Monday, September 19, 2005

Life During Wartime

For almost two decades, I have worked in production. This means that for almost two decades, I've drawn a lot of blank stares and "Ohs" when I tell people what I do. Those of you with "normal" jobs like lawyer, doctor, banker, pimp, talk show host, teacher, fry cook, landscaper, money launderer, socialite, socialist, thief, postman have it soooo easy. People can define you and lock you in to the swamp of an unimaginative mind within a fleeting moment or two.

Me, I've spent my entire professional life with most of my family and friends wondering what the hell it is I really do. And I'm sure this extends to the personal as well, but that's another blog altogether.

Let me help clarify what production work is all about. What I often do is make people, who may or may not deserve such treatment, look far more important than they really are; pretty much exactly what producers did last week with W when they tried, and oh how they tried, to "Karl Rove" him (produce him) into trickin' us slow-witted 'Mericans that he was a Genuine Leader. (Note the former ABCer mentioned in excerpt below)

Of course they failed as miserably as I have been known to do, and The Beleaguered Shrub came off looking like he just stepped out of, clueless as ever, a show at Dollywood.

The fiery Ms. Dowd sums up the ludicrous production value of Mr. Bush's speech to the nation this way:

In a ruined city - still largely without power, stinking with piles of garbage and still 40 percent submerged; where people are foraging in the miasma and muck for food, corpses and the sentimental detritus of their lives; and where unbearably sad stories continue to spill out about hordes of evacuees who lost their homes and patients who died in hospitals without either electricity or rescuers - isn't it rather tasteless, not to mention a waste of energy, to haul in White House generators just to give the president a burnished skin tone and a prettified background?

The slick White House TV production team was trying to salvage W.'s "High Noon" snap with some snazzy Hollywood-style lighting - the same Reaganesque stagecraft they had provided when W. made a prime-time television address from Ellis Island on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

On that occasion, Scott Sforza, a former ABC producer, and Bob DeServi, a former NBC cameraman and a lighting expert, rented three barges of giant Musco lights, the kind used for "Monday Night Football" and Rolling Stones concerts, floated them across New York Harbor and illuminated the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop for Mr. Bush.

Before the presidential address, Mr. DeServi was surveying his handiwork in Jackson Square, crowing to reporters about his cathedral: "Oh, it's heated up. It's going to print loud."

As Elisabeth Bumiller, the White House reporter for The Times, noted in a pool report, the image wizards had put up a large swath of military camouflage netting, held in place by bags of rocks and strung on poles, to hide the president from the deserted and desolate streets of the French Quarter ghost town.

The president is still looking for a gauzy beam of unreality in New Orleans - and in Iraq, where a violent rampage has spiked the three-day death tally to over 200.

Dowd's full column here.

On to North Korea for me and Ms. Dowd! What a team. Think we'll find work in them there camps?


Cathy said...

Maureen Dowd ROCKS.
and what the hell do you do again?

Grayson said...

I'm a soccer mom. Can't you tell?

possum said...

Then why the heck does your profile say you're in agriculture?