Name: John Ness
Role at Fast Company: Editing features for FastCompany.com
Titillating fact: It was 2003. I was in a career rut at Newsweek magazine with two options to jump-start my career: Move to Nairobi and try to fill the gap created by the magazine’s closed bureau, or hand myself over to some odd reality TV show that promised to improve my hair, wardrobe, grooming, everything–to the point where I could nail any interview. The Queer Eye pilot was scheduled after an event to cover in Kenya, so there was no way to do both.
I chose to go report in Kenya, and I don’t think my hair (already traumatized by years of bleach and Manic Panic) ever forgave me. We’ve steadily grown apart over the years.
Things he’s loving:
1. Glove and Boots puppet videos. These do the same double duty as the Muppets, making kids and parents laugh with jokes that work on different levels. Case in point, their cover of the Beatles “All Together Now,” which my kids love for its Tex Avery-style insanity and I love for the crescendo where everyone yells, “BIZ MARKEEEEE.”
2. The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles: A Three-Million-Yard-Football Odyssey. What if someone took those Snow Fall-style longform pages that are supposed to just ooze journalistic gravitas and used them to post a crudely illustrated 44,000 novella about ‘Merica’s quarterback? What if in the future, football games sprawled endlessly into the streets, like the pre-Columbian Iroquois lacrosse games on acid? Describing his work, author (?) Jon Bois said “I have done the most obnoxious thing I could possibly think of.” I’m through Chapter 1, and somehow, it works.
3. Marquette, Michigan. My family’s been going up to the unofficial capital of the Upper Peninsula my whole life, but this was the first summer I asked “Why am I leaving?” There’s good local beer, great local dining, and yes, okay, a winter long enough to depress a mammoth. But right now, in August? The well-heeled vacation towns on the coasts have nothing* on Marquette’s quiet authenticity.
*Maybe the best part: The kind of people who scoff at that statement generally aren’t in Marquette.