I profoundly dislike this sort of thing. It’s the sort of thing that kindles paranoia.
But let me explain. Recently, I took out a subscription for Crave TV, which is like Netflix but more limited. It focusses on television series, which is good and bad. On the good, I’ve finally caught the episode of Band of Brothers that I missed, and the adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is quite splendid. On the bad… well, it is TV. It distracts.
Sometimes one seeks a distraction, though. For example, when I have a migraine, I spend a lot of time crouching over a toilet (and I will not expand on that). Not all of this crouching is actively engaged, and during the standby intervals, I welcome distraction as long as I can control the volume. Unable to face the prospect of a second episode of the animated Star Trek, a work we may look upon and despair, I decided to give The Flash a chance. When it first appeared on broadcast TV, I didn’t pursue it, for a variety of reasons, high amongst which was a failure of the show’s marketing to make it look at all interesting. I had been a huge fan of the character from ages eight to ten, but that didn’t translate into an a sufficiently urgent curiosity in the show.
I discovered, in my infirm state, that it was… OK. When seen on a small tablet. Between… bouts. So, when migraine stops in for a visit, I watch The Flash. And when the third episode began last weekend, I had my unpleasant turn. I will offer a small spoiler alert, although how much of a spoiler revealing the opening five minutes of a show which first aired a year and a half ago can be is debatable.
The episode opens with the assassination of several members of an organized crime family. That family’s name is Darbinyan.
Which is the name of my victim in “The Third Act.”
Did I hear that right? Why, yes, I did, confirmed by three repetitions.
Son of a….
When I was choosing the name for the story, which happened almost immediately in the writing process, my thoughts ran thus:
Danish… nah… Chinese… no… the menace is a Scot, so let’s leave the UK out of it… well, how about Armenian?
[opens Wikipedia under “Armenian Family Names”, scrolls until something strikes as euphonious]
And that’s it. At that point in my life, I had never seen nor heard the name Darbinyan. It might have been Pasternak, Kim, Stonecalf or Khethiwe had my synaptic pachinko ball dropped a little differently. No big messages, no profound motives, and certainly no external influences. That’s what really bugs me; someone passing by this site who reads that story will think I lifted the name from the show, because the show aired before I posted the story. Apart from this little rant, there’s nothing to indicate that I was not at all swayed by television in that particular choice.
Which brings us to the slightly eerie element in this real-life story. The IMDB page for that episode reveals that it first aired on 21 October 2014, a year less a week before I posted the story. But I started writing the story on 20 October 2014. Isn’t that something?
I am not so foolish as to shout, “See? They copied me!” because I know that the script is written a long time before the show airs. No doubt months before I produced the first mark on paper for “The Third Act,” one of the screenwriters for the episode did much the same sort of thing as me to select a name.
Which, given what happens in my story and that show, suggests that to a certain stripe of creative person living in North America there is something about “Darbinyan” that suggests victimhood. I certainly hope this is not the case in the real world.