a better understanding. "Who were Oberon's parents?" Once upon a time, I hadn't revealed the answer to that. Eventually, I revealed that Oberon's mother was Mab. And that revelation, and the info I gave about Oberon's overthrowing of his mother, certainly lends something to one's understanding of his character. I haven't yet revealed who his father is. Not in the mood. But I would hope that learning that would also effect one's understanding of the character.

And again, I think you can often (though not always) tell by the question itself if that's what the questioner is seeking. A deeper understanding about some aspect of the show.

So sometimes, it does get annoying. But mostly I enjoy doing this. (I do think that doing a little a day has been a much better system than trying to do big batches of questions all at once. I get less annoyed when not burdened with the cumulative effects of annoyance.)

Do I wish this could be more of a forum for ideas and discussion? Well, yeah, duh. I've invited that in the past, and, P., I always enjoy reading and responding to your posts.

(Although what you quoted at the head of your post:

<<You idiot! Did you not read the no ideas clause on the main askgreg page or are you just pretending to be stupid!>>

I found this to be a remarkable statement.

is a bit lost on me out of context. I can't believe I wrote the first quote.)

Admittedly, we do have a problem with making this a forum right now. The FLOOD. The flood of submissions during a period when I all but ceased to answer questions (all around the time of 9/11 and following) created a backlog so immense that creating a forum is nearly impossible. Now it truly is impossible, as we have temporarily shut down the submission function. You can't respond to this response.

I'd love to try and solve this problem, and I've made suggestions. But ultimately this isn't my site, it's Gorebash's. Until he's ready, willing and able to initate a new system, we're stuck with me slowly catching up.

I hope that 18 months later you're still checking ASK GREG and reading this. I hope that you'll compose your response and hold on to it, submitting it when we finally get things back up and running. But even if you're not, even if you're long gone, thanks for raising some interesting issues.

Response recorded on June 13, 2003


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