Ron with Vice advertising director Shanon Kelley. She wears her Hey Ron! shirt at least four times a week.
Ron becomes more popular by the day, and as his profile expands from "accounts receivable" to "anything's achievable" he's going to be forced to become more comfortable with the spotlight. He got his first taste of "the media" (besides working for an ever-growing media conglomerate, of course) last week at Jim Mangan's release party of Winter's Children where a reporter from New York Press probed Ron about his thoughts on the photos. A thoughtful reader asked Ron what it feels like to be a shooting star.
I read the piece in New York Press where the guy asked you about looking at some photos of naked snowboarders. I wasn't there (I live in Tennessee), but I'm a huge fan of your columns and am happy to see you're getting some public recognition. How does it feel? How did that reporter approach you? How do you feel about Vice? Also, what are your thoughts on the media industry as a whole? I think it sucks.
Here's how it went down: I was looking at a picture and the reporter walked up to me and goes, “You do the ‘Hey Ron’ columns for Vice, right?" I said, "Yes I do," and he said, “Do you mind if I interview you?" I said, “Sure, no problem.” Then he was all "So what do you think of the photos?" I replied, “Hold on, so you want to know what I really have to say about these pictures or do you want me to 'fix' it?” And he’s like, “No, I want to know exactly what you have to say.” So then I proceeded to tell him about how I felt about the pictures and the crowd and things of that nature.
At first glance I really couldn’t tell the men from the women in the photos because of the cold weather. I couldn't tell who had a penis and who had a vagina. The only reason I knew the difference was because the women had bigger breasts than the men. And one had a beard. Other than that I’d have thought they were all cavemen and cavewomen running around butt-naked. Not even 20 years of prison would have made me think that any of those people were pretty or good-looking.
The only other people who have interviewed me have been the cops, so I was kind of excited when the guy wanted to ask me questions. I wish one of those local news TV reporters would ask me something sometime because it seems like the only black people they run into speak Spanglish or broken English, which makes the rest of us look like we stopped going to school after the third grade. I’m like, "You can't find someone with all of their teeth?"
Then they always send some blond-headed bimbo to interview some dudes in Brownsville or some other not-so-nice place because that's how they justify the educational disparity of interviewing some guy who just graduated from college in prison. You get two people coming together who would have otherwise never said anything to each other in a million years, a conversation that at the end of the day should have only been broadcast in Siberia or something. I guess what I'm saying is that everyone wants to be like Star magazine.
I don't keep up with the news too often because it doesn't appeal to me. l I try to read the New York Times, but they put words in there that I have to look up in the dictionary. I’m like "Who reads this? Can’t you just simplify this damn paper? You've got words in there with nine syllables." That’s probably why so many white people read it—they want to feel smart because they had to look up a nine-syllable word in the dictionary. That's dumb, not smart. I’m kind of kidding, but sometimes I read it and I’m like, "Why can’t you just say this?"
Sometimes I look at ESPN.com or the NFL site. I also really like gymnastics—floor exercises, the rings, the parallel bars… even women's gymnastics.
As far as the media is concerned, I've worked at Vice for four years now and I can definitely tell that things are changing in the industry and editorial and advertising are kind of merging. I rarely look at the magazine because I don't really read magazines, but I have noticed that the writing has gotten better and I find myself looking at a lot of the articles because they have gotten more interesting. I didn’t even realize we had a website until “Hey Ron” started. Now I look at it at least once a week (wink).
I always try to look outside the box. From outside the box I think we just need to change it up a bit. We seem to be only focusing on one group of people—the Bedford kind of crowd. The yuppies, or whatever the hell they're called. So I think you've got to try to hit the spectrum because everybody spends money. Well, not everybody. Black people don’t spend money. Then again, that's not entirely true. They buy crap. They won’t send their kids to private school, but they will make sure they have a pair of Tims before their second birthday. I guess it's tough to find someone to sell to that market. For example, everyone thinks our online advertising director, Ryan Duffy, is such a good salesman, but look at how tight his pants are. He couldn't even sell black people chicken.
Previously on Hey Ron!
STEREOTYPES ABOUT BLACKS
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