We met Jerome later that evening, smoking cigarettes outside after fleeing an objectionably trite folk singer's performance. Jerome told us he had been informed of the Plants incident, and gravely intoned that he would have to tell his boss about it: ²So, just so you know, Brian Brown Cashdollar's going to hear about this.
We just looked at each other and shrugged. ²Okay, I said, unsure what reaction he expected. My comrades just laughed. At some point in the conversation, Jerome said something we've heard a few times beforeüthat while he thought we were funny, we couldn't engage in such silliness if we wanted to project ²journalistic credibility. Murphy spoke for us all: ²Why would we want that?
After that, Jerome was nice enough, and even shared a news tip with us that his organization found too sordid to pursue. The rest of the interminable event, a full-on nostalgia fest for the Vietnam era, transpired without incident, save for the menacing glances and alarming proximity of Artvoice columnist and WHLD associate Michael Niman. We printed the Plants piece, everyone had a good chuckle, and that was that. I didn't give it another thought. I had met Cashdollar once or twice before, and he seemed like an all right guy; there was nothing in his demeanor that indicated he would be so uptight as to get really upset about so trivial a transgression.
Or so I thought. The night before the event at Kleinhan's, I had received an invitation to be on a local WHLD show called ²The Real Deal. Despite dreading the challenge of being awake and conversational at 9am on a Saturday, I accepted the request, and eventually confirmed the date of July 22nd. But on July 10th, I received a sheepish cancellation from ²Real Deal producer Katie Burd:
²Due to some allegations that The Beast was partaking in some unfair practices at the Peace Has No Borders event in passing themselves off as WHLD staff?? I was asked by the station that you not appear on the station unless some explanation was offered and some peace making efforts were made on the part of the Beast.
Explanation? What explanation? Jerome had the whole storyüMurphy briefly lied to Plants to get him on the record, and then fully exposed himself as a liar. How this in any way damaged WHLD's credibility is beyond my ability too ascertain. Peacemaking? What did that mean? Should I offer the station some wampum?
Just like Plants, WHLD head Brian Brown Cashdollar was not amused, and he said as much in a soon-to-follow e-mail, including the text of his message to the ²Real Deal crew:
²Here's the thing with the Beast. They were passing themselves off as NewsTalk 1270 staffers at the Peace has no borders event on the 16. That's the problem. Unless they're willing to explain that to me, I would have a problem with their being on station.
He added that he personally ²liked The BEAST, but if he was familiar with our work I couldn't see how our sneaky ruse required any explanation. Cashdollar invited me to call him and ²explain. I sent him an e-mail. I referred him to the Plants piece, and told him of how the WHLD cover story was a spontaneous utterance in the heat of the moment. I didn't apologize, because I wasn't sorryüthe Plants bit was funny, and that's all that mattered.