Tuesday, April 26

4/26/05 -- Antipope vs. KITH Sketch Subject II

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

Oops… Now Jose’s done it. Things were going just fine around here. Jose was getting about 1,000 hits a day, he was having a good time writing, you were having a good time reading, skimming or ignoring; everything was great for everyone.

But Jose couldn’t leave well enough alone. Much like George Steinbrenner, he had to tinker, to jostle his product for no reason other than a need to feel like he was doing something. So Jose went and tried to pick a fight with the Boston Globe, which as best Jose understands is a newsletter of some kind.

And now Jose has cost someone her job. Not cool. All Jose has ever wanted to do is make people laugh, kill time, and become the first “Jose Melendez” listed when one googles the name (note: he is), but somewhere along the line he went mad with influence (note: not power… power launches battleships, Jose can’t do that… yet). Much like President Bush’s economic policies and the 2001 Red Sox, Jose started costing people their jobs. And it doesn’t feel good.
Many of you probably saw the final column of Globe Ombudsman Christine Chinlund yesterday. Officially Chinlund said that she resigned because the ombudsman’s chair, much like the Red Sox manger’s chair, comes with a three year maximum stay. It was nice of the Globe to give her a dignified exit like that, but, sadly, Jose knows better. With only three to six enormous leaps of faith and logic one can easily discover that she was, in fact, driven out by enormous pressure from Jose’s People.
How did it all come to this? After the Globe Ombudsman’s office told Jose that they do not review self-published books, Jose did his best impression of Curt Euro and moped and raged and wrote late into the night until the solution became clear – let’s get a whole bunch of people to send emails to the Globe. In addition to being a former relief pitcher and blogger, Jose is a professional organizer, so the idea of organizing a mailing campaign was completely natural to him. After all, in politics there is a saying “One letter is a crackpot, five is a movement, 10 is a crisis.” Jose figured the same probably holds true for periodicals.

Apparently, many of you fine people heeded Jose’s call and sent emails demanding that the Globe explain its sensible and well-conceived discrimination against the crackpots who self-published books. Jose knows for a fact that at least nine of you became part of Jose’s coalition of the willing and if you add those nine emails to Jose’s one, we have ten… crisis city.

Faced with enormous pressure, the Globe sent out a response.

From: ombud@globe.com
To: XXXXX Subject:
Re: Query
Sent: Monday, April 25, 2005 9:54 AM

The Globe's books editor peruses every book that arrives in the office,
and makes judgments about what will be reviewed. There is no formal policy
against self-published books, but authors do themselves no marketing favors in
going that route nationally. The odds are high against self-published
books being reviewed, yes, but the odds are high against most books
generally. We can review about 25 books a week out of the more than 400
that arrive, so we are quite limited in our space.

All we can promise is that we'll examine each book carefully.

Do you hear that? Do you hear that off in the distance? Summertime must be coming, because that sounds like flip flops. Just one week ago the Globe told Jose “Sorry, the Globe does not review self published books.” And now? Now they have “no formal policy against self-published books.” Not only has the Globe flip flopped on whether or not they will review self-published books, but also on the issue of whether “self-published” is hyphenated or not. In both cases the good guys won.

Which brings us back to Ms. Chinlund. Ms. Chinlund was forced out because she forgot that the job of the ombudsman is to represent the people and Jose’s readers are the people. Well, they are people anyway, if not “the people.” Jose is pretty sure none of his readers are chimps, really smart dogs, dolphins or aliens.

So the Ombudsman’s office has learned a lesson: To paraphrase Margaret Mead, never doubt that thoughtless, poorly organized, nominally committed group of citizens can change the world in some small, meaningless way. (Note: maybe next Jose should organize a letter writing campaign to umpire Greg Gibson demanding that he stop being such a jerk). It’s an important lesson.

But Jose has learned a lesson too. If one wants his book reviewed, it helps to send it to the reviewer. Go figure.

For the full KEYS visit www.wallballsingle.com.

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