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The Society for the Preservation of Mike

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[Oct. 28th, 2006|04:42 pm]
The Society for the Preservation of Mike


Mike and the Minneapolis memorial gathering are covered on the front page of this morning's St. Paul Pioneer Press.

[User Picture]From: pameladean
2006-10-28 05:28 pm (UTC)
It's very kind and good-natured, but oy.

Gosh darn it, do you suppose that if we had only called ourselves the Scribblers, he would have joined us? I'd have called us any damn thing for that.

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[User Picture]From: laurel
2006-10-29 02:33 pm (UTC)
I agree that it's a very kind and good-natured piece, the errors are annoying, but those things happen. They drove kaustin nuts and this led to a discussion here about how pretty much every article about something you know well ends up with errors like this; it certainly does make one take newspaper articles with a good hunk o' salt.

Still. Nice piece and very cool that it made the front page (we went and tracked down a paper to see). It amused me somehow that the book cover they pictured was the one for How Much For Just The Planet.

It should make some folks seek out Mike's work who may not have heard of him before.
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[User Picture]From: jonquil
2006-10-28 06:07 pm (UTC)
That frustrates me -- it makes him sound like a tragic failure overall. (The brilliance is repeatedly acknowledged; it's the overall tone that gets me, and I may be overreacting.)
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[User Picture]From: elisem
2006-10-30 12:07 am (UTC)
I think you probably are. One of the basic facts of Mike's life is that he was rich in fans but poor in money, because his sales were never huge. Other people helped out, fed him, clothed him -- and were pleased and honored to be able to do so, because he was our brilliant Mike, darn it! -- but he never achieved commercial success. And yeah, that can feel very unfair, but do remember the part about "rich in fans." And Mike has great fans. Really does.
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[User Picture]From: abostick59
2006-10-28 07:31 pm (UTC)
Remember the scene in The Crying of Lot 49 when Oedipa Maas's radio-newsman husband deliberately distorted her name when he reported about her, supposedly so that the distortion inherent in the media would undistort it?
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[User Picture]From: pnh
2006-10-29 01:04 pm (UTC)

Re: Since when did the press ever get things right?

> And where did they get the information about his
> childhood years? His Aunt?

Much of it was stuff people knew already. A couple of details came from information provided by his aunt. There are errors. Neither the Scribblies nor the "Scribblers" rented Mike an apartment. Mike didn't coin the term "cyberpunk." ("Poor Bruce Bethke," Juan Ladwig observed when he read that.) But the error ratio isn't notably worse than the average newspaper article. The reason it's a cliche to say that "newspapers are the first draft of history" is that it's true.

> Curious, and not what I knew.

If you have better biographical information, this would be a great place to post it. Mike was reticent about some periods of his life with even his closest friends.

> Who IS this Tad guy?

He's a reporter for the Pioneer Press who got wind of the story and thought it might be interesting enough to follow up on. He also went to bat with his editors to get it onto the front page.

> Who told the press?

What is this, the third degree? Mike was a public figure. The Pioneer Press reporter contacted Elise, who recruited other friends to talk to him as well. (A particularly good thing since Elise currently has laryngitis and literally can't talk.) Is that okay with you?
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[User Picture]From: mjlayman
2006-10-29 07:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Since when did the press ever get things right?

What the heck is up with you?
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[User Picture]From: gypsy1969
2006-10-29 10:31 pm (UTC)

Re: Since when did the press ever get things right?

Sorry, it wasn't meant as the third degree, I'm just a curious person that's all. I'm ADD and ask whatever is on my mind. I am much better than I used to be really, but I was tired and hadn't had my nap when I made that comment that you found so disconcerting.
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[User Picture]From: elisem
2006-10-30 12:17 am (UTC)

Re: Since when did the press ever get things right?


I TOLD THE PRESS. Or, rather, had Greg Ketter tell them for me, because I couldn't talk. It was pointed out to me by some longtime fans of Mike that there had not yet been an obituary run in the local papers, and that this should be rectified. A guy should get a notice, at the very least, you know?

And I'm very pleased that the reporter who was assigned the story took the time to do some serious interviewing and background reading.

How many of you could walk into an entirely unfamiliar subculture, do between four and six phone interviews plus several hours in a bar taking notes while a table of five fannish folks trip over each other saying how good the deceased's work was, AND GET IT ALMOST ENTIRELY CORRECT? I swear, this conversation is starting to look to me like those non-writers who say that any day now they're going to write a book because it must be easy.

I was very glad to meet his aunt and uncle. They are very nice and courteous people, and his aunt gave a really moving tribute to him. They have my utmost respect.

Tad (sorry, I forget his last name right now) is a reporter for that paper. And before he talked to us, he knew nothing about Mike, or about the field, to say nothing of fandom. As someone making first contact, as it were, he did much better than I think most of us would, had the situations been reversed. (But it's profitless to tell people this who do not know it from experience. And yet, here I am, trying.)

And you know what? In some ways, it WAS tragic.
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[User Picture]From: mjlayman
2006-10-28 08:58 pm (UTC)
Only authors, editors, and industry gurus? No fans? Yeah, right.
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[User Picture]From: djande
2006-10-29 05:49 am (UTC)
I noticed that, too . . .
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