Anonymity ain’t what it used to be.
Used to be you could mouth off in the cheap sheets about a mediocre musician who hasn’t had a hit in twenty years. Not in 2013. Artists have access to the internet too and they will drive their Lexus to your local dive bar and hold you accountable!
Why would someone who sold 30 million records care what a TV station blogger says? Then on Sunday I got this email:
No explanation for why you write that I’m “shameless?” You act pretty tough sitting alone in your little room behind your laptop.
If you’d written you hated my music, that’s cool. Like I could give a shit. But saying I’m “shameless” calls into question my character and integrity.
This is my hometown…where my kids live…where my mother lives…and this will not stand with me.
Would you say that to my face? Let’s find out. I’ll meet you anywhere in the city, any time. I don’t travel again until the end of the week. Let’s hash this out like men.
Never heard of you in my life before, but between various columnist/radio friends and an array of people at NBC, I now know plenty about you. You don’t know anything about me. But you’re about to.
This isn’t going away.
I called my editor.
“I’ve been getting emails from some guy who says he’s Richard Marx,” I said. “I think it’s an impostor. The only thing that makes me think it might really be Richard Marx is that it’s from an AOL account.”
My editor had been a waiter at a pizzeria in Lake Bluff, where Richard Marx ate with his family.
“He was a terrible tipper and a real douche,” my editor said. “We used to argue about who had to serve him. His wife is taller than he is.”
And of course, what happens if Weather Underground organizers offer to cook a dinner for a local charity? Conservative bloggers buy the seats:
There was a little “Buy Instantly” button on our dinner item that someone could select for $2,500, which seemed absurdly high. But in early December TV celebrity and conservative bad boy Tucker Carlson clicked his mouse, and we were his.
I loved it immediately. Surely he had some frat boy prank up his sleeve—a kind of smug and superior practical joke or an ad hominem put-down—but so what? We’d just raised more for the Public Square in one bid than anyone thought would be raised from the entire auction. We won!
Well, not so fast—this did mean we had to prepare dinner for Carlson plus five, and that could become messy. But, maybe it wouldn’t, and anyway, we argued, it’s just a couple of distasteful hours at most, and, then bingo! Cash the check.