An Open Letter To Salon.com (archives)

(It is in the papers today that David Talbot, founder and editor in chief of Salon.com is stepping down. Having finally posted its first profit, he is deciding to leave on a high note. Which reminds me of a day back in January 2000, the 25th to be exact. Salon "sex columnist" Dan Savage went undercover at the Gary Bauer campaign HQ in Des Moines. In his piece, archived here, he talked about how he had the flu at the time and decided to try and infect candidate Bauer, as a sort of revenge. The piece generated some minor controversy over journalistic blah blah blah, but I thought he was on to something. Thus, in an open letter, sent to several staff writers and editors at Salon (including Talbot) and published on cloakroom.com, I offered my congratulations.)

An Open Letter To Salon.com

By Basil Valentine, Special To
National Journal Group Inc.
Monday, Jan. 31, 2000

Having read Salon.com writer Dan Savage's attempt to infect Gary Bauer and his Iowa campaign team with the flu, I was impressed. Politics is war, as any young hack with a worn and misunderstood copy of Sun Tzu in his back pocket will tell you, but germ warfare?


I am certain that you folks at Salon will be scrambling to send a pack of eager and disease-ridden reporters to New Hampshire and beyond, to spread a little of the fever of Savage's piece.

In that vein, allow me to cough up a few ideas for your consumption:

Sick fictional call-girl Nancy Chan on Steve Forbes (an equally fictional invention) and lay into him with genital herpes. A benefit is that it may be the first time Steve Forbes has sex. The drawback is that some readers may accidentially visualize what Steve Forbes having sex looks like. Making readers nauseated may sound like fun, but most advertisers seem to feel that web-surfers will not click on banner ads while projectile vomiting. This has been proven in focus groups.

Instead of giving away all the tainted milk for free, I will give you the other six diseases (for Gore, Bradley, Bush, McCain, Keyes, and Buchanan) in random order. To achieve maximum exposure, you will have to match each candidate with his best possible disease. There was over seven hundred possible combinations, so you must write me back with an offer for the correct one. Each disease is listed with a possible drawback.

1. Typhus: (only transmitted via parasitic insect... no, wait, that won't be a problem).

2. Arteriosclerosis: (will mean slipping several tons of bacon, unnoticed, into candidate's diet over the next several weeks).

3. Ebola Zaire: (journalist may "bleed out" before having a chance to file).

4. The Munchies: (not really a disease, but can really be debilitating. May require some high-grade weed. Hint: Do you have any writers who ever worked for the Tennessean?)

5. Viral Meningitus: (symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck and fatigue. It may not really be that noticeable in a presidential candidate).

6. Diaper Rash: (requires that candidate wears soiled undergarments for extended period... more of a challenge than a problem).

Yours (and awaiting your response), Basil Valentine


I received one encouraging response from a Salon journalist, who no longer works there.


Blogger merseydotes said...

Who knew that in a few years you'd have substantial experience with both #5 and #6? Life is weird...

9:26 AM, February 10, 2005  
Blogger B.V. said...

You've probably had #4 at some point in college, Merseydotes, and I'm almost certain I will have #2 later in life. As long as we avoid #1 and #3, we'll be OK.

9:40 AM, February 10, 2005  

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