Trivia teaches fear of A & E editors


by Peter Gillette
The Lawrentian, February 4, 2005.

Newspapers, of course, always fret on about conflicts of interest here or there. At least we're told that the good ones do, or are supposed to.

There is a doctrine I prefer, however, and that is the alignment of interests. It's essentially the same as "conflict," but it is more of a positive-sounding concept.

I began thinking about "alignment of interests" at 5 a.m. Sunday morning, as I blinked my eyes around me in the WLFM studio and saw many fellow trivia masters who were also current or former Lawrentian colleagues.

First, I saw Grand Master Jonathon Roberts [full disclosure: he's also my roommate], who was Arts & Entertainment editor for a term and a half in 2002. Then there's Reid Stratton (next year's grand master — congrats!), the current A & E editor. Coincidence?

Trivia Masters Sandi Schwert and Dan Holbrook are photo editor and copy chief, respectively. Sean Grady was, for a short time a couple years back, our wine reviewer. Paul Karner is a part-time rock columnist, while Katy Stanton just began this term as a staff writer. James Hall was, for a short time third term last year, a staff writer as well. [Full disclosure: he used the pen name Milton Oswald until his editors thought it was getting kind of silly.]

Meara Levezow, Jonas Hackett, Kate Negri, and Adam Berey are the only current trivia masters who have never been on the Lawrentian payroll.

I began to think about why this may be. It is because we are of a certain temperament that chooses to function without sleep or adequate nutrition, and it is because we never expect our best when something close to our best will be entertaining enough.

It is because we, the Lawrentian employees, have learned how to yell at each other and apologize, shrugging it off and living to fight another battle — another battle that really doesn't matter in the scheme of things.

We have learned that success is an admirable goal but fun is a preferable one. We have learned that, even if it is three a.m., there is always something witty you can write to fill the time or space [full disclosure: it is 8:15 p.m., so no worries on that front]. We have learned that while accuracy is important, it is not necessarily imperative. Inaccuracy merely means a slightly angry phone call may be forthcoming.

Then, of course, there's the engaging wit and the penchant for general knowledge.

Yes, the more I think of it, being a Lawrentian employee makes me a better trivia master. But the reverse, I fear, is much too far from true.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be picking some glass from my eye. That's right, that exploding (imploding?) TV everyone's been talking about? Yeah, it was Paul Karner.

Let's hope he never becomes A & E editor.