Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Q Score

Who uses it: Media consultants, advertising executives
What it means: A measurement of how familiar the public is with someone and how they feel about them.
How to use it: To discuss someone's prominence and popularity.

It seems almost disrespectful to mention "Rosa Parks" and "Q Score" in the same posting, but she was certainly both well-known and well-loved -- and her loss hits hard, when we seem to have fewer and fewer heroes left to us. Twenty-four-hour TV news cheapens the idea of heroism, because real heroism takes time, and the TV reporters don't want to pay attention. We remember Rosa Parks because of one moment in her life, but the bus boycott lasted for months, and the civil rights struggle lasted for years. Can you imagine how CNN would have covered it? We would all have forgotten about it in three days, and Rosa Parks would have had her one afternoon on "Oprah," then faded away. It's disgusting.

Last night was a very literary evening, starting with Libby Hellmann's appearance at Kate's, which was also a Sisters in Crime meeting. (I just joined Sisters in Crime, but would probably not have gone to a meeting if I hadn't wound up at one by accident... I hate meetings, though last night's was entertaining and pain-free.)

Afterwards, I went over to the American Repertory Theatre for a reading by Chris Cooper and Marianne Leone to benefit PEN/New England. Joe Finder, who serves on the board, and his wife Michelle kindly invited me along. It was a pretty dazzling event. Tom Perotta introduced the actors, who read two selections from The Best American Short Stories of 2005: "Cousins" by Joyce Carol Oates, and Perotta's own "The Smile on Happy Chang's Face." I sat next to Sue Miller, who besides being a brilliant writer is funny, very tall, and so beautiful she should be hanging in the Tate Gallery.

It's pouring rain here, and very windy, so I'll dawdle a few hours before getting back on the road. It gives me time for coffee with Tom Ehrenfeld, Answer Girl's mastermind and henchman.

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