Sidman launches "The American Crowbar Case," a humor blog
Alumnus Dan Sidman ’11 (front left) poses with his family at the Potomac River in Virginia. Sidman is a former Echo opinion columnist and staff writer.
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On Dec. 25, 2011, Dan Sidman ’11 published the first post on his blog, “The American Crowbar Case,” despite saying, “I think blogging is self-important and pretentious and generally irritating.” The post, which varied in content from movie synopses to self-reflections, was more or less a free flow of his thoughts, and later posts followed along a similar vein.
Sidman and fellow blogger, Michael Langley ’13, have regularly updated their blog in the past three months with wisecracks and witty commentary on daily life. Their posts range from musings about deodorant scents to complaints about gym patrons, all conveyed with style and a quirky sense of humor.
When asked how he would describe the blog to a stranger who had never seen it, Sidman said, “Imagine if Herman Melville and George Carlin shared a raucous evening of carnal pleasures and birthed a lovechild with a Howard Hughes-like level of neuroticism and the self-confidence of Caspar Milquetoast. Then imagine that this lovechild started writing a journal….I like to pretend I’m that lovechild when I’m writing.”
Inspiration for the blog posts come from everyday life, current events or other online sources. “Basically some subject or complaint or idea will start to occupy my thoughts…until eventually I’m faced with the choice of either writing about it and getting it out of my system, so to speak, or checking myself into the nearest insane asylum,” Sidman said.
On Jan. 15, Langley reflected on the excessive selection of deodorant scents he encountered on his most recent trip to Wal-mart, and, in a humorous ranting post entitled, “What do your armpits smell like?” wrote, “Thought experiment: what if ‘exotic winds and spicy freedom’ were real things, and Old Spice managed to capture their scents PERFECTLY? Wouldn’t that be more alarming than attractive?”
Sidman’s post on Feb. 5 lamented the onslaught of canker sores. “I’m reminded of the fraudulency of the conceit I so often entertain when everything in my life is going swimmingly that I’m a stoic, indomitable he-man when I bite the inside of my mouth while eating Cheerios and the resultant sores cause me to question my own existence on this planet,” he wrote.
The blog’s title, “The American Crowbar Case,” is a tribute to the American neurology case of Phineaus Gage, a railroad worker who experienced irreparable trauma to the left frontal lobe of his brain when a large iron rod was mistakenly driven through his skull. Friends and family noticed extreme personality changes, and the effects of the accident on his brain were studied widely in psychological and neurological circles.
“The title has absolutely nothing to do with the content of the blog, but I thought it would do nicely as a pretentious and purposely obscure name for the site,” Sidman said. “The American Crowbar Case” was created without a target audience in mind, and simply with the goal to “have a blog that’s different.”
In his Jan. 29 post, “Soap,” Sidman said of blogging, “And what’s more emblematic of 20-somethings than this: a cultural phenomenon by which you can assert your unique specialness and individuality and, through the use of irony and self-deprecation, also safeguard yourself from potential ego bruising. Nobody gets hurt, everybody goes home OK, everyone wins. God bless America.”