Twitch isn’t the Wild West, but it is populated by a host of larger-than-life characters — none, of course, larger than the site’s original heel, Dr Disrespect. His backstory is shrouded in mystery: what, really, was the Blockbuster Video Game Championships, and how did he win two of them in the early ’90s? If you’ve ever wondered that, or anything else about him — I mean, what’s with the mustache, and why does he continually refer to it as a poisonous Ethiopian caterpillar? — you’re in luck. The Doc sold a memoir to Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, titled Violence. Speed. Momentum. It’s slated for the spring of 2021 and promises at least a few answers. And yes, it will be written in character.
“The Champions Club demands the legend of Dr Disrespect be told,” wrote Dr Disrespect in an emailed statement. “While best read off the base of Mt. Olympus, fans worldwide will soon marvel at my history’s secrets. You’re welcome.”
Doc’s book does have some antecedents. The character-memoir genre isn’t exactly well-worn territory, though it has been broken in some. Probably the closest forebear is Will Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy, from the 2004 Adam McKay film Anchorman, who published a memoir in 2013 about a month before the release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. From The New Yorker, a particularly revealing (prescient?) paragraph about a fictional fire in an equally fictional coal shaft:
In a candid moment as we were walking home that night I asked my old man why he didn’t talk about the eleven men who had died or the culpability of the oil company or the environmental impact of this new deadly fire or the emotional damage many deaths could have on a small community like ours or even the plain fact that without tunnel 8 most of the town would be out of work. “Ron, sometimes people don’t want the truth. They just want the news.” I’ll never forget these sage words from my father. Up until that point I made no distinction between “truth” and “news.” I had thought they were one and the same! I was a boy of course and the world was just a kaleidoscope of butterscotch candies and rum cookies. I didn’t understand the reason for news until that day.
Indeed, Ron. If you only knew how things turned out.
Doc’s book promises to be far different; after all, he’s a gamer, not an anchorman. But certain things are similar. They both have legions of fans, and they’re both larger than life — unconcerned, in other words, with what happens in the here and now. Escapism is one of the stories we tell ourselves so that we can live.