Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I'm Jamal, I'm your waiter and I also act

Somewhere in the Los Angeles metropolitan area today, in a large conference room booked by someone's admin, there is an AAR -- After-Action Review -- going on. There are those giant Post-It note pads on easels, a shitload of Starbucks coffees, and a "facilitator" who says this isn't about blame (yes it is).

A couple dozen people with some version of my Day Job (most of whom have "Participate in X number of AARs" on their development plan) are sitting around in crappy conference-room chairs, feeling simultaneously murderous and skin-shreddingly bored. The facilitated conversation is halting at first; no one really wants to admit error or be the first to point the finger, since it'll come back on them fivefold, but enough gets said that there are some notes on the giant Post-Its at least, and the facilitator allows the introduction of What We Could Do Better Next Time.

Now some jackass who is probably a lot like my boss decides this is the moment to be bold. Seizing that moment like the daring, radical innovator he is, he acts like he has just come up with the notion of "incorporating more user-generated content" into the Oscar broadcast so that "viewers can really engage with the material," "have a stake in the outcomes," and "join the conversation."

He's like the reincarnation of Steve Motherhumping Jobs, this guy. His idea will be to have presenters and/or the host(s) read viewers' -- no, "home participants'" -- Tweets and Facebook posts live on air. This, he says, will help make Oscar "relevant," "buzzworthy," and "trend-leading."

Sensing the approval of more senior types (who know that the kids love their social medias), people in the room will glom onto this. Ideas will blast forth like wine: a Twitter crawl in the bottom of the screen! A viewer contest on Facebook for a new "Fan Favorite" category, to be decided by the number of Facebook "like"s! (Can we get Bob to reach out to our contacts at Facebook and Twitter so we can start having some conversations around that? We don't want to lose momentum, and we'll need executive buy-in.) The phrase "tell our story" will come up, more than once.

When the FB/Twit thing starts to dry up, there will be talk about Oscar's "brand," and how to "celebrate and incorporate our heritage," but not overemphasize the fact that your great-grandma could've been Douglas Fairbanks's side piece at the first one. We really need to "leverage" that 85 years of "iconic glamour" without "looking backward" too much. There will be suggestions for "dream hosts," ways to "sharpen the edge" and "create a more youthful profile." Eventually this will "circle back" to social media, because that is how Millennials "engage with content" nowadays; they don't like to just hear who the nominees are and which ones won. They don't, in fact, want to be told anything -- they want their voice to be heard* , and they like it to be in a social way, with their friends, and we need to recognize that and meet them "in their own space."

After this meeting has exhausted every minute of its three-hour running time, there will be a PowerPoint deck sent around, summarizing all the major and minor bullet points, and people will be "tasked with" various "action items," upon which they will all "report out" in the coming weeks, when they will begin to "have those conversations around" their progress on said action items. A year from now, this is why you will be seeing "alot" of idiotic, incomprehensible shit involving @ symbols, hashtags, the number "2" and the letter "u" trundling along underneath Clooney's face as they cut to him for the hundredth time because he's the closest thing we've got to an old-school movie icon anymore (and besides the last time they cut to Bieber he was picking his nose lololol!!!1!!).

This is how it works, America. You're welcome.

*No matter how painfully uninformed and vapid that voice is.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Remember the one with Charlie Sheen on the cover, waist-deep in a swimming pool, and in the article it became clear he was kind of a dick?

Oh, Sassy!!!

Scans! of the actual pages and covers! The Internets have finally invented a wayback machine that works!

God you guys, this new tumblr is KILLING me. Anybody who wants to know what the little basic nuggets of my heart and mind are made of, how my personality was formed, what is the secret ingredient in the essence that is my humanity -- read it. Sassy came to me at a most crucial, vulnerable time in my life, and it could not have been more important to me at that time. I mean -- oh Shatner just go read these.


PS: Berwie: Remember that ski trip we went on with your dad that time, and we took like thirty Sassys for cabin downtime reading? That was awesome.

PPS: Other reasons it was awesome: 1)Your dad bought us drinks once -- ice cream drinks with about a thimbleful of Bailey's or something, after we badgered him for like TWO HOURS and he was finally all OK GODDAMMIT NOW YOU KIDS SHUT UP. 2)You kept stopping us on the mountain to smoke. I am sure we looked pretty cool to all the hot guys, and the only reason they just passed us by without a word was that we were too cool for them and they knew it.

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Oh, you've had plenny a honeymoons. Ya have one ever' time you meet a boy.

I used to read all the Dear Abbys and whatnot in the newspapers at my grandmother's house every Sunday, sprawled all over the living room floor (on the carpet so awful it was capable of hiding a dead wasp which stung me when I put my wrist down on it once), and there is one letter & response from sometime around 1986 which haunts me still.

The husband, for once, writes in. He says his wife of 26 years has in the past few months started to wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt to bed instead of nightgowns; in the morning, she hops out of bed early, puts on a bra without taking the sweatshirt off,* and announces some variation of, "Ta-da! Now I'm already dressed!" He says she tells him it's all about convenience and getting a start on her day -- so much to do! so little time for dilly-dallying with the wardrobe! -- but he wonders, plaintively, if she's really just avoiding having sex with him.

Dear Abby replies: "Yes. She's avoiding having sex with you." Like seriously, that's the first line of the response. Flat out. Abby goes on to say all this completely sad and horrifying stuff about how sometimes women just lose interest in sex generally, or have hormonal issues (maybe it's menopause! or cancer!), or perhaps the wife feels old and fat and doesn't think he's really interested so she's heading it off at the pass, but in any case he should try to communicate more with her and get to the heart of the issue. Good advice, to communicate more, but I remember thinking several things at once:

1) Oh god, that's horrible! You can just LOSE INTEREST in sex?

2) Men want sex. Women don't. [this feels wrong but my culture reinforces it and here's Dear Abby saying it so it must be true]

3) Maybe she's just not interested in sex with YOU, ya ever think of that?

4) Ugh, sweatpants. Kill me now if I ever start wearing those.

Anyway. You're welcome, Internets!

*Every one of you who is a girl who once passed through the seventh grade in a school which required "dressing out" for PE knows how to do this.

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