A.A. Bondy
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Leaves in the Gutter

For What I Don't Become

The Thick of It
BBC America

Saddest Ghost Lamp

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Good Night Small Screen, I'll See You In My Dreams

Below, my farewell message for the newsletter of the Television Critics Association, a group of, by and large, extraordinarily friendly folks who gather twice a year in L.A. for what can only fairly be described as a series of junkets hosted by the networks. Stars are trotted out, food is served, drinks are drunk, executives are schmoozed. It can be pretty shameless. You see members of the fearless press corps--from actual daily newspapers in relatively large cities--asking celebrities for pictures and autographs, and I once saw a reporter for TV Guide actually pitch a Comedy Central executive on a show, about the time travel and the Civil War, as I recall. Sounded pretty funny.

The members who make it all happen generally fall into two camps--those, like me, who recognize it as a bachanal of publicity for the networks but somehow found themselves there again, year after year, and those who honestly think it's important to ask Paula Abdul how she really feels about Simon Cowell. The upside is face-time and gossip-time with the executives, the downside is everything they say is a transparent lie, and it can be quite tiring to mentally translate their words into the precise opposite of what was actually said. Anyway, here's the (slightly edited) goodbye.

To My (former) Fellow TV Hacks:

It is with great sadness that I announce that I shall no longer be joining you on the Press Tour, as I have contracted a painful case of gout from repeated and prolonged exposure to overcreamed coffee, oversauced food, and overserved liquor twice a year. If I am to avoid the amputation of my big toe--the locus of my gout attacks--my physician tells me that I must remain indoors in my underwear and not talk to anybody all day.

Consequently, I have signed on to be a contributing writer to Radar Magazine, and have left the Chicago Tribune's cozy, nurturing environment for the freelance life.

I expect to be writing about many of the same things--media, etc.--so I hope many of us will continue to stay in touch.

I'll leave you with a quote from a recent New York Times story about a rap-feud shooting outside a Manhattan radio station involving 50 Cent that pretty much sums up the last 20 or so months of my life.

"Investigators were having some trouble piecing together exactly what happened because, according to the official, those involved in the incident were not being truthful."