Friday, April 6, 2007

Everyday, People Blow My Mind

Today was more than a little interesting.

I got to spend my morning at the home of Paul and Cecile Andrews bemoaning the increasingly sterile, anxiety-ridden, mono-culture that is the American white middle-class, and discussing how creating a counterculture of conviviality and community is the alliterative answer to all our ills.

Cecile recently published Slow in Beautiful: new visions of community, leisure, and joie de vivre. She'll be the keynote at our annual breakfast next October.

Doing these interviews and getting free books is one of the perks of my job. It doesn't make up for the absence of a retirement plan, but it helps.

Apparently, I'm not in this life for the money.

I was at Real Change for maybe half an hour when Huan Hsu, the reporter from the Seattle Weekly that I posted about yesterday called me back.

I answered his handful of questions. No. We don't make our vendors pay us for their turf. No. The turf system doesn't create division and tensions. It eases them and makes it possible for 250 vendors to share the city without killing each other. Yes. We support vendors moving on when they want to. No. We don't make them stop selling the paper when they succeed.

And then he told me this was the first time he'd gotten mail before a story ran, and that he saw my blog post from yesterday.

This was a big day for Apesma's Lament. The normally sleepy blog that I started about six weeks ago had around 350 visitors today, which is around ten times what's normal.

Two different journalism friends independently offered to set Hsu up with fake leads, make him look stupid, and hopefully ruin his career.

I had no idea journalists could be so evil. I asked them to please not go there.

Another local journalism luminary whose name you'd all recognize took the occasion to significantly increase his giving to Real Change.


Several other writer friends bemoaned the invasion of the pod people, and offered various strategic perspectives.

Which was also fun.

And our friends at The Stranger, the only other newspaper in town besides Real Change, mentioned that this made them even more glad to be our friends.

So, when Huan Hsu called, I was feeling that odd mixture of benevolence and cockiness that comes from knowing that one's back is covered.

He said that there wasn't much to quibble with in my version of events, other than that he did ask to take photos during orientation, which is probably true. My bad.

My staff only said that his taking pictures was annoying. The not asking part was my inference.

I explained that I saw a story very much like his do The Big Issue London some serious damage around ten years back, and that I wanted to be in front of it. "I don't do 'victim' very well," I said.

Huan wasn't real happy about getting beat up over a story that wasn't written yet, but we found common ground. We agreed that he'll write whatever it is that he is going to write, and that the ball is in his court.

I'm perfectly happy to have my predictions of snarky attack journalism disproved, and thereby be made to appear somewhat paranoid and dyspeptic.

"Boy," I'll say, "what was I thinking?"

"I need to get more sleep."

Follow the thread to the Singularly Bizarre Pre-emptive Diatribe.

1 comment:

Stephany said...

Wow. I wonder who gave Huan that assignment. Maybe they should do a cover story on Sunday brunches or hangover remedies instead.