You'll Never Valet Park in This Town Again
If you've ever attended a Hollywood press event or been wooed by the media relations department of an entertainment firm, then perhaps you share my distrust of how most reporters cover show business. If the word "cover" is taken in the agricultural sense to mean what a bull does to a cow, then typically it's the reporter who gets covered.
For a funny, bittersweet recollection what this beat is like, see Bernard Weinraub's column in Sunday's New York Times. After 14 years writing about the movie, TV, and record industries, Weinraub is stepping down. These quick reflections are not revelatory or earthshaking, but that's why I like them: they offer a human's-eye view. For example, Mr. Weinraub writes:
"Waiting for a valet at the Bel-Air Hotel to bring my company-leased Ford, I once stood beside a journalist turned producer who said, 'I used to drive a car like that.' Though I'm ashamed to say it, I was soon hunting for parking spots near Orso or the Peninsula Hotel to avoid the discomfort of having a valet drive up my leased two-year-old Buick in front of some luncheon companion with a Mercedes."
What I recall are not just my luncheon companions' reactions but also the reactions of the valets. Whenever one of those nice young men would deliver my Honda Accord, I would give him a five-dollar tip and watch the look of pity on his face turn to contempt. A hundred might have helped, but I decided not to try. In those environs, there's no real cure for sagging vehicular status.