Johnny America


Tom Conoboy Knows the An­swers # 3


Tom Conoboy, once de­scribed by Es­quire mag­a­zine as “the Ewan Mc­Gre­gor of li­brar­i­an­ing,” oc­ca­sion­al­ly deigns to an­swer the non­sen­si­cal ques­tions that come up in the nor­mal course of events at John­ny Amer­i­ca HQ. Here he an­swers the queries we mused on over cham­pagne at Patrick Giroux’s house on New Year’s Eve.


Q1: What’s go­ing to hap­pen in the year 2012? End of the world, or other?

A1: Not the end of the world, not even the be­gin­ning of the end of the world, but per­haps the end of the be­gin­ning, as Win­ston Churchill (“the first black Amer­i­can pres­i­dent”, as some­one an­swered in a British quiz show re­cent­ly) might have put it. You see, we hu­mans tend to think about every­thing in terms of our own puny time scales. So we think about glob­al warm­ing, and we wor­ry about the end of time, and we proph­esy doom and eter­nal damna­tion, and be­cause we don’t un­der­stand the vast­ness of time we imag­ine it will hap­pen some time af­ter 3pm on the first Thurs­day in May, 2012.

Let’s re­mem­ber, the first ho­mo sapi­ens emerged on­ly 120,000 years ago (on a Sat­ur­day, around lunch time.) In plan­e­tary terms, we’re babes in arms. There’s an Em­per­or an­gelfish cir­cling the wa­ters of the Red Sea that could, if on­ly it had tak­en a li­brary user ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram, trace its lin­eage back 120,000 gen­er­a­tions. Ad­mit­ted­ly, the an­ces­tors would be a bit rough look­ing to mod­ern tastes, with a fin or two more than we’re ac­cus­tomed to, but that’s not the point. You don’t see the an­gelfish fret­ting about the end of the world, do you? Not even as it ap­proach­es that cu­ri­ous, net­ty look­ing thing that seems to be hov­er­ing in the water…

But not to wor­ry, there’s an­oth­er gen­er­a­tion of an­gelfish ready to swim in­to the breach. There al­ways is. It’s the way of things. Time, it’s just one bloody day af­ter another…

Q2. Who would win in a fight be­tween Nao­mi Camp­bell [with her fierce tem­per and ob­vi­ous height ad­van­tage] and Lil’ Kim [who is small but scrap­py, and has al­so spent time ‘in the clink’]? By this I mean an un­reg­u­lat­ed, no rules-type fight, such as might oc­cur on the street or in a nightclub.

A2: Celebri­ty cat fight! Let’s be hon­est, it’s on­ly a mat­ter of time be­fore it’s a fran­chise on the BBC and CBS. Car­la from Cheers will be the ref­er­ee and she’ll be in­fa­mous for step­ping in and do­ing a bit of gra­tu­itious eye-goug­ing if the com­bat­ants aren’t be­ing mean and nasty enough. “They like it,” will be her lugubri­ous catch­phrase, with that trade­mark Car­la twin­kle in her eye.

But any­way, Nao­mi Camp­bell ver­sus L’il Kim. No con­test, sad­ly. L’il Kim’s one of those feisty rap­pers, for­mer lover of gunned-down hip-hop­per No­to­ri­ous B.I.G and, hav­ing done time, she’s ob­vi­ous­ly go­ing to trade on her ex-con sta­tus. But come on, she was on­ly in for per­jury. What’s she go­ing to do — floor Nao­mi with a quick one-two of lit­tle fibs fol­lowed by a whop­per be­tween the eyes? Stand over her and tell her rap mu­sic is more than sil­ly hand move­ments, large trousers and an in-depth knowl­edge of the present pro­gres­sive tense so that every line ends with ‑ing and sounds like it rhymes?

Mean­while we all know that the mag­nif­i­cent­ly moody Camp­bell flat­tens any­one who comes with­in ten yards of her pri­vate space. She’s get­ting to the stage where she doesn’t even need to risk her nails and knuck­les. One look is enough to flat­ten all but the most res­olute op­po­nent. The Camp­bell Ky­bosh, it’ll be called. “Ooh, there she goes,” Car­la will shout, “L’il Kim’s a goner. Fetch a stretcher.”

Dear me, no, it’ll take more than L’il Kim to knock Nao­mi off her pedestal. Hillary Clin­ton, now that might be a clos­er match…

Filed under Tom Conoboy Knows the Answers on January 10th, 2007

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