What a load that is off my mind! The Washington Post's Gene Weingarten picked up 2010 Pulitzer Prize recognition this week for his feature "Fatal Distraction," which was about parents who accidentally leave their kids in the backseat of their cars, resulting in their deaths.
When I first heard the Fatal Distraction line, I mistakenly assumed that Weingarten flipped, taking out a PR person or two because they had the temerity to send him an email pitch that distracted him from his work. What a blessed relief that is not the case!
You remember Gene, don't you? He's the guy who whined about spending the first 15-minutes of the day junking e-mails from PR people pitching books like "Squat-Thrust Your Way to Inner Peace and Firmer Abs," and nonsense such as "kangaroo—themed bunting" only because he can’t seem to get off media contract lists that peg him as a "lifestyle reporter."
In his November 25, 2007 "Don’t Call Us" masterpiece, Geno complained about the "evil entity created by the entwinement” of marketing and PR, an axis that “makes the team of Hitler and Mussolini seem benevolent."
Strong words, indeed.
Weingarten's epic rant did score mucho creativity points on my scorecard. One gem he used to describe the "evil entity" was: "When a sulfurous steaming dish of PR is liberally seasoned with oily globules of marketing, the resulting concoction could nauseate a carrion vulture."
Pure poetry. Take that, PR pros.
That, however, was just a warm-up. Weingarten outdid himself, saying marketing professionals are to PR professionals as Erszebet Bathory, the 16th-century noblewoman who killed her servant girls and bathed in their blood, is to the Gaboon viper. Double touché!
PR people didn't have to do a Google search to find out more about their mascot because helpful Gene informed the world the viper is "a six-foot-long spatulate-headed central African snake with two-inch fangs whose bite causes massive tissue damage, catastrophic internal hemorrhaging, hemorrhagic fever and a slow, shuddering death." Talk about the power of PR!
Hats off to Weingarten on the big Pulitzer win. The PR biz breathes a big sigh of relief that the Pulitzer people awarded him the big prize for the piece warning of the dangers of leaving kids in the back seats of cards, instead of the one that mercilessly hammered PR.
Here's a tip for Gene. Stay out of central Africa. There may be some Gaboon vipers that still hold a grudge against you for comparing them to PR people.