Should Media Guy Get Drunk -- or Kill Himself?

Weekly Commentary From the Media Guy

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Letters, as the “Late Show With David Letterman” would say, we get letters—we get stacks and stacks of letters (letters!) Well, actually, next to no letters, but stacks and stacks of e-mail (e-mail!).

Somehow two months have slipped by since the last installment of “Dear Media Guy,” so without further ado, Dear Media Guy II: The Drunk, Self-Loathing Traitor Contemplates Mortality.

Will heads roll at the Magazine Publishers Association for paying Jon Stewart $150,000 to trash magazines in front of advertisers during Advertising Week?
Nope. In fact, in my view, someone at the MPA should get promoted.

There’s so much justifiable self-loathing in the media world that I think there’s a sizeable niche, and a real need, for anti-motivational speakers in our business. Stewart could certainly start up a great little side business doing his S&M shtick at, say, NBC—he could drop by for a lunch session in which he’d berate the clueless programmers and question their sexuality. The geniuses who created Jack FM? Stewart could stop by and throw a cup of hot coffee in their faces (and question their sexuality). And so on.

What is Rupert Murdoch’s grand scheme for Internet domination?
1) Pay more gazillions to buy more cheesy Web sites to supplement the cheesy Web sites already purchased (e.g., TeamXbox and GameSpy) to gain a stranglehold on the 14-year-old-boy market. 2) On Nov. 1 at 11 p.m. EST, simultaneously instruct (via pop-up ads, e-mail blasts and texting), all 14-year-old boys to wait until their parents are asleep and then carefully extract the credit cards from their wallets. 3) Send promised Jessica Alba posters to all the boys who supplied credit-card numbers. 4) Discreetly charge multiple, cryptic micropayments on all credit cards through mid-2006. 5) Use cumulative proceeds in fall 2006 to do a hostile takeover of Christmas, which is henceforce to be rebranded as “Fox’s Christmas: So You Think You Can Celebrate?” 6) Sell advertising space on Baby Jesus’ crib, Nascar-style.

How soon before NBC cancels “Martha Stewart: The Apprentice”?
Hey, lay offa Martha! She’s baking, and hitting SEND, as fast as she can. Right before last week’s episode, for instance, my editor and I both got e-mails that read, in part, “Bake It ‘Til You Make It: Martha instructs candidates to design and bake wedding cakes, then attempt to sell as many cakes as possible at a bridal exposition…” and included lines like “fireworks erupt in the conference room” (oooh!) and “You won’t want to miss a minute of this engaging show” (double oooh!). Martha got our e-mail addresses, it seems, because by chance we both have ordered flowers for loved ones from (in my case, years ago). Next week, our loved ones get personal visits from Martha, wherein she stands at their doorsteps, smiles through clenched teeth, and says, “My show is engaging and has … fireworks … and cakes and stuff. You will watch it.”

What the hell is wrong with you, Media Guy? Are you drunk?
Not yet, but soon—very soon. After I mentioned The New York Times “Metropolitan Diary” in this column, the New York-based writer Marjorie Ingall wrote to tell me about the “Metropolitan Diary” drinking game that she and her husband play. The rules are that you must do a shot each time:

  • privileged children say the darnedest things (do an extra shot if they say them loudly on public transportation)
  • a heartwarming encounter shows that New York really is a small town at heart
  • an elderly poet shares light verse about the weather
  • humor is found in kookily misspelled deli signs
  • homeless people say the darnedest things (do half a shot if darnedest thing is said by a working-class person, such as a doorman or shopgirl)
  • “and then the cabdriver refused to take my money!”

Marjorie adds that the “object of the game is to be three sheets to the wind by the time you finish your morning coffee. It’s not hard to win.”

If your religion doesn’t forbid it, kill yourself. You’re using up oxygen.
That’s an excerpt from an actual e-mail I got from someone at the National Republican Congressional Committee after I criticized President Bush’s ham-handed PR-based response to Hurricane Katrina. (Other people, some of them clearly stoked by conservative bloggers, sent me e-mails saying that it was traitorous to question the president of the United States.) That’s terrific, really terrific. The NRCC is pro-life, but makes an exception—one single, solitary exception—for Media Guy. I’m totally flattered.

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The Media Guy's column appears weekly on and in the print edition of Advertising Age. E-mail him at [email protected]

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