Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How to win friends and influence people

Believe it or not, I have a reputation among my coworkers for being highly diplomatic. Not so much now that they’ve seen the latest Macleans magazine.

At least I didn’t call him smug. I just called him absurd, ridiculous and desperate. Why do I think I’m not going to be on Canadian Idol executive producer John Brunton’s Christmas card list?

Jaime Weinman's latest article, Nothing More than an Idol Threat?, isn’t online yet, but my boss brought it in to the office today, with all my venomous glory highlighted in yellow. I'll link to it when (if) it's online, but for now here’s my part:
But Diane [LastName], who runs the Canadian TV news site TV-eh.com, says that Brunton’s statement is “absurd” for urging Torontonians to support their own; this implies that voting “should be based on civic pride instead of merit.” She also takes issue with Brunton’s belief that Toronto isn’t getting enough contestants in the mix: “Toronto was left with ‘only’ three of the top 18 spots, which, to get nerdily mathematical about it, is pretty much exactly in line with its population in relation to the rest of Canada.”
Caroline and I talked about this in the TV, Eh? podcast, too. She was definitely more pointed in that discussion than I was. I think it's fair to say I was the more diplomatic one. Anyway, my final quote in Macleans wraps up my thoughts diplomatically:
[Diane] is one of a number of critics who think that Brunton’s complaint was aimed at “invoking civic pride in an obvious attempt to boost ratings.” All that was accomplished, she says, is that “Brunton made himself and the show look ridiculous and desperate.”
Oh. Um, well, as a friend of mine said, “Diplomacy is for the birds. And, I suppose, the diplomats.” And while my coworkers think I'm a diplomat, my friends know that I love to call them on their bullshit. See, I'm being a friend to Brunton.

Weinman makes an interesting argument, so I’ll link if the article eventually makes its way online (gotta say I’m not loving the Macleans.ca redesign or the -- ha! -- timeliness of the site). Oh, it’s also in the July 30 issue if you're into hard copy. He points out that the voting pattern of American and Canadian Idol follows the same trend as the federal elections. Stephen Harper was elected with minimal support in Toronto and other major cities … the cities that don’t watch Canadian Idol, either. “If people outside the big cities can pick who runs the country, why shouldn’t they decide who gets to stand on the stage with Ben Mulroney?”

Of course Brunton got his publicity, and there's still a contestant from Toronto in the top 9, and last week's Canadian Idol episodes were numbers one and five in these summer doldrum ratings. Except in Toronto. There, it had to settle for 7th and 11th spots.