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.

The Post and Comment Post

You know, I keep writing stuff in here and I'd sort of like to know who is reading it. I know Tom reads it, and leaves comments. I think Bob B reads it but I don't know who else is. So a little test. Tom, you don't have to take it. Well, actually nobody has to take it but if you aren't Tom it would really help me to know if you are out there.

I know some of you don't really play in blogs so let me tell you what to do. At the bottom of this paragraph you will see the word Comments and if you pass your mouse over it you can see that it is a link. If you click on it, it will open another page that is just this one entry on a page. Scroll down to the bottom of that page and you will see "Post a comment." It's a link. Click on it and follow the instructions. it's really simple. It is not any harder than logging into your mailbox, and then you just type your text into the little window. You don't have to say anything very remarkable, just Hi Kia It's me or something. Of course anything remarkable you do find yourself inspired to say will be welcome. Having done it once for the purposes of testing, if you feel like using it for some other purpose -- like, for instance, commenting -- it will make this way more fun for me.

Monday, May 16, 2005



The date on the previous post, Wonderful World, is totally wrong. I had a draft that I had saved for over a month and by the time I got back in here I had lost interest in it and it was out of date. So I just started writing afresh in the same old editing window and so this post is dated April 7, which is chronologically impossible since the blog item I linked to would not be in existence yet, nor would the debate in Kansas that it refers to.

So the proper date for this entry is today's date. If it wasn't one in the morning I would fix it but instead I will go to bed and fix it later in me life.

Maybe I should just never save anything as a draft in here ever again.