Who is Newton Bigelow?

Newton Bigelow is a fictional character I made up in 2000. He was an expatriate writer living in Madrid who writes essays about American politics with a jaundiced eye. His persona was meant to be a combination of writers like Gore Vidal, H.L. Mencken and Hunter S. Thompson. At one point, newtonbigelow.com was a fake fansite for my fake writer. It included real writing though. Newton Bigelow was a contributor to a very fine site called Newspoetry.com, which sadly no longer exists.

I wanted him to have some distinctive feature that set him apart from other people. He was always meant to be an outsider, looking in at society through the window with a cynically disapproving expression on his face. I wanted some outer feature that marked his separation from the rest of us. I decided to invent for him a mysterious “condition” that required him to wear red bottle-glass shades at all times.

Here is what he looked like, as imagined by me and Photoshop:

Newton Bigelow in Madrid

The red glasses stuck. I’ve redesigned this website many times, and I’ve always used some variation on Bigelow’s red specs as a graphical element.

I haven’t written much as Newton Bigelow for quite a while now, but I still hold on to the domain name for nostalgic reasons. It also scores a lot higher on a Google search than “Robert Porter”. After all, how many Newton Bigelows do you know?