THE PUBLICIST: Publicists Guild show raises some interesting questions

War is hell. Oscar nominees were denied red carpet glory. March Madness was pushed to cable. Pizza deliveries are running an average of 20 minutes late. And I was 45 minutes tardy to the Publicists Guild luncheon because protesters partially blocked Wilshire Blvd.

War is hell. Oscar nominees were denied red carpet glory. March Madness was pushed to cable. Pizza deliveries are running an average of 20 minutes late. And I was 45 minutes tardy to the Publicists Guild luncheon because protesters partially blocked Wilshire Blvd.

By the time I was seated, the chicken was cold and someone nicked my gift bag. (No worries. As gift bags go, these were lame. A couple of t-shirts, a hat, a few CDs. The thief obviously didn't bother to check the contents.) Six TV cameras and an assortment of print press were on hand at the publicists' Beverly Hilton kudos soiree, along with a celebrity contingent that included Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Rock, that actress from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Rita Wilson, Bob Barker, and a surprise appearance by Martin Scorsese. Marty presented an award to New Yorker Lois Smith of PMK, who kept her gracious speech short and sweet. This was essential, as publicists began slowly streaming out of the room around 2pm, well before the event's conclusion. I felt that was kind of rude, but since I nearly dozed off at one point, I shouldn't throw stones. The day's best remarks came from the LA Times' John Horn, who was being honored with some award - I forget which one. "You've been too kind," he said to the room of publicists, "and apparently so have I." One might argue that the entire event was trivial and inappropriate considering events in the world, but this is Hollywood. We often pride ourselves on self-absorption, no matter what the scenario. Take your reality elsewhere, mister. We don't buy it. Speaking of, I don't buy the manner in which the publicist award recipients are chosen in the first place. Too cozy, too insider. Much like choosing the 9th grade class president. I suggest we have a more sporting affair to determine our industry's best. I propose that the competing publicists submit memos on how to answer a series of ironic scenarios. Here are sample questions: 1. How does Supreme Court Justice Scalia, who forbids cameras or tape recorders in his presence, receive an award for "protecting the First Amendment?" 2. Why did a military invasion intended to make us safer prompt an immediate increase in homeland security risks? 3. Why does March Madness culminate in April? 4. At an event given by and for publicists, why the dearth of press releases? Okay, try those. May the best spin win.
  • Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and writer

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