CSotD: My Creative Career

Reading Alex requires you to recognize the strict compliance requirements in the British workplace, but this one works anywhere because the IRS similarly allows you to write off business lunches, including alcoholic beverages, but with rules, including that things not get too “lavish and expensive.”

Being able to write off a large, expensive bottle of wine for a modest corkage fee is a lovely dodge, while the joke here is that white collar workers can get completely smashed at lunch while, if one of their workers slipped a pint of Jack into his dinner pail, he’d be fired on the spot.

These gags make me chuckle, but also wince at how often we’d go out for lunch in my advertising days, either with a client or just together, and have three or four of whatever we were drinking.

We’d go back to the office but we’d be utterly useless the rest of the day, plus we shouldn’t have driven ourselves back there in the first place.

Which, BTW, brings us back to that nonsense about people wasting work time playing with their March Madness brackets mentioned here the other day.

Rank sure has its privileges.

At the other end of the power balance, Megan Herbert reveals the nasty truth about life as a “creative.”

I just read that term in an article about layoffs, that someone was going to be laying off “creatives” and it just struck me as a good excuse to punch somebody in a suit.

There are all sorts of people whose work is creative and part of the issue is that you don’t respect that kind of creativity and the other part of the issue is that you don’t respect the kind of creativity you mean by “creatives” either.

If you think an artist is someone who makes fabulous paintings and wears a beret and hangs out in bistros with Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley, bear in mind that Jake was writing for overseas newspapers, which is only marginally creative, and Lady Brett Ashley’s job was being Lady Brett Ashley, which is a whole other way of being creative.

Towards the end of my efforts as a freelance writer, I met a woman who sold Lincolns, and realized she put as much effort as I did into marketing and selling and staying in touch with potential clients and so forth and so on. The difference was that she got a whole lot more money when she sold a new town car than I did when I sold brochure copy for a singles apartment.

In fact, she made a whole lot more money when she sold a pre-owned town car than I did for anything I “creatively” put together.

That’s no reason to stop trying to be an artist or writer or other “creative,” but it’s a good reason to get over yourself, get rid of that stupid hat and stop pouring Barefoot wine into your bota.

And this: When they shot the movie version of The Sun Also Rises, they cast Errol Flynn as Brett’s past-his-prime alcoholic roué of a fiancé. It was towards the end of his colorful career and, by that stage, qualified as type casting. See “Alex,” above.

Or see these guys, below:

Existential Comics explains it all. In my mind, the orangutan speaks in the voice of Eddie Izzard imitating James Mason, but however he says it, he’s right.

As Thomas Aquinas wrote, “We are all prisoners here, of our own device.”

(I sure hope Don Henley isn’t reading this.)

And speaking of legal jeopardy, Monty (AMS) has been a private eye this week and he does a lovely job of recycling every cliche in the genre.

Though, of course, he’s joking about comic collecting being boring. Please keep reading my blog. I don’t want to have to go sell Lincolns.

Anyway, as Banx tells us, there are other ways — and faster ways — of going broke besides becoming a “creative.”

I’m not sure about today’s Edison Lee (KFS), because by coincidence a couple of major newspaper chains announced yesterday that they’re no longer going to use Associated Press material. Or as much of it.

On the surface, this means Gannett newsrooms around the country will share stories, giving the chain domestic coverage, while they will use Reuters for international news.

Fair enough, if you trust them to really plow those savings back into their newsrooms, which in turn depends on how long ago you fell off the turnip truck.

But don’t panic. That linked story quotes the AP’s reporter:

So we’ll still get that great horserace coverage that does so much to avoid informing voters, and we won’t have to worry that someone will write that a prisoner was held “in lieu of bail” because “in lieu of” is a forbidden phrase.

Magazines have style rules so that, for instance, every story in Cosmo sounds exactly the same, with a cheery, up-beat “you can do it!” flavor. It’s a way of branding.

Newspaper style is the opposite: It’s a system of regulating word choice, spelling and punctuation so that every newspaper story is sufficiently flat and flavorless enough to qualify as gen-u-wine journalistic news.

No more Mark Twain. No more Damon Runyon. No more Mike Royko.

Too undisciplined. Too unprofessional.

No wonder people are turning to the dancing cat for information.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Pardon My Planet — KFS

The Barn — Creators

One factor in the dominance of male cartoonists is a lot of cartoons about greedy ex-wives, and Vic Lee’s suggestion that it starts with the diamond is a combination of misogyny and realism. A lot of modern couples skip that not-so-ancient tradition, because it’s meaningless and because student loans are already sufficient to keep them from buying a house.

Meanwhile, women genuinely have changed country music, which these days is a lot more Kenny Chesney than Hank Williams and which pops up in dental offices rather than dark, seedy bars. The term “dental office music” tells the whole story.

But when I think of clueless men blundering their way through romance, I go back to Classic Country and the single most pathetic, self-loathing song ever recorded.

This is a brilliant depiction of a broken-hearted guy with a few drinks under his belt but obviously without a clue and certainly without a chance.

8 thoughts on “CSotD: My Creative Career

  1. In my previous life as a commercial photographer, I quickly learned to only schedule creative go-sees in the morning. I took my portfolio to a high-profile art director one Friday afternoon – he was 90 minutes late, and reeking of booze. As he was looking through my book of tearsheets, he passed out on the desk. I just packed up and left.

  2. Gannett (and McClatchy) dropping most of AP combined with last week’s report that Gannett (and others) are using “pink slime” sites for some of their coverage does not bode well for local news. From Nieman Lab:
    “The largest newspaper chain in the United States has an ongoing business relationship with a company linked to a sprawling network of over a thousand ‘pink slime’ publications — sites that profess to be local but have no local staff and do not disclose funding they’ve received from political sources.”

  3. Seeing the “The Barn” comic I was expecting the song to be “You Never Even Call Me By My Name”

  4. The dominance of men, not just in cartooning but in the entertainment industry as a whole, has certainly led to a LOT of “Women! m i rite folks?” over the years. It’s gotten pre-tty old.

    And that monkey is right, we are all slaves to the machine. Our freedom is only an illusion.

  5. As a musician for decades in a previous life, we knew that to be true ‘country western’ it couldn’t have more than three guitar chords and the lyrics had to be limited to the mandated five story lines of country music involving pick-up trucks, dogs, bars and women breaking the singer’s heart. (0h, and tuning the guitar was always optional)

  6. Headline in today’s paper “2 of 5 School Levies Fail.” By the skills I long ago learned about headline writing “3 of 5 School Levies Pass” would take up exactly the same space. But no reason to impart good news in today’s world.

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