Friday, June 04, 2010

Bill George: Red Hot Planet And Beyond. Part II.

It was during my unpaid tenure at Red Hot Planet that another one of Bill Georges annoying traits reared it's ugly head; he is an unbridled control freak. George thinks he's God's gift to the auctorial arts, his talent as a writer is unparalleled and that there are few writers of his caliber.

In his conceited mind, George considers himself to be The Gold Standard when it comes to writing. More like fools gold if you ask me.His is a stuffy,pompous, pseudo professorial writing style that looks down at the reader while at the same time pretending to be one with them.

He once bragged to me that he never writes without consulting his Thesaurus. How pompous! What a pretentious fop! A Thesaurus is an aid for a writer, not a f***ing crutch! Big words are meant to add color or heft to a writers work, you don't write the article or book around the big word or the fancy phrase, that's both pretentious and insulting to the reader.

Bill George doesn't care because he is on a mission to intellectually impress you and everyone else he meets. Unlike his parents, who spoke like the regular working class people they were, George speaks with the cadence of a highly educated man with a doctorate of some sort. Nah. He has a liberal arts degree which in some cases isn't worth the sheep skin it's printed on.

I know of what I speak because in the late 1970's, I had a friend who graduated with a liberal arts degree. The reason for this decision was actually kind of stupid; a guitar player in one of his favorite bands, Hot Tuna, had a liberal arts degree, so he thought getting a liberal arts degree was a good idea. See? I told you it was kind of stupid. Anyhoo, following graduation my friend found it extremely hard to get a job with his measly degree. One company executive told him that as far as he was concerned, a liberal arts degree meant four more years of high school.

Eventually, he did land a good paying gig, but the company ended up sending him back to school to add to his rather flimsy college education. Now in George's case the soup thickens; his liberal arts degree is in screen writing. Yeah, there sure is a lot of demand for screen writers in Baltimore, Maryland. Is Bill George an arrogant dick or what?

Because of George's penchant for rewiring my work and then having the balls to tell me I should be grateful for his improvements, I began referring to him as The Bard Of Baltimore. (Just as an aside: I didn't know until a year or two ago that this appellation was actually given to that writer/genius Edgar Allen Poe. I used it as an derisive insult to self proclaimed genius Bill George,a self impressed prick if ever there is one.) I even went on several IMDb message boards to disown any of my interviews that George saw fit to completely rewrite using that special auctorial magic only he,that Wizard of Words, can provide.

Although George treated me like a talentless hack, whose sole talent was turning the tape recorder on and off real good during an interview, he did consider at least one writer to be his equal: Steve Vertlieb. They met while in college and since Vertlieb sports the same writing style as George:professorial and chocked full of big words and purple prose phrases. It's saying to the reader, "Look at how well I write,everyone!"

They're like two pretentious peas in a pod.It's as if George believes that he and his boy Vertlieb sit atop Mount Parnassus as both of them look down on the rest of us writers with bemusement and contempt.

George once told me that the reason he never,ever rewrote Vertlieb's articles was because " They're perfect just the way they are." I wish George had treated me with the same respect and equality as he treated Vertlieb. To be honest, to this day I resent and dislike Steve Vertlieb for this reason. The sad part is,it's not his fault; it is Bill George who created this atmosphere of resentment and anger that I feel. Was it purely accidental or Machiavellian in design? Only Bill George knows and he's not one to be wedded to the truth.

However, at one point I won a small victory: after one of our arguments, George went to one of his friends as well as The Red Hot Planet's webmaster JB, showed them my article and asked," Isn't this terrible? Doesn't it need rewriting?" They both replied," There's nothing wrong with his article, it's his style." I would have enjoyed being a fly on the wall for that: imagine the look on Bill Georges face,egg splattered all over, as his delusions of superiority were dashed before his eyes. It felt really good to win for once and have George put in his place, if only temporarily.

To be contined..... I ain't done yet.

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