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Monday, March 24, 2003

March 24, 2003

"Hacking" Eudora: For future reference, a complete list of X-Eudora-Settings and all the marvelous, dangerous ways you can use them. (Now, then, can anyone tell me what the "transvestite manager" is and what it is for?)

Crop, crop, crap, crop: I spent a good chunk of my precious weekend downsampling, cropping, leveling and renaming my photos and ephemera from SxSWi. That's about three months earlier than I usually manage to finish that task. Still, with 122 images and a novella worth of recollection writing to do, I wouldn't look for a scrapbook to materialize anytime soon. Meanwhile, no great revelation: I am perhaps the worst photographer on the planet.

Next up against the wall will be Franco-American Spaghettios: The current round of anti-French sentiment in the land is at once sad and embarrassing for our nation. This country was founded by people taking principled yet unpopular stands and now, as a global conflagration threatens to erupt, there are those among us chastising other nations for doing the same. And now, in that way that the American democratic ideal is often carried to its ludicrous extreme, there is apparently an ill-conceived and profoundly stupid movement afoot to send back the Statue of Liberty. Yes, yes, that'll show 'em. Ingrates.

On the other hand, wartime seems to bring out the worst in all of us.

A wonderful reflection: Heather Champ's lovely grassroots effort, The Mirror Project is a fine example of a simple idea embraced by thousands for pure entertainment and art. So when I heard about the modest fundraising drive to purchase a new webserver for the project, I was happy to pony up a few bucks. I encourage you to do the same.

My mug, incidentally, is enshrined in the galleries in several places, and I'm proud to support this fun endeavor. (This year, I have earmarked a tiny portion of my gross income -- a webtithe, if you will -- to give as contributions to Internet-based projects I use, enjoy or otherwise find worthy. Perhaps you'll consider putting aside a modest bit of your means to share around as well.)
March 24, 2003 at 6:57 PM |
Categories: General

Anti-French

As a public relations professional, I am not proud of what I'm about to describe. In my defense, I can only say that war is hell and battle fatigue can sometimes bring out the worst in people. I am only human. I am no exception.

You see, my theatre opened a new comedy last weekend. A French comedy. Typically, I'm able to convince at least a few photographers and television producers that the first night of a production at a major regional theatre is a newsworthy event. Unfortunately, there's another little drama playing out around the world and no one seemed very interested in stopping by on Friday night.

Having worked as a journalist for many years, I understand the judgment that goes into making decisions about coverage allotment, particularly the often complicated and compromising arithmetic required to maximize attention to disparate events while juggling limited resources.

I can also use this understanding for evil. An illustrative example:

I spent Friday afternoon working the phones, vainly trying to drum up anything, anything to give the show a boost. Finally, I called the producer of a local entertainment magazine program who, in turn, transferred me to the assignment editor on duty.

Now, a word about assignment editors. There's a reason they act that way -- surly, I mean, and curt. They are the busiest people in a television newsroom, set upon on every side by people -- people like me, mostly, flacks with something to sell -- demanding their time. They are the air traffic controllers of the boob tube. When you get the ear of an AE, you have just a minute or two to make your case before they're off to the next fire, murder or celebrity gaffe. Seconds count. Guile becomes a tool.

"Jack," I said, "this is our last major production of the season and it would give you some beautiful pictures for Monday's show."

"Look," Jack replied, "all of our feature crews have been assigned to the news division for the foreseeable future. I can't spare a shooter tonight. Sorry."

I try never to put an AE on hold. They are, as I've said, busy people. But Jack is a friend. I can impose, just this once. "Can you hold on one sec?" I ask.

Jack assents and I mash the mute button, yelling to a colleague in the office next door. "Do you suppose there's any chance some anti-French protestors will be showing up for tonight's opening?"

She considers this for a second and then calls back, "I really doubt it but, you know, anything is possible."

I have Jack back on the line a moment later. "I've just learned there's the possibility of an anti-French protest here tonight," I say, more or less honestly.

"I'll schedule a crew," Jack says.

"Thanks," I say. "Curtain's at 8." I hang up the phone.

To my credit, I did not immediately pick it up again and arrange for a few friends to show up with tongue-in-cheek placards denouncing Moliere and his ilk. I may be a flack, but a man has to draw the line somewhere.
March 24, 2003 at 9:45 AM |
Categories: Work It

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