gall and gumption

Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Do You Only Date Celebrities...?"

I was not a New Media major at Columbia. I studied (in so far as any "study" was involved) newspaper and magazine writing and reporting. As I think I have mentioned it was mostly a disaster. Such a disaster that the main thing I learned there was that I was probably totally unsuited for a career in magazines or newspapers. So I fell back on what I had before journalism school, which was my PhD in English, and I became a copy editor. A rather overqualified copy editor. I did some freelance work for TV Guide Online. So having taught Montaigne and English Renaissance Poetry and William Faulkner and courses of my own special design in the history of scientific thinking and the history of ideas, I was living in New York and spending days copy editing the text of online celebrity chat sessions. The celebrity interviewee (someone for instance like the wife of King of Queens or some minor character on Star Trek) would answer questions through a mediator who fielded them from an internet chat room specially set up for the purpose and advertised beforehand through the TV Guide site.

I will say that it paid about the same as teaching the works of Donne and Marvell.

"Dear Britneighzilla, do you only date celebrities or would you ever consider going out with a regular guy like me?" Hey! Faint heart never won fair lady, you know. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

"How long does it take you to put on your makeup for the show?"

Well, then that work dried up but I got a full time job in California at the now-extinct Thrive Online, a property that had just been purchased by among others Oprah Winfrey and Gerri Layborne. I was the copy editor. It was a woman's health site. I had vague intimations of something going on outside my cubicle which turned out to be the dot-com boom. People were making money, insane money, all around me, and I was just plodding along editing things like "Is it safe to dye my pubic hair orange?"

To understand what was the nature of the business I was in for the threefold purpose of 1) better chances of not dying of boredom during office meetings and 2) seeing if maybe there wasn't something more interesting and lucrative that I might do and 3) making connections that might help me find my way around the business, I joined Columbia's New Media alumni mailing list.

It was mostly boring. I am sure the phrase "paradigm shift" can be found in more than one place in its archives. They were usually sort of prissy. Predictable positions were taken on pseudo-questions like whether books were becoming obsolete, and these positions were defended with the most uninspired, hack arguments by people who took themselves very very seriously. I didn't post, I just lurked. Read the things as they landed in my mailbox and just hoped I'd be informed at least if I couldn't get entertainment. Then this one writer appeared and I heard a live human voice.

It wasn't this but it sounded like this:

The point I failed to make then, but which was very much present to me, has to do with complexity. I failed to point out that the "emergency management" operation staged in Florida by Bush 2 and, BuddyJesus forbid, 3, was carried out on friendly soil, with a willing population, under optimal communications conditions, overseen by a President and Governor who happen to be brothers, with nearly unlimited resources close at hand, and it was a megabollockian fuckup of the first magnitude. If the Bushes couldn't get this one right, what makes USians conceive that these "leaders" can get anything right in the Middle East?


You know how sometimes you see someone write something you admire and you get tempted to tell them your whole life story? Most of the time it's probably a mistake. it's like "Do you only go out with celebrities?" However, I followed my worse judgment and wrote him at least part of my life story. The journalism fiasco part, which is what it seemed to me at that time. We really haven't stopped writing since then. He told me I should keep a blog.

31 Comments:

At 4:00 PM, Blogger K. said...

Good to hear your voice again. Blame callen; she told me you were active. The greater miracle is that we are yea so old and still so odd. Disbelieve whichever you will, but, yes, I do only date celebrities. They get so angry when I am beautiful. k_kamath@msn.com

 
At 11:14 AM, Blogger lani said...

Dear Kia,
I atarted reading your site this morning.

lani

 
At 11:15 AM, Blogger lani said...

I guess I should check the spelling

 
At 8:29 PM, Blogger Kia said...

Of all people! That Callen, she is in touch with everybody! Nice to hear your voice. Old, odd, infuriatingly beautiful to celebrities, it's all good. Jeez, now I'll have to drop in here more regularly.

 
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