I’ll be honest, I hate meeting new people. First, of course, I’ve seen enough of humanity to know that widening my circle of aquiantances is unadvisable. The deep end of the gene pool is largely empty and the shallow end’s been pissed in. But beyond my general dislike of people is the uncomfortable moment that infests every bit of small talk.
“What do you do for a living?”
It’s not that I’m ashamed to be a humor blogger. Quite the opposite, given the number of people who don’t get to do what they enjoy in their lives. It’s the lack of respect I get from people I don’t like in the first place that really turns me off. Often as not, when I tell people what I do, I get this reaction:
“You’re a humor blogger? Okay, make me laugh.”
I used to have a standard comeback for that. “What do YOU do for a living? Okay, blah, blah, blah for me.” That backfired the time I ran across an insurance salesman and I said, “Okay, sell me some insurance.” Which he spent the next six months trying to do. It was even worse the time I had this exchange:
“What do YOU do for a living?”
“I’m a sex therapist.”
“Okay, why don’t, um, why don’t you, um…how is, uh, how is that working out for you?”
The fact is, of course, that anyone in the arts (or whatever the hell I call what I’m doing here) get very little respect in general. People will seem to be fascinated and maybe in a way they are; the way someone gets fascinated by looking at a car crash and wondering, “How does a thing like that actually happen?” The fact is, of course, they tend to view artists as differently-abled at best and a drain on society at worst. I seriously wonder if some of these people would meet George Clooney and say, “Great film. Love everything you’ve done. But, uh, you’re going to give this up eventually, right? I mean, you’d be a hell of a stockbroker.”
Being in the blogosphere, of course, doesn’t help matters at all. Once upon a time, the notion of being a journalist was perfectly respectable. Well, maybe not respectable, since images of going through people’s trash and hounding them at their most vulnerable moments went along with the word “journalist”, but it was least considered credible. The rise of the internet and the self-appointed journalist (AKA the Drudgeosphere) has worked to wipe away that credibility. Writing an opinion is one thing. Even yahoo moron opinions are, in the end, just that. A waste of someone’s time, but hey, you clicked on the article. Caveat Emptor. But the internet has suddenly given rise to “journalists” who are journalists in the same way that a guy selling stolen TVs out of the trunk of his car is in the entertainment industry. I know a guy who works at a sports-related website, serviing as the beat reporter for the Minnesota Vikings. While certainly an avid football fan, the guy possesses no degree in journalism and doesn’t work full time for the website (he sells insurance.) When asked, he will freely admit that he doesn’t know anyone in the Vikings’ front office, coaching staff or current active roster. And if he attempted to enter the Vikings’ complex at Winter Park, he’d be immediately shown the door. When asked how he qualifies as a beat writer, he says, “I gather information and write what I see.” Translated, that means he reads articles on the internet, listens to sports talk radio, watches Vikings’ games and bangs out articles while enjoying his weekend joint. This, of course, passes for the New Journalism.
Frankly, I think I’ll just tell people I’m an insurance salesman and be done with it.