May 7, 2014

Brand in Boston

Below is the testimony I delivered from the podium at the City of Boston's public hearing on the establishment of a "Literary Cultural District." I'll give a full report on the hearing in a subsequent post. Special thanks to the individual who gave me the idea for this post's title.

We’ve been hearing a lot lately from the spokespeople for the Literary Cultural District about “branding” and “leveraging.” For example, the Boston Globe piece from last October spoke of the proposed district as a “branded zone,” while in a more recent Publisher’s Weekly article, Grub Street Director Eve Bridburg has said, “We’re thinking about branding the work that everybody is doing.”

Well, I’m here today with the modest proposal that Boston’s writers be branded as well. The marking of individual animals has long been regarded as integral to good herd management; it is a time-honored way for this Athens of America to increase shareholder equity in its stock of writers.

The branding of writers can even become a beloved annual festival just like the Boston Book Festival and Muse & the Marketplace. We can hold it right on the Common, in the growing shadow of new luxury developments like Millennium Tower.

Branding has come a long way since the days of the old west when you’d just thrust a red-hot poker into the haunches of a lassoed, bellowing steer. Now there are plenty of other techniques to choose from, including freeze branding, electrical branding, ear notching, tattooing inside the lip, and even implanted microchips. Each way has its advantages and drawbacks.

First, however, the design itself must be chosen by the coalition’s democratically-elected Executive Partners. I suggest a “G” for GrubStreet (or Gentrification) plus a dollar sign. Just remember that the simpler the design the less painful it is for the livestock.

Next of course it must be decided where on the body the writer will bear the brand. Ideally brands should be easily seen and readable from over 50 feet, so this suggests the face as the prime real estate. Here is where “leveraging” could come in, as a way of lifting and holding the writer’s head steady during this painful but necessary process.

Whatever way is chosen for them by the Executive Partners, Boston’s writers are certain to greet it with instant, clamorous acclaim; the only downside is the stampede they’ll risk starting to be first in line. 

Thank you.

Boston writers assembling for the annual LCD branding ritual

1 comment:

anirudh said...

Waiting to hear what happened after!