A writer named Leigh Bungalow sits in a news conference and answers questions about her books and a recent Netflix adaptation.
Leigh. Thanks for coming today–
A journalist raises her hand and interrupts.
Journalist. If I could? I have a question.
Journalist. I watched the Netflix adaptation of your books yesterday and found the dialogues of all your scenes remarkably flaccid, the plot predictable, and the acting poor. Is the Netflix adaptation faithful to the flaccid dialogue of your books?
Leigh. Um, well–
Journalist. My question has a second part, which is are you dating anyone and what color is your favorite underwear?
Leigh. Great, I–
Journalist. Oh, and I almost forgot to ask you about your main character Alice, I think it was…
Some of the other journalists whisper among themselves and someone yells from the back of the room.
Second Journalist. The main character’s name is Allen.
Journalist. Allen. In the Netflix version of the show, Allen has a scar on her forehead, which a lot of viewers find really annoying to look at–or was that just me?
The journalist looks around the room; many other journalists nod in agreement.
Journalist. Do your books include this scar on Allen’s forehead, or is this scar an artistic embellishment added by the Netflix production staff?
Journalist. Please understand, my question is not an objectification of the female body in general, but an objection to the specific female body that was used in the adaptation and, presumable, in everyone’s mental image of the character while reading the book, hashtag me too. Has anyone read the book, by the way?
The journalist looks around the room; all the other journalists have downcast faces. A few look at their mobile phones.
Journalist. Oh, and, just one more question–and this is the last one–Steve Jobs once said that “People don’t read anymore,” which is why he felt compelled to make devices that further encouraged people not to read by literally rewiring the human brain to be incapable of coherent thought and/or an attention span longer than a gold fish’s, so my question is this: Do your books help people read more, or do your books–
The journalist’s phone vibrates and causes a momentary distraction as she fishes the phone out of her purse; the journalist looks at her phone with intensity and, seeing her so absorbed, all the other journalists likewise look at their own phones, and, Leigh Bungalow herself looks at her phone and the whole room lapses into a meditative silence for five minutes as each person scrolls through social media, Wikipedia, and the assorted websites that polite society call news. One journalist even goes so far as to physically raise her phone above her head, turn her body, and snap a selfie of the news conference.