Monthly Archives: January 2017

Dear Esteemed Colleagues: Please, Shut the Fuck Up

 

I just watched the umpteenth interview with an apoplectic reporter proclaiming the sky was falling (or, as I call it, Chicken Littling) after the latest rumor to circulate from the Trump administration: that he may deport all press to the Executive Office Building next door to the White House.

To hear them, you’d think Trump had just cut the ribbon on a new Gulag for journalists (that’s not due to be completed till 2018. He says the New York Times will pay for it.).

But, as is our tradition will all things Interweb-related, we swine don’t recognize the pearls we wear.

It wouldn’t be the first time. We began our professional descent when we charged for the print version of news, but not the electronic. The porn industry alone should have been a red flag lesson that giving your product away for free is a rickety business model.

Then we didn’t protect the title “social media,”  and even recognized it as an actual thing. It isn’t. The reason you don’t hear about “social surgeons” and “social pilots” is because the medical and aviation industries would sue infringers faster than an Uber training video (13 minutes on YouTube).

Now we are losing our collective wits over the possible eviction, as well as word that Trump may communicate with the press the way he communicates with the public (and, apparently, staff): In 140 characters or less.

To which I say this: Please be true.

Any reporter who has spent more than 4 minutes behind a notepad knows the truth about news conferences: They never contain news. They are simply a cliche delivery system for athletes, celebrities and politicians offering different riffs on the same tune: One Game at a Time, My Fellow Americans, It’s Just an Honor Being Nominated.

By comparison, Twitter is mana from heaven.

Consider his post-Nov. 8 tweets: He blasted Republican lawmakers as pussies, ripped Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance on The Apprentice, publicly described the CIA and FBI as rife with rubes, hailed a dictator as cunning and, perhaps most egregiously, called Meryl Streep overrated.

Imagine if Obama — or any previous president — said any of those in a news conference. We’d be tripping over each other to get to the computer to file the story first.

Now it’s delivered directly to our phones. As soon as Senators and Representatives see it. The only lag time a reporter faces when writing a Trump-tweet story is how fast the writer can type.

The president’s tweets even create stories where none would have existed. In one missive, he wrote that a nemesis’ actions were “unpresidented.” Had that been a press conference, reporters would have unwittingly corrected the error, assuming that if Trump knew how to say the word, he knew how to spell it.

And we would never have gotten the opportunity to write: “Sorry, Donny, there’s no such word as ‘unpresidented.’ Or even ‘unpresidential,’ despite all evidence to the contrary.” And if you do need a talking head, you have the always-entertaining Kellyanne Conway, whose face looks like it was crushed by another horse’s face.

Finally, follow Fourth Estaters: What makes you think that the threat is any more feasible than, say, draining the swamp or making America great again? Trump would never reject the media; he lives to be in it. We complete him.

To quote our new precedent: Sad!

 

 

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Yea Tho I Walk Through the Valley of San Bernardino

(photo by Michelle Brown)

True story.

I awoke with some trepidation on Inauguration Day. Perhaps I’d heard ‘bigly’ too often, or feared that Vladimir Putin would do the s(w)earing-in. Whatever the reason, I wondered if a nuclear winter would greet me that morning.

But when I wobbled into the shower and looked out the window, I discovered the world still existed. Not only existed, but was going about its business unperturbed. Rains fell steadily, bringing with them soothing white noise and quenching the state’s drought of six years.

Then the sun broke through, briefly, brilliantly reminding me why we all live here.

And I thought, ‘Maybe I am looking at this whole election thing from the wrong perspective. Maybe I should actually try practicing what I preach. To see glasses half full. To truly appreciate what I can hold, for it’s always fleeting. If we can survive Friday, who’s to say we won’t survive Monday, Tuesday, and the days that follow?

Then I realize:

Shit, I misread the calendar.

Inauguration Day is tommorow.

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A Verse in the Powerful Play

 

Hey Sam,

Happy Birthday! Well, ours, at least.

It was 17 years ago today we met, shortly after your motorcycle accident.

I can’t tell you how sad your mom was then, or how tough it was deciding to have your organs harvested. She argued with your dad over it. But her years as a nurse in a hospital burn unit convinced her to have you help save my life.

Which you did. As did she. And I think about you both every day, particularly around this time of year.

How is life in the cloud circuit? If he hasn’t already found you, be on the lookout for my dad. After the transplant, he found out how you died — and lived. Even went to your house in Fargo simply to see the home that housed the saviors of his son.

Big guy. Salt and pepper hair. Always losing his glasses. Probably punched the boss simply for being a goddamned phony. 

And please keep an eye out for my dog, Teddy. He traveled North last year. 

You can adopt him if you like. I know you’re as crazy about dogs as I. You’d love him. He truly wouldn’t know a mean bone if he were conked on the head with it. Tell him Esme misses him terribly. 

But be aware: He’ll eat your wallet. And if you have to curb your dog in heaven, you’re gonna need a couple bags for the poop during walks.

Well, that’s it from points South. I wasn’t really sure what to get you for our birthday. But I think I found just the present.

My beating heart.

 

 

 

 

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