"Unequivocally Reprehensible" Memo's Greatest Hits!
Praising Private Ryan
There's Something About Dumb Comedy
Out of Sight: What a difference
a director makes
The Truman Show: Jim Carrey's new clothes
About that Hollywood studio memo...
Those of you who may have seen the hysterical (in every sense of the
word) memo from An Employee of A Major Hollywood Motion Picture Studio may be wondering
where it has gone. Well, I was contacted by people from the studio, who told me the
writer had been reprimanded for her unprofessional, "out of line" conduct, and
that apologies were being made to all the field agency representatives to whom she had
blanket-faxed her ridiculous, personally insulting and abusive mail. They asked me
if I would be willing to take the memo off my site. And, since I felt that the
primary purpose of posting the memo had been achieved (i.e., some rude and unacceptable
workplace behavior had been exposed -- fittingly, in the bully's own choice words -- and
disciplinary action had been taken against the perp), I agreed to take down the
I certainly have nothing against The Studio or the
other folks who work there. Although I confess I'm mystified as to why such a pointless
and unproductive fit -- preserved in writing for all to see -- would be tolerated by any
respectable company. Indeed, I feel compassion for anyone who would have to
work anywhere near a person who would write and send such a petty, juvenile
document. That said, I can sympathize with the impulse behind writing it in the
first place. I've done similar things myself -- although I hope they were much
better written. But it's one thing to do this kind of cathartic venting in
private; it's something else entirely to actually send the thing! I
spent more than three years working at Microsoft, where impulsive "flame
mails" scorch the mail servers all the time -- but this absurd tirade was
beyond anything that should or would be tolerated anyplace I've ever worked.
Local agency and L.A. studio reps also asked me
where I got the memo, which I'm not about to reveal -- mainly because it's utterly beside
the point. The issue isn't how the memo got around. That was inevitable, given its
snotty, insulting tone and wide fax distribution -- and it's just another indication of
the sender's bad judgement that she didn't think about that ahead of time: Hey,
wake up and smell the Information Age! I simply wanted this person (whom I'd
never met, spoken to, or even heard of -- so it's nothing personal) to be held accountable
for what she, and she alone, did when she wrote that thing, printed it out, signed it, and
then faxed it to people all over the country. (This was not done in haste or on
impulse; there was plenty of time to reconsider...)
Anyway, her misconduct and bad judgement are
self-evident, and by posting the proof I was only too happy to extend the writer enough
rope to hang herself -- in front of office workers 'round the globe! Responses I
received from those who read the two-page temper tantrum were unanimous in finding it a
personal harangue that exceeded the boundaries of the merely unprofessional. All
things considered, it was just plain ugly. (Not only that, but the grammar and
spelling were atrocious!)
Why do I care? Because I, and friends of
mine, have toiled under and alongside abusive, ineffectual, and/or passive-aggressive
bosses and co-workers -- and I think they should be held responsible for their own
behavior. (One friend recently quit her job when her boss -- also in the film
industry -- not only "vented" his frustrations by yelling at people in the
office, but also by throwing things at them. Hmmmm. I call that
But for those of you who missed it, I now
present (drum roll, please)...
"Unequivocally Reprehensible" Memo's
by Anonymous (not Joe Klein)
(WARNING: Reading the following may
be even more traumatic than the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan!)
"I am writing the memo that I was hoping never
to have to write."
"What more can we do to make these deadlines
more apparent to you? Nothing, I believe."
"In my estimation, this is unequivocally
"I could give you a high school lesson on the
myriad ways to remind yourself of a deadline -- like scanning the memos when they come and
immediately writing reminders on your desk calendar -- but I'm not going to do that, nor
should anyone else have to. You are all adult professionals -- many of you are parents --
and I will not commence treating you in such a childish way."
"If you think this is harsh, it is. I have
been here three years and getting agencies to meet deadlines has been the bane of my
existence during this time. Little else upsets or disturbs me because I have a
deep-rooted respect for each and every one of you and consider these indiscretions almost
a personal affront."
"We here at the studio are completely powerless
to approach the next step unless we hear from all of you; this is not the environment
where piece-mailing is acceptable."
"If it's the mundane nature of paperwork that
drags you down, get over it."
"Understand, although this letter may lead you
to believe otherwise, I am not an ogre."
"I am not a crook." (Ooops, that was
"I hope I have been able to shed some light on
how crucial it is to meet every deadline imposed, no matter how ridiculous or
"By disregarding what may seem irrelevant or
unimportant to you, we at the studio are put in awkward positions with our superiors, so
we are putting an end to it right now."
"My sincere thanks for understanding and
strictly adhering to this memo. My apologies to those that constantly meet the
deadlines requested of them."
Saving Private Ryan