Two things: I do make a decent salary, so perhaps my viewpoint is skewed, but I can't imagine a sum for which I would risk job and reputation. I work in a field where I'm privy to quite a bit of celebrity gossip, and other than the occasional vague "I heard..." with friends, I keep my mouth shut, because I'm paid to do so. Second, missed the chat and didn't get to weigh in on the video itself last week, but in reading the transcript afterwards, I was fascinated that no one picked up what I thought was the most important reason for the public's fascination with the video: Bey and Jay are fanatics about their privacy and curating their images, so this was pretty much on the level of Toto pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz.
"I keep my mouth shut, because I'm paid to do so."
It sounds like you work in a field in which discretion is an ample part of your job. i.e. lawyer, publicist, etc. So if you were to leak something, it could very well be a career ender.
I wonder whether would be different for someone for whom discretion was not such an intrinsic part of the job. i.e. a janitor, who might have seen something, but who hadn't been hired based on secret-keeping skills.
It would have to be enough to retire - couple of million bucks, I'd say. It's pretty safe to say that I will never have access to information valuable enough to meet that test.
So you think...
Not Web related, except that I've used the Internet to learn more about the area...we have a girls weekend coming up in Bloomington/Normal (because the towns are halfway between Chicago and St. Louis). It looks like a cute area, and I'm looking forward to exploring it. Are there any sites or activities you recommend? We're up for anything. Bonus points for quirky and/or historical.
Everyone else can skip right through this self-indulgent answer.
Historical: The Normal Cinema in uptown Normal is a refurbished 1937 Art Deco theater that shows both classic films and modern independent ones, and the concessions are, like, a dollar. It's about a block away from The Garlic Press, the Coffee House, Babbit's used books, and lots of other places that are good for strolling.
If you want fancy-historical more than quirky-historical, go to the David Davis mansion in Bloomington. It was owned by Abraham Lincoln's campaign manager, whom he later named a supreme court justice. It's the fanciest thing we have in Blo-No.
Quirky: You're going to have to trust me on this. Avanti's Italian Restaurant is where everyone from Normal grew up going. Entrees are still 5 or 6 bucks. The bread is amazing. If you don't want to go in and order actual dinner (the food is more about cultural comfort than quality), go to the walk-up counter and order a loaf of bread with a side of marinara and a side of ranch dressing. Just do it.
By the same token, everyone gets ice cream at Carl's. Order a turtle sundae.
Finally: Take a tour at the Beer Nuts factory, or just stop by the gift shop wing for some free samples. We're really proud of our Beer Nuts.
Where are you staying? What do you already have planned? Tell me everything.
It would take a LOT for me. Getting caught would make it pretty hard for me to get rehired in my industry and my skills don't really transfer. So, I'd need enough to pay for my family to live on for a few years while I retrained for a new career and then hopefully enough on top of that to make it worthwhile. Definitely over a million to be worth all of that.
Especially if you really like your current industry. It's one thing if you hate your job and would really like a chance to finance grad school or something. But if you enjoy your job, what's the point of getting a pile of cash that you'd promptly pour into job retraining and survival?
Thanks for taking my question. I was hoping you could throw this one out to the crowd: I've wanted to start a blog for a while now. I'm generally funny - my friends say that if they had to describe me to a stranger they'd say I'm really good at Facebook. Friends share my statuses and many of their friends I don't know have friended me. I even had an ultra messed-up childhood that lends itself to a ton of morbid humor along with eccentricities and neuroses I deal with today. (You'll pardon the pat on the back, but my larger point is that people find me to be engaging. Though I'm not sure the childhood thing is necessarily a pat on the back.) I tell good stories and I tell them well, and I tell many of these stories in emails to friends - but I can't seem to figure out how to write a blog post. I have pretty good ideas but just can't start. All this is extra funny because most of my day job involves writing. I have a blog designed and even purchased a domain name hoping that the bank-breaking $18 would guilt me into writing. I'm not looking for fame or even wide readership, mostly I'm just looking for a place to practice writing my stories outside the context of correspondence. Suggestions?
Why not place then inside the context of correspondence? Set up your blog as if it's a letter to a person -- either a real one ("Dear Mom, this is what my messed-up childhood has led me to") or a fake one: (Dear Future Therapist).
If you're already comfortable telling stories in the written format, then it seems like what you need is a confidence-boost, not a lesson in blog protocol. If you start off using a format you're familiar with, it might make things come more easily.
Chatters? Other thoughts?
It is both smart & dispiriting. If they hadn't run with it, someone else would have and made the profit. It is their cat, after all.
You're right, of course. And man would I be irked if someone else was making money off my cat while I was still the one scooping her litter box.
News Agencies' Online Editors are seemingly unable to help themselves from making little jokes or body-type comments on straightforward or even tragic stories. Are they young and impulsive, or are they going for web clicks?
Is there a story you're thinking about in particular? In general, Brits have a drier and more irreverent sense of humor than Americans do. It's visible in their mainstream newspapers as well as their broadcasts. I don't think it's a sign of youth or click-baiting, it's just a slight cultural difference.
What's your response when you see someone on Facebook bemoaning the demise of the first amendment freedom of speech in connection to the Donald Sterling debacle or the Duck Dynasty comments from a few months back? Do you ever bother to explain what the first amendment actually protects or do you just shake your head and move on? Would it matter if the poster was someone you knew well vs. someone you don't know? It seems that they genuinely believe that the first amendment serves as a free pass to express one's opinions, however vile, without consequences from employers, sponsors, etc.
As with most examples of ignorance online, it's always a good policy to offer a brief counterpoint, i.e. "Hmm. Just a note that the First Amendment means this, not that."
But this is recommended with caveats:
1) Do so in a way that's polite and informative, not belittling or implying that others are idiots for not understanding.
2) Don't do so expecting you're actually going to change people's minds. You probably won't. This is your deposit into the bank of cultural literacy, not the triumphant moment in which you convince everyone else to think like you.
Hi Monica, I'm currently reading Stray and am really enjoying it. I read your chats every week, so I feel like I'm somewhat familiar with who you are (as much as you'll divulge to the public - don't worry, I'm not a stalker!), as if we were maybe casual acquaintances. While reading your book, I find myself connecting certain small details to you, and I wonder if it has affected my experience with the story. It seems clear to me, although maybe I'm wrong, that like many authors, your private world leaks into your stories. Don't get me wrong, I would still enjoy the story if I had never heard of you, but I wonder if I like the book more because I am more familiar with who you are. The details I recognize make it feel like you are part of this story, whereas they would just be random details if I didn't know anything about you. This isn't necessarily a criticism, just something I've noticed. Has this ever happened to you with other books you've read? Have other regular chat readers or colleagues had the same experience while reading your book?
Thanks for the nice compliment. Other chatters might have better answers than me on this question. I can't think of a novel that I've read by someone I already knew. Most times it works the other way -- I read a novel, I like it, I reach out to the writer to tell them I liked it, and we strike up an acquaintanceship that way. So the first time, I read the novel, I don't know anything about the author and don't have any biographical stuff to compare it to.
But if you think you're seeing my personal details in Stray, you're right: The character of Julian is loosely based on my brother, the town he lives in is based on Normal where I grew up, and the farm house where Genevieve lives (I'm not spoiling anything, am I?) is laid out like my grandparents' farm house.
It's helpful to have a hook, even if it's only tangentially related to your subjects. Maybe a "moral of the story" headline or a "word of the day/week/whatever" that is the launching point for your story.
This is why the 300 Sandwiches blog was so successful. In addition to just being a crazy concept -- woman thinks boyfriend will propose if she makes him 300 sandwiches -- it's also an easily digestible one: Each entry will focus on a different sandwich. Each entry will include a recipe, but will also include a little more about the circumstances in which the sandwich was made. Repeat 300 times.
The writing in that blog wasn't so great. But the format was easy to understand and kept readers coming back (Plus, the dude finally proposed after, what 257 sandwiches?)
Glad someone mentioned this! I've been trying to establish an events-based blog with a calendar (think Going Out Guide, but with a calendar in addition to blog posts, and very focused on events in my industry), but I am overwhelmed by the number of blog platforms and have no idea how to figure out which one is calendar-friendly...any tips?
I'll throw this out there, too, to see if anyone here happens to know of a calendar-friendly platform.
Whenever I consider ethical issues, I run through a couple questions first: is it mine? (If I find a wallet on the street, it's pretty clear that it's not mine, so the money isn't mine, either. On the other hand, finding money someone dropped--no way to get it back to the owner, so it might as well be mine.) How much is my integrity worth? (If it's a question of self-preservation, then I'll sell my integrity. If it's a clerk giving me too much change, it's not worth the cost of my integrity.)
Thanks. It's pretty amazing how many people seem to think that the money in a found wallet is fair game -- though they would never dream of using a found credit card.
I would accept an amount equal to 2-3x my current salary (or a little higher) plus about $20,000 for indulging in some fancy toys. I'm using the salary figure because I imagine that if I did that I might have trouble finding work in a similar field until my notoriety faded. Also, I coined a phrase this week I was pretty proud of: someone was getting in the way of some good news that came my way - raining on my parade, basically - and I texted a friend, "I'm gonna Solange him so I can Beyonce again."
Okay, I get that "Solange him" means, "karate chop him (preferably in an elevator)" but what does "Beyonce again" mean? "Go back to having awesome hair and lots of money?"
I have a very guilty conscience, so I think I'd need to feel there was some sort of ethical reason to pass it on. For example, if there was abusive behavior that was being covered up by others and I felt I could help others by exposing it. The Solange/Jay Z tape wouldn't meet that criteria; the Donald Sterling tape would.
If you're doing it for ethical reasons, would you still take money? Is the conscience enough, or does the conscience also need a few thousand dollars?
Maybe I'm cynical, but doesn't the video look kind of staged? You've got at least 3 separate camera angles, all of which give the optimum view of the action. One is a grainy "security camera" shot; another is a less-grainy shot of the other side of the driveway, and the third is .... a close-up of the second shot without any impinging fence-line or other distractions. It just seems to pat to me. Your thoughts?
What seemed a little weird to me was that a house in what appeared to be a generic middle class suburban neighborhood would have security cameras to begin with.
But that dog really did seem to be dragging the kid by his bare leg. And that kid really did appear to have serious puncture wounds from the attack. Do you think those are faked too? If they're not, the only explanation is that the parents would have intentionally had a dog attack their child so they could film it. And I really don't want to believe that.
If I was the parent and I could find a way fully fund the kid's college costs, I would jump on it even if what I was doing was somewhat tacky and fame seeking.
Believe me, if there was a similar incident in my childhood, I would have fully encouraged the parental units to use it for college money.
Apropos of a million chats ago: I finished Moby Dick.
I once had a roommate who was indiscreet with her boyfriend on her desk after work hours. A janitor observed them and spread the news--with no name, but enough detail for people to know it was her. My roommate was disciplined for inappropriate behavior on premises at night. The janitor was fired for telling tales. This happened at PEPCO in the late 80s or early 90s.
Well, this is just an instance where nobody wins.
I usually just drop this link (if on Facebook):
Thanks. I'd seen this but forgotten about it.
I wouldn't sell it for any sum. Just from an ethical standpoint, going that far is too scummy for me - betrayal of my workplace's trust in me, public betrayal of a family's expected privacy. It's not worth it to me to feel like a jerk every time I'd think of one of the parties I'd wronged. Or, gad, the ensuing lifetime of disapproval from my mom. That being said, my morals would NOT be strong enough to refrain from gossiping about it for the rest of my life at every party whenever the topic of discussion turned to "Celebrity Sightings" or "Crazy Stuff I Witnessed at My Job."
So you wouldn't sell the Solange video. But you would say, "You'll never believe what I saw Solange do in an elevator on my job."
And then, sooner or later, when someone heard the story who worked for TMZ or Extra and asked you about it...would you affirm that it was true, but refuse to show them the video? Or would you say, "I don't know what you're talking about, that never happened."
to be dry? I have a general idea, but I don't think I could put it into words.
Subtle. Deadpan. Sneaky -- some people won't even realize you're being funny. It doesn't necessarily go hand in hand with being irreverent, but I often think dry and irreverent end up together.
"Put him in his place so I can Single Ladies/Independent Woman/Irreplaceable myself again." Go back to being confident and awesome, more or less.
Well, yeah, the gossip part... I mean, a 90s MTV VeeJay slugged me at a party one time because she thought I was coming on to her husband (I wasn't, I even checked with my own husband just to make sure I wasn't giving off vibes), and I dined off that story for MONTHS.
Just be honest. Was it Kennedy?
A co-worker told me that during the Sochi Olympics, a reporter showed up to record the protests. He was told by the police that all protests were being held in the official Free Speech Area. The reporter went to the Free Speech Area, which was miles from Sochi. There was nobody there but a handful of police. So the reporter started protesting, and the police told him to stop it.
A friend in Bakersfield wrote the following in response to my cynicism (I hadn't thought about it this way till it was pointed out to me): "These are not rich people. Money generated by Tara is going into a special account for Jeremy's future college education. Jeremy and Tara both threw out the 1st pitch for the Bakersfield Blaze baseball team, and later this week or next they will throw out the 1st puck for the Bakersfield Condors who are now in their division finals. Tara's home is still a media event with camera and news crews from all over the world. An agent was hired to handle all of the media and merchandising offers, so Jeremy's dad can return to work without worrying about his family's safety."
Okay. I get it. But..."worrying about his family's safety?" Safety from what? From the dog? I'm pretty sure the dog is not a threat any more. From the media? The media wouldn't be around if the family didn't keep doing public appearances and interviews.
I'm not saying they don't deserve to make money from it. I'm saying that your friend's logic is cyclical. You can't say, "Poor family, the family needs an agent because the public won't leave them alone," when, in fact, the family is doing everything they can to make sure the public doesn't leave them alone.
I was a volunteer in a news organization once (not an intern, a volunteer). I got sent to a press breakfast once, and was able to talk to a person who is pretty famous now (less so backthen). In getting him to explain what we needed to do to book him on our show, I learned some minimal personal information. I still don't tell anyone about it. I think he should be able to keep his darn privacy. Perhaps my feelings about it are influenced by the information having no commercial value (over a decade ago he wanted to do an interview on this day for this reason), but I suppose it has a little social value since it proves I actually talked to him for a bit. Still wouldn't use it, even though I have mentioned that I met him once. The private stuff I learned as an attorney I don't even hint at. Never. Not at all. Even the fact that the person was a client of the firm is private information.
As a person who has not-infrequently interviewed celebrities, and who has a sibling whose job involves booking people for shows, I cannot possibly imagine what kind of personal information you would have learned about this celebrity through this process that would be a) Not already known to all of his fans or b) Necessary to book him on the show. It's not like journalists ask for blood types and paternity tests.
Well, it was broadcast as a segment on either The Daily Show or the Colbert Report, so it did happen.
Unless there was a public need to know, like finding out about a coverup, or catching a hypocritical politician in the act, I would be reluctant to spread such a video. I think that people, even highly paid celebrities, have the right to a bad day without it being splashed all over world.
Some local farmer hit viral video fame last year with a video of one of their baby goats. I remember talking to the wife some time later about how it was both cool and overwhelming and even a little scary (people threating to steal the goat, etc.) They tried to enjoy the ride as much as they could. Made a little money off of it, although they donated a lot to our local shelter and other animal causes. She was honestly relieved when the whole thing cooled off and they could go back to raising dairy goats and making cheese. I remember her saying she was glad it was a goat and not a child in the video because navigating the whole viral video thing with a kid involved would be far more fraught and stressful.
I'm going to post a few more of these without comment.
Depends on the offense. I mean, if we're talking child porn or slave trade, it must be done job or no job, money or no money. But if the harm is more indirect, then yes, the conscience would like a few thousand - or hundred thousand - for living expenses while I found a new job.
I don't have a problem with capitalizing on it (Tara did more to deserve it than Grumpy Cat or Henri have done), but I was astonished to see the family haul the poor cat into a noisy baseball stadium to "throw" the first pitch. That would be terrifying to a cat! Leave her at home and let the kid throw the ball (as he did anyway). Sheesh!
...the language was amazing. I didn't use Cliffsnotes or anything, but I wish I had because I'm sure I would have had a deeper understanding. I will re-read at some point and do that. I also wish I had read it with a pen so I could mark all the phrases and passages that I especially enjoyed. Something else for next time!
Congratulations on finishing it! I'm overdue for another reading myself.
Hello. You all may not remember me. I am the person who some time ago innocently asked whether pants could be cleaned by placing them in the freezer. I honestly did not know the answer. I tried it and did not really notice much difference. I remember a number of you called me names which I shall overlook. So, what do you think now that the CEO of Levi's stated you should never wash your jeans but you should place them into bags and put the bag into a freezer?
For those of you who have been regulars to the chat for a long time, you will remember that there was a period of several weeks a few years back in which we were plagued by jeans freezing questions every single chat. It got weird. It got really weird. This was around the same time that someone would additionally write in every week to ask questions about whether women liked to be spanked.
At any right. Yes. The Levi's CEO recently stated that jeans could be frozen, not washed. Here is a link to an in-depth Vox.com article about why that advice doesn't work. They called the appropriate bacteria experts and asked the right questions. I now consider this matter closed.
Oh, if I knew I was being interviewed for print, I wouldn't comment. But I don't think anyone WOULD approach me - I've dabbled in the entertainment world just enough to know that there are always amazing tales circulated that have no way of being confirmed, and half or more of them are probably false or exaggerated, but they make for more interesting parties. At a certain point, it turns into a game of telephone. I was one of the lucky recipients of a celebrity anecdote known among its spreaders as "The Story." It's one of the most hilarious things I've ever heard and there's absolutely no evidence for it, but it brings joy to all who hear it, and so I pass it on. But that's less malicious than creating a kind of mythology about the public figures we see every day. It reminds me of being back in school and sharing theories/snippets of info on our teachers' personal lives.
Now we all want to know The Story. Can it be repeated? Without names? With identifying details changed?
and maybe you wouldn't consider the information private. That is a distinct possibility. But I do think it is private. Guessable, but private. At this point he is much too respected for it to hurt him, but still private. I'll keep it quiet.
Ah, okay. I'm going to guess that maybe this is a sexual orientation-type thing, and leave it at that.
Thanks for your suggestion of "Don't Cheat. Don't Die". (I was looking for marriage / divorce advice a few weeks back.) It was a good read and helpful!
Ha -- I think you mean, "No Cheating, No Dying," but somehow "Don't Cheat. Don't Die" seems even more to the point.
I'm glad you enjoyed it. What did you find helpful?
Now this, I never would have forwarded on. It was a careless mistake, but one that any jobseeker could make, and I felt bad that it was spread everywhere.
...reminded me of the Balloon Boy incident. Remember that?
Who could forget? You had to feel bad for a kid growing up in that family.
Man1: Pardon me, Miss. Man2: What do you mean, Miss? Man1: I am sorry. I have a cold.
Ba dum bum.
Think of personal assistants, housekeepers, etc. They probably know very intimate details about someone's life, yet do not disclose any of it because that would be career suicide. The payoff would have to be big enough to be set for life (unless they can get a book deal!)
Probably a good reason why so many celebrities employ siblings/cousins/childhood friends as personal assistants. You want someone for whom there will be a history, and a larger reason for loyalty than just a paycheck.
Like a knight tasked to guard a holy relic, I am sworn to share this upon request that it may be preserved for future generations, so yes. The Story, which was told to me by a friend of a friend who claims his production-assistant friend directly witnessed it (of course), supposedly occurred on the set of a movie starring Christopher Walken. The crew called for a break midway through the day, but instead of joining them for a meal, Walken decided to take a little walk to the side of a lake near where they were filming. There, he stripped down to his skivvies, waded deep into the water, and proceeded to stay there for the entirety of the break, with only his nose, eyes and spiky hair visible over the surface of the water. When the break was over, he waded out, dried off with a towel handed to him, and dressed himself, speaking to no one. When pressed, he offered only this explanation, the most beautiful and perfect sentence ever spoken throughout the history of human civilization: (staring off into the distance) "For lunch... I was an alligator."
Oh, this is a DELIGHTFUL story. And perfectly appropriate to pass on, because it doesn't make one look askance at Christopher Walken. Rather, it so perfectly encapsulates Walken-ness that it probably makes listeners like him a little more.
Smart and dispiriting. I was so sad to hear that the the person who made up Bandersnatch Cummerbund for Benedict Cumberbatch during Lisa's former chat didn't make a cent when it went viral. That nickname had been on the chat for months!
And really, after you've come up with Bandersnatch Cummerbund, you're probably tapped out. You're not going to be able to do any better than that, ever, for the rest of your life.
Thank you for taking my jeans freezing posting. I do apologize as I never meant to create whatever insaneness that followed way back then. It was one of the things I read on the Internet so I thought I would ask if anyone knew it was true before I tried it and perhaps could have ruined my pants or looked like an idiot for doing it. It seems for weeks afterwards it sparked all kinds of unusal responses. I did try it. It did seem to remove smells so it does work. Of course, you still need to wash them to get stains out, as far as I know. I think I have learned that an innocent question can bring out all kinds of responses.
THIS MATTER IS CLOSED.
The media complaining about Facebook complaining about Vox:
Thanks. This is good.
If it's a money-making viral bomb, it's probably a once-in-a-lifetime event, so sell, sell, sell! You'll kick yourself if you don't. If you feel bad later, you can console yourself with a pair of toasty fabric-softened washed jeans straight from the dryer.
I'm glad we have at least one Gordon Gekko in here.
Truth be told, whatever money I could've made from copyrighting "Bandersnatch Cummerbund" probably wouldn't have been worth all the time that would've been involved in pursuing marketing it; I have work I truly love, and this would've felt like a chore. Guess I should've hired an attorney to handle it, for a cut of the profits, huh?
It would have changed you. You would have gotten gobs of money, and started wondering who your real friends were, and whether someone was recording you in an elevator. It would have ended in tears.
but I can't help myself. Freezing does NOT kill most bacteria; it merely slows (or halts) bacterial growth. If you put dirty jeans in the freezer, you pull dirty jeans out of the freezer.
OH MY WORD, DID YOU EVEN READ THE LINK TO THE ARTICLE I POSTED? IT HAS ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED.
This is exactly what happened last time. Stop. Writing. In. About. Freezing. Your. Jeans.
There's actually a YouTube video on this and a few links on Google...apparently it's already urban legend.
It's ridiculous. I am a dyed-in-the-wool cat lover. You know what that cat was doing? Dive-bombing the dog that was on its driveway. Pure feline territorialism. I would wager that the kid was just in the way. I'm sorry to be cynical, but cat behavior is often quite standard and is routinely self-involved. The cat was defending its turf, sure, but I'll bet she's aggressive and has had run-ins with that dog before when the dog stepped into the cat's yard.
You know, that's what I thought, but I wasn't going to be the one to say it and get in the way of a heartwarming anecdote.
I would capitalize on the 15 minutes of fame and save a chunk of bucks for my kid, considering he was the one who was hurt. But I would also donate a chunk to a cat charity, for all of those potential hero cats that need to find a home.
A magnanimous solution for all. And an end to the chat. I'll be here next week, though "here" might actually be an out-of-state coffee shop. Online, at any rate. See you then. GSTQ.