The first glimpse Darrick Robinson provides Warren Ellis's readers of Transmetropolitan antihero Spider Jerusalem is of a hairy recluse (no pun intended; I just realized the brown recluse is a particularly venomous arachnid) forced out of his hermit lifestyle by a major publishing deadline. A few pages into the trade paperback Back on the Street later he is hairless but no less abrasively hyperactive, and you can see the spider tattoo on his scalp, which is pretty much my entire reason for this writeup. I remembered it and thought "damn, that's cool, and so is Spider; I'd better write something about him".

Spider writes the column "I Hate It Here" for The Word, to support his food, media, and drug habits whilst doing research for the long-overdue books whose due dates sent him out of hiding. "I Hate It Here" is pretty much straight-up rant about the warped future world Spider sees through his trademark live shades (sunglasses with mismatched lenses which take a still photo of everything he sees through them every 20 seconds or so). In one particularly awesome sequence, he more or less singlehandedly stops a police brutality riot without knowing it. Perched on the roof of a strip club, being called "fuckhead" by a few of its employees who followed him up out of a combination of boredom and curiosity, Spider sends a non-stop stream of observations on the horrific violence below to his editor, Royce, who has the text of this message broadcast live on the equivalent of a Times Square billboard. City Hall is flooded with calls from outraged citizens, and the cops are called off. Cool.

The idea of having a bio of Your Favorite Journo up here would be laughable if it weren't so critical that you understand how completely unimportant it is. But who is Spider Jerusalem? the cry might come. Who indeed? Who cares? He was supposed to be named Django Heraclites Jerusalem. Does that fact make a single tiny difference in what he is or what he does? It doesn't to me. If it does to you, you're entirely missing the point.

Of course, that's your privilege. Like every other privilege, it can and will be abused.

I hate it here becase I hate most, if not all, of you. The place itself, the City, is my blessing and my curse. I'm alive here. I twist my curious sniffing fingers into its corrupted guts and pull, just to see what's gotten attached to what and who, because I'm compelled to. I have to know who's fucking who, what's gotten grafted onto what, and where the really good genetic designer/chemo-distiller/infopushers have set up shop this week. I'm a fucking journalist, it's in my blood and my spit and my semen. Semen is information, and that's our stock in trade; why do you think the news industry is so fucking incestuous? We're not just fucking, we're smuggling here in the back rooms, dammit.

But why, Spider? I've been asked that. Why, when they try to beat you and kill you? That question, I should point out, makes me laugh harder than I have since Old Boy Smirkbot was found trying to masturbate the Microceph on the White House lawn with a plumber's friend and a bucket of lard. This is because those that ask it couldn't give a rat's ass about me, and it's patently obvious. Nor should they, to be clear. No, they ask it because they want an answer, dressed in lurid tones of sensationalism and vicarious anti-authoritarianism that they've gone too fucking grey in the heart to pull off themselves. Here it is: I do it because I FUCKING HAVE TO.

You people, in the main, don't do it anymore. Somewhere underneath the fount of feces that The System pours over all our heads daily, somewhere hidden in the threads of corruption and slimy guts that I run my hands through in the shivering delight of a mad hack reporter with a half-smoked butt and a worried look on some flack's face is a bright and shiny thread. It's there. They can't kill it, or burn it, or bury it forever; it's always there. The only thing they can do is dump enough crap on top of it to make it ever harder to find and bring out into the light.

We call it Truth, in the Biz, but that's sort of a lie. It's not Truth, really. Truth is something that might not even exist in consensus reality. Let's call it the Real Story, then. What actually happened. The real motives. The real transcript. In that mythical smoke-filled room, someone always fucked up and said what they really meant, somewhere and somewhen; someone always actually suggested and/or supported the truly dumbshit idea that caused all the fucking trouble.

It's after the fact, when it's clear that someone's fucked up, that the shitfountain is invoked to hide it.

Digging through that is why I exist. That moment of finding the thread. Watching their faces crumble when they face the recording, or when they say what they didn't mean to say, or when the evidence is laid before them and they can't hide their reaction enough to make it plain that it's real.

It isn't even about revenge, although some people seem to think it is. No. I'm a bastard and I acknowledge that. I live a step or two ahead of those who want me because I'm a bigger bastard than they are. I thrive to bring them down not by being a bastard, but by showing the world what, exactly, they did or said.

That's why who and what I am isn't important to the story. The story is what's important.

The complete fucking apathy with which the vast majority of the world swallows the river of shit which is used to hide the story? That's why I hate it here.

I'm Spider Jerusalem, and I couldn't give a dead dog's cock about most of you. The truth won't defend itself, though, and bastard or not, it's got me.

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