First, some housekeeping: No conventional blog entry tomorrow, but probably something — I’m attending TEDxDetroit all day, and my usual blogging time will be colonized by…something inspiring, I hope. I will admit to skepticism about this event, and fear an all-day pep rally, but what the hell, I guess if it is, no one’s holding me hostage or anything. I expect the hall will be wired and wi-fi’d to a fare-thee-well, so that we can tweet and status-update and blog and all the rest of it. In any event, I’ll have my laptop and will be ready to mojo something, should it become necessary. I’ll also be operating on about five hours of sleep. Better pack some business cards, so I can introduce myself if words fail.
Regarding pep rallies: The wife of a friend worked in sales, for a radio station. Let me stipulate upfront that while I know many of our readers are radio people, or were, my brief time in radio convinced me it was the worst business on earth, or maybe second to sex slavery. Certainly it was the weirdest. I was always meeting someone who gave me hope, followed by 10 social outcasts, weirdos, nitwit provocateurs or other oddballs, who would make me despair. I remind you that both Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, before they were loathsome public figures, were just regular old radio guys, and no doubt fit right in at whatever station employed them. Certainly I met many less-talented or less-ambitious versions of both, and I was only a dabbler. So, that said, my friend’s wife said her station’s main competition started each day with a meeting of the sales-department staff, and that it was always styled as a pep rally.
“They have to clap and cheer every sale, and then they end with a chant: KILL MAGIC! KILL MAGIC!” she said, Magic (or “Majic”) being the station she worked for. I guess the bosses saw it as motivational; they were all men, and this sort of display was imported directly from the locker room or team huddle. I can tell you right now, being asked to participate in a Two Minutes Hate like that would be a dealbreaker. I refer you to observations about the radio business, above. (Public radio being the exception, although nowhere near as much as they’d like to think.)
Did you know that you have to apply to attend a TED conference? Srsly. That right there almost put me off. The original TED requires an invitation and a $6,000 ticket, in fact. Local TED only wanted my Twitter handle, “three links to help us learn more about you,” and a voluntary contribution of $21. Apparently there is a waiting list, so I can say I was at least more desirable as an audience member than someone, although my guess is, knowing a member of the organizing committee didn’t hurt one li’l bit.
Anyway, we’ll see. But since pickings are already slim, let’s skip to the bloggage.
And the MacArthur goes to…Mr. Laura Lippman (and at least occasional reader and once-or-twice commenter here at NN.C). I still get fewer than 1,000 unique visits a day, but as I like to tell people, they’re the right ones. Congratulations, David Simon. If I ever get to Baltimore or New Orleans, YOU are buying.
(I bet Mr. Lippman gets bombarded with invitations to TED conferences.)
In other TED news, today is the 50th anniversary of Ted Williams’ last game. In another month, it will be the 50th anniversary of “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” John Updike’s first and last baseball essay, but maybe the finest one ever written. Charles McGrath pays tribute. Essay here.
Richard Reeves: The Tea Party has it backward.
And now, with papers to grade and stuff to post, I’m off to…pour some more coffee.