Is it the wife? Why does he never talk about the wife…?


Not content to sift only through the inert, unpopped kernels at the bottom of the vast right-wing popcorn bag, we also occasionally check in on James Lileks, silently marking the days until he finally breaks, howling from a high ledge on a stately ’20s-era former grain exchange building in downtown Minneapolis, throwing handfuls of sepia postcards and matchbooks to the assembled firemen and news crews, naked except for an iPod.

Why is a ?legendary? game designer advertising on Hugh Hewitt?s site? I noticed an ad on his site touting the return of ?Virgil Tatum,? like I should know who he is. Uh ? who? I?ve been playing games since the days when Leather Goddesses ruled Phobos, and I?ve never heard of this guy.

If thoughts had wings, J.L.’s would be flocking like this:

Hm. Must buy toothpaste. Why doesn’t Hugh ever call me first? Everyone respects Richards a lot, but most of the really hot solos were by Mick Taylor. Hm. Virgil Tatum? So angry all the time!…no, calm. Calm and cool. Happy life! One more column and two site updates, then TV and Playstation tonight. Not angry. So-called ‘legendary game designer?’

It’s a hoax, by the way — a viral marketing whatsis of some sort (as Lileks suspects later in the column), but also a fairly transparent one: The site mentioned below has been advertising at the Museum of Hoaxes. Harmless indeed, but with Lileks edging ever-closer to the crackup we’ve all seen coming, even his once-estimable prose is going all Salinger:

I browsed through the site: it?s BS. Never heard of any of his games. They don?t look right, either. WHOIS shows the site was created on Feb. 28 2005, but the ?blog? entries go back to last year. He said he spoke at ?the Conceptual Kitchen? in New York ? Google is silent. The new game is about ?art theft.? It uses the real-life expertise of the folks at, a company that recovers stolen masterpieces. Their website was registered seven days before Virgil Tatum.

(A guy gets so happy sometimes. Then some jerk knocks him down. Phonies. I knew this girl once. She really killed me. I wrote her a postcard. Then it rained and the card got wet. How do you like that!)

As with Holden Caulfield, there’s promise of renewal for James. Sometimes though, honestly, all you can do is let a friend hit bottom. We’re here if you want to talk, J.L.


Comments: 9


“naked except for an iPod.”



‘Househusbands’ of the world really need to sign a petition for Lileks, asking him nicely to make them stop looking bad.


Poor James. Anymore he seems to swing from slightly twitchy lucidity to foam-flecked rage. I think there’s really something wrong with him- maybe years of Star Trek and homemade Indian food are stareting to culminate in his ultimate demise. One morning he’ll mention in passing that he’s pissing blue these days like King George.


Think Duran Duran: “The Five-head is a lonely chi-ild….”


Er, I mean, “stop making them look bad.” Oy.


It is actually an ad for Audi which started at the New York auto show. Google “virgil tatum audi” and you will see the sign from the auto show.

So it looks like Lileks got played by the game that he’s never played. Poor Lileks.

Oh and it is very telling that his first game was Leisure Suit Larry. Heh, that would be interesting, finding out the pundits’ favorite video games.


Today he’s talking about where he’d like to move. (San Francisco, that’s right out! Northwestern mountains? Too unapproachable!) He seems to settle on the desert.

Maybe he’s killed the family and is about to go on the lam.


This guy needs Christopher Titus’s dad to tell him to “STOP BEING A WUSSY!”

I need to get some sleep.


I can’t believe that anyone would be intrigued by Virgil Tatum for more than the fifteen seconds it takes to get to the godawful “screen shots” and “box art” on that site, where it’s obvious it’s a badly put together hoax of some kind.

At that point, the question becomes “why?”, which was when I said “I don’t care”.


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