On the eve of my birthday I was trying to meet a deadline on an Erika America comic book. At about 3 AM, I finished the task and sent the PNG files over to my frequent collaborator and friend, Chris Perguidi. Erika Amerika is a character that Chris had me work on when we first met sometime back in 2008. EA is about a super heroine with an American Indian heritage. Since then, we have been working on projects together and have appeared many times in newspapers and television promoting our comic books like Herotown, Erika America, The Baby Warriors, etc.
As soon as files were sent to his email, I would usually get a response and within hours or the next day I would get feedback usually in the form of ”Amazing”, “Fantastic”, but for some odd reason… nothing. A day passed and nothing, another day nothing. On the third day, as I opened my Facebook I saw this post (I couldn't get far enough on his FB to retrieve the actual post, but something similar to this about 4 days later):
I didn’t know what to say. I’m used to being the recipient of comfort. For some reason, I didn’t know what to do. So many comments on Chris’s situation were posted and I figured I would just get lost in the crowd.
When me and Chris first decided to collaborate on a book, I met him and he was wearing a t-shirt with the caption: “Chris Perguidi: The Man, the Myth, the Legend.” He had a consortium of alter egos and I really had a hard time distinguishing fact from fiction.
So when I saw his post and the picture of the stitches on his chin I didn’t know what to think. Not only was he stabbed… he was stabbed in the face playing Pokemon Go. Some have commented if it was photoshopped, but as a self trained portraiture artist and a practitioner of common sense, it would take quite an effort to pull something like this off. An ambulance, pictures in the hospital and true to Chris Perguidi fashion, iconic images that again makes you think- “Is this fact or is it fiction?”
See, we have these questions due to our experience with the media. About a week and half after the incident, someone got a hold of Chris’ stabbing incident via Twitter and wanted to know if they could do an interview. August 3, I opened Facebook and there were links to all the news outlets interviewing Chris. One interview segment Chris did not like was the one on KGO Channel 7. Chris’ point of contention with Channel 7 was how the segment made him look like a “wimp, stupid, a redneck, and an imbecile.”
At first, when you just see a piece on a news station, or an article on the internet you don’t realize after the fact, that people or journalists do a narrative that completely diminishes the truth. In channel seven, Chris said, “That people shouldn’t have to pay attention,” when in fact, he told me that in the interview with Channel 7, witnessed by a friend, he said that “People say you don’t have to pay attention,” and continues to say the opposite that “…people should pay more attention and that even with my martial arts training I was stabbed.” So, through the magic of editing, the journalist got what they wanted which is to maintain the narrative in place of the whole truth.
I’ve known Chris for a long time, I am highly doubtful he would say anything that tells people they shouldn’t pay attention to what they’re doing. Man stabbed playing Pokemon Go! Let's put it out there! Make it quick and simple. Cut, snip, edit, Go! Pokemon Go! Such a simple way to get ratings.
In the way articles on the web and news pieces are designed, it seems the producers of this type has made it so tied to narrative that the whole truth and nothing but the truth is sacrificed in the goal of making a simplified albeit manipulation of truth, for a sound byte hungry audience. All in the name of efficiency, simplicity and the utter disdain to challenge the audience's intelligence. “Chris Perguidi: the Man, the Myth, the Legend” or “News: the Man, the Myth, the Legend?”