Saturday, February 12

Why Reporters Are Hard-Drinking in All the Old Movies

I can tell you from experience why, in all the old-school Hollywood "reporter flicks", the editors are all "crusty" and everyone is "hard-drinking."

It's not just the booze, its the stress-relaxation arbitrage--that exreme transition from that moment of maximum stress that coalesces around a deadline, followed immediately by the blissful rush of that Bushmill's Irish whiskey hitting your bloodstream.

Deadline stress is a booze multiplier. That whiskey feels like the hand of God forgiving you all your sins and handing you your pass to Heaven's country club.

We had a nice chat-fest at the Fraunces Tavern last night to celebrate our new reporter coming on and to introduce her around. The lady had got settled in, we got her some paper, pencils and a working computer--not without some hassle--and then quietly studied and poked and probed and had three good pitches by the end of her second full day. This was an optimal result.

We also had a happy announcement yesterday that will relieve some of the pressure. Can say no more, embargoed.

Brought the Neuz along to meet the gang as well. Afterwards we headed to the Ulysses, a Joycean bar in the shadow of the Goldman Sachs Death Star Bldg., for an intimate tete-a-tete. Out by the Bloomberg bucket--where the smokers have to congregate in the bitter cold--this inquisitive lady in a red coat and exuding a hipster vibe--turns out she's MTV corporate communications by day, Batgirl striking a blow for truth and justice by night--told me I reminded her of Rip Torn and then informed she was there researching a book on "corporate bullshit" that he had already sold the proposal for. Sat down and interviewed us. I, being a habitual contrarian, commenced to lecture her drunkenly on the contary assumption that I have to make everyday in my job--that a lot of people who buy into the "corporate bullshit" do it because they love their jobs and want desperately to make maximum use of their personal creative powers to further a cause larger than themselves. They're the true professionals that would do it even without the big bucks, like that crazy Russian database analyst I met at that high-yield bond research department I worked in once. I was feeling sentimentally drunk, I guess, but it's true, or true often enough that you'll never get people in the industry to talk to you unless you give them the benefit of the doubt from the start. That old canard about the corporate masses being smug, sinecure-seeking zombies sleepwalking through futile lives? There's that element to it, Lord knows, but the fact is that most people have a real emotional commitment to what they do. Hell, our receptionist at work is practically the second command in the company because she actually cares about being friendly and helpful, and gets a kick out of knowing everything and everyone that you can't find in our--kind of clunky and useless--corporate directory.

Neuza, of course, after a few Harps, thought the whole thing was a ploy to get next to my luscious, manly gringo curves and looked ready to bust some of the nastier moves she learned playing soccer with our hardass friends of the lesbucada down there in S�o Paulo. Don't mess with girls raised on cacha�a, syncretic Afro-Catholicism, the lambada and punk rock in a city where the rich have to live in armed compounds and drive around in armored Sububans--if they can't afford a helicopter, that is. Tragedy was averted, we sucked a couple dozen bluepoints and a slab of mid-rare beef and I managed to steer my amorous Brazilian bride in the direction of the IRT and home.

2 Comments:

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4/10/2006 09:23:00 pm  
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4/11/2006 04:57:00 am  

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