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Friday, December 7, 2012

Yellers I Have Known: Skinheads, Dori Monson, and Bart Sher

Posted by on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 12:30 PM

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This year, to raise money for Northwest Harvest, current and former Stranger staffers are telling stories about times people have called us up to shout at us.

Maybe because this is Seattle, and maybe because I mostly write about arts, but I don't tend to get yelled at. The worst I get is usually a stern whining.

But there have been a few yellers over the years. The first (that I remember) was from Pacific Northwest Ballet, just months (or maybe weeks) after I got hired as the theater editor. I'd written a tiny calendar item about the ballet's annual Nutcracker, saying it was designed by Maurice Sendak and choreographed by Colonel Gaddafi. It was a total whim—not a commentary on PNB or North Africa or anything—but the p.r. person at the time was pissed and called me up during an editorial meeting. The receptionist explained what it was about over our phone-intercom. I was about to say I'd call her back but Dan Savage, my new boss, lit up with impish glee and said he'd take the call—while the entire staff was sitting around listening.

I turned red with shame and despair. This was my death knell. I'd be fired as soon as the call was over.

Dan picked up the phone and had a brief conversation. I don't remember what he said, but I remember him grinning through the whole thing and saying something like: "You hear a 'smile in my voice' because it's ridiculous—it's a joke." He hung up, told me (again, in front of everyone) that it was fine, and that if I wasn't pissing people off I wasn't doing my job.

I consider that my Stranger christening. (That, and getting spanked by Mistress Matisse in her dungeon for a story.)

A few more yellers after the jump.

It costs only 67 cents to feed a family of three a meal through Northwest Harvest. As of this morning, Slog has raised $5,137. Which is good, but we can do better! Let's give more, more, MORE! GIVE TO NORTHWEST HARVEST NOW and send us your commenter handle along with your receipt, and we'll set you up with a SWASHBUCKING HERO badge.

* People mad about the Hell Houses Halloween story, which included skinhead death threats over email and on the phone, and a stupid radio "interview" with shouty goofball Dori Monson.

* People who continue to be angry at me for writing about local anarchists and political vandalism in any tone other than sputtering indignation.

* Here's a yelling voicemail I still keep around: "Hey you little fucking dick, I wanna fucking eat shit out of your poophole, I wanna fuck you so fucking hard, nah but it's [incomprehensible]. Call me at 1-800-GO FUCK YOURSELF, biiiiiiitch! And I like it in the ass." I'm not sure which story the caller was referring to.

* Director Bart Sher once called me from Europe, where he was directing an opera, to yell at me about perceived slights in this article I'd written about Sheila Daniels when she was hired at Intiman. (A position she left soon thereafter). The conversation started off angry but ended up nice and friendly. That's my favorite kind of yeller—one who's pissed off at the moment but isn't welded to his pissed-offedness, and is happy to move on once things get talked out.

 

Comments (4) RSS

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1
You *were* rather red-cheeked on that occasion, Brendan. Both before, and after... But you were a trooper, and such a delight to me. I'd never spanked anyone purely for journalism!
Posted by Mistress Matisse on December 7, 2012 at 12:43 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 2
ha ha...perverse glee; that's SO Dan! ...I say as if he were my best friend and that we talk all the time and that he attends tea parties with my cat and teddy bear. But that would be crazy...
Posted by ArtBasketSara on December 7, 2012 at 12:48 PM · Report this
merry 3
Ok! Gave yesterday afternoon in honor of phone shouters everywhere!

Still waiting to buckle my swash........
Posted by merry on December 7, 2012 at 1:23 PM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 4
@1: Mistress Matisse! I miss your column. Hope you are well.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on December 7, 2012 at 4:02 PM · Report this

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