Wednesday, June 14, 2017

LA Weakly


      Reports began filtering in this week about  a story in the “LA Weekly” featuring Idyllwild and comparing our Idyll-Beast to “Big Foot.” I did receive a call from a man who identified himself as “Drew Tewksbury” and claimed to be a reporter (“managing editor”) for this publication. I suspected a hoax: I was not familiar with the paper and the disrespectful tenor of his questions (“Is that you in the costume? Where did you get the costume?” etc) made me question his credentials. A perusal of the “LA Weekly” website revealed a normal looking masthead, but a few cautions, including a claim to have received a Pulitzer Prize… for restaurant reviews.
      “Drew” further stirred my skepticism when he revealed that on his first visit to Idyllwild he had come with the intention of stealing an Idyll-Beast crossing sign from the side of the highway. The signs proved elusive, being primarily posted on quiet residential streets, and those that have been posted on the highway have not lasted long. Stealing them is an idea which apparently occurs to many “Larcenous Americans”.
      He did manage to talk to Steve Moulton, which is most likely where he picked up the “David Jerome in a fur suit” theory. He apparently failed to notice that the Beast crossing signs are available at Steve’s “Idyll-Beast Research Center Museum and Gift Shoppe” in a variety of sizes. So much for journalistic acumen or integrity.
      The story, not surprisingly, contains a number of inaccuracies and errors, and also demonstrates the lamentable tendency of the press to mangle or even make up quotes to fit the “flow” of the their “style.” The assertion that Steve and I “hatched” the Idyll-Beast shows a lack of knowledge of mammalian biology. The semi-clever conflation of separate statements created the unfortunate and awkward quotation “Never give the Idyll-Beast liquor and karaoke.” 
     Another funny thing: He asked me about my other job and I told him I am known (or unknown) as “the unknown Jerome,” and that I play out in local spots four times every weekend. He changed this to “…a classically trained guitar teacher by day…” Where does he get these things … recycling wikipedia pages?  It isn’t untrue specifically, just one of those wordings I’ve seen when people start making things up. Or larding up the sentences for the sake of “style.” I imagine the writer scrtching his head...“It sure would be nice to have a day/night thing…let’s see; by day a... let’s make it as mild mannered as possible…. let’s see, pastry chef? Too exciting. Fashion designer? No, no,…classically trained guitarist… no guitar teacher. Take out the matter of performance altogether. Ah, the smooth surface of narrative woven from the tangled stream of cliches…. yes, droll, that’s the effect I’m after."
     I could go on, but I believe I have made my point. Although the only bad press is no press, and he did spell my name right, the media, mainstream or otherwise, should always be taken with a grain of salt. Until I actually see “Drew” I must label the evidence inconclusive.