Four conversations

Conversation with my son just now:

“There’s a man in my sack with the corn.” He says this while holding a corn-filled heating bag.

“The man in the sack said ‘everyone attack’ and he’s sitting in the sack with your corn?” I ask. The kid does not get the Ballroom Blitz reference and moves on.

“Yeah, there’s a man in the sack. I cut him up. His head and his feet. They’re in the sack with the corn.” The kid looks as angelic as the day he was born. On neither that day nor this one did I hear Ave Satani in the background.

“Well, that’s sort of strange,” I say.

The kid doesn’t blink. “Yeah, it’s strange.” And he goes walking off with his sack, which may or may not have a dismembered guy in it.


Conversation with the media

Last week, the TV station I used to work for ran this story in the first block of news at 11pm. If you don’t have time to click through, it’s about a car vs. deer wreck.

Yeah. Complete with repeated images of the dead deer hanging out of the windshield of the car.

This is quote from the story is about the lady who was injured in the wreck. It pretty much sums up how classy my old haunt has become.

Cardell Lindsay, said, “They were saying she was real bloody, but they think most of that blood came off that deer because that deer came through the windshield. He’s dead. I seen him.”

Five years ago, the deer story never would’ve made it to a photographer’s tape, let alone on the air…let alone on the air for a full minute and half with “Exclusive” stamped on it.

Exclusive? Really?

For most people who read across the country, this may seem par for the course. This particular station, though, was long considered to be protected from and above the FOXification of America. It was a bastion of real news. Now, it’s running “Exclusive” stories about something that happens every day. And they are showing pictures of dead animals on TV.

What sucks is, I know the guy who had to produce the story. He came along after I left, but I’ve met him since and I think he’s a helluva good reporter and a nice guy. I can only guess he was forced to do the story. I can only hope, anyway. The station used to be managed by people who respected their viewership as much as they respected the profession of journalism. Now, it is the same station that recently ran a series titled, “Are You Too Fat For Your Car?” and has semi-regular reports on the status of Britney Spears’ collapse.

Hell, it’s like watching someone you love die in the hospital. It’s sad, sick, and painful. I still have many friends there who I’m sure wish they were able to do the kind of work they did a few years ago. My hope for them is the station’s ownership realizes what they’ve done to what was once one of the most respected local news stations in the country.

Or, if I need to speak a langauge that might be understood…

“Journalism at that station is dying. I seen it.”


A conversation with security

I hate the fucking circus. I really do. I only go because I don’t want my kid killing some guy and putting him in a sack full of corn because I didn’t take him to see the elephants.

The only good thing about the circus, as far as I’m concerned, is it is great fodder for my Flickr account. My buddy CC bought me a Flickr PRO account recently and I was looking for more good material. So, as I have for the past three years, I walked up to our local arena with one of my Nikons hanging from my shoulder.

At the door, several security guys were half-heartedly wanding the crowd. Had I wanted, I could’ve smuggled a kilo of blow, a machete, and a howitzer in my pants.

“Is that a detachable lens?” the security guy asked.

I was already a little cranky anyway. I’ve been on the wagon for a week and work is a little stressful. All I wanted was to have a nice afternoon with my family and maybe get one or two good pictures.

“Yeah, it is.”

I knew what was coming at that moment. I remembered the same conversation playing out at the World Series of Poker. There, the exclusive media provider (read: we pay money to be the only people allowed to properly cover this event) established a rule that forbade cameras with detachable lenses.

“I’ve never had a problem with this before,” I told the security guy.

“Every circus is different,” the guy shrugged. “You can walk it back to your car or we can have someone escort you guest services.”

My car was less than five minutes away, but I couldn’t resist actually being escorted by security to make sure I didn’t get my 18-70mm lens in any clown’s face.

To his credit, my escort was a really nice guy who tried to make me feel better about the entire thing. “It’s a copyright thing,” he said while steam rose off my forehead.

I wanted badly to launch into a PETA rant about abused elephants and how the tigers should eat the ringmaster. Instead, I took a valet ticket that read “#285” and watched the show without taking any pictures.

I hate the fucking circus. More.


A conversation with you

About fifteen months ago, for lack of something better to do–and because I was very excited about the day–I live blogged the whole of election day. At first it was just a way to keep myself occupied. Eventually, it became a conversation with you. After more than 14 hours of live blogging, the post had 113 comments and was a great conversation to boot.

Super Tuesday is going to be another one of those days. I’m going to be fabulously preoccupied with the goings-on around America and I’m planning to live blog the day. If any of you folks would like to join me, the comments will be open.

See you then.

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Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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6 Responses

  1. I giggled out loud (a lot) as I read this post. Thanks!

  2. What is the issue with the camera lens? How is that a security risk?

  3. I like the new heading here at this site.

  4. StB…not a security issue. Copyright protection and circuses inherent fear of the media.

  5. As for Super Tuesday…..

    As an outsider looking in, I truly look forward to it now.

    As for the A-Lister……

    Isn’t comment correction an automatic demotion?

    As for,”the man in the sack.” Hopefully, this too shall pass. Maybe he’s watching the wrong news station?


  6. Let me see here; body parts stuck in corn bags, critiquing a story, haggling with (and losing to) security, & all-day election coverage.

    Hmmmmmmm….Is that my old and dirty photog vest I smell or is someone jonesin’ for the big story?