Sunday, March 6, 2011

Introducing Morton Veritas

Morton Veritas is a writer and activist. I created him as a mouthpiece for a lot of social and political concerns I have. He will post links to information, books, etc., dealing with issues like big pharmaceutical power, human rights, and other social justice matters.

Morton was born in Dayton, Ohio and now lives in Reno, Nevada with his beloved, Kandy. He is a neighbor of Burn Richards and they sometimes visit at the nearby diner. Morton chooses to live in Reno at this time because it is the right combination of atmosphere, nature, particular/particulate culture, urban/rural, quiet/active. He lives at the edge of town, near a really nice park. He finds it conducive to writing. He is working on a novel about the timeless psychology of social interaction in American society.

For financial support he has published several mystery novels series under the pen name Dexter Michelin. Inspired by mystery series I see in the library, based on cooking, scrapbooking, tea, cats, dogs, fashion, and even yoga, with punny names, they are based on various themes. For example, his car series features a mechanic named Jason Hammer, who solves murder mysteries in such titles as Brake Failure, Jumpy Start, Axel Break, and Dead Battery. In his tree mysteries, (co-written by Kandy Livingston) arborist Judy Bentley finds out who dunnit in Out On a Limb, The Crotch of Doom, Roots of Evil, Autumn Leaves, Weeping Willow, and Cherry Blossom Special.

Morton really disdains this work, but needs the income.

He begins a series of mysteries based on a male nurse character, and while doing research begins to discover the reach of the pharmaceutical industry, and how entwined it is in our daily lives. He learns of how many health problems are caused by pharmaceuticals (liver damage caused by a pill taken for foot fungus, brain damage caused by drugs for mental illness, etc) and how the rights of people with mental illness are abused. He cannot go into depth on this topic in his mystery books because his publisher would never allow it: it wouldn't sell. So Morton assumes another pen name, "Terence Hatchett," and writes a science fiction thriller, in the vein of Brave New World and 1984, that goes into great detail on the subject.

* * * *

I took the photo to the right in color, converted to black and white, then increased the contrast. That made my hair turn black and all the whiskers, Adam's apple shading, etc. meld somehow to look real (to me). The mouth/teeth thing is what really gets me and makes me crack up so much because he looks so real. I didn't do anything cosmetic to my teeth but somehow the pose in the first picture, plus the manipulation of contrast created this heavy smoker look. In fact, I accidentally took the picture--it's from my built in computer camera and I was looking at the bottom of the screen, trying to navigate or something, so I wasn't even in character--the others are stills from video shot of me acting as Morton Veritas.

When I was getting into character, I couldn't find my makeup. So I wet my hair with water and used cocoa powder to create the eyebrows, furrow between eyebrows, mustache, stubble, and Adam's apple.

Morton and his beloved Kandy.
Kandy Livingston is another story altogether.

A screen grab of video footage showing me getting out of costume and character.

What Morton and I carry in our pocket 
(from Mao II by Don DeLillo):

What people are saying bout Morton (actually, my friends' comments when I e-mail them the picture, or they "friend" Morton on Facebook):

"I think everyone knows a Morton! Its a little scary--like the guy you dread leaving messages on your answering machine...he reminds me of an acquaintance of {my husband's]...poor soul."

"Actually, the upper part of the face (forehead to mid of nose, i.e. what I could see before scrolling down) looks a whole lot like [a friend] after 20 years of heroin abuse. What is Morton up to? Is he a detective? a poet? How was he born?"

"(but i'm a little frightened of Morton...does he have bad breath?"