Sunday, May 6, 2007

Doctor Eddie Brock and The Staff Job

I found myself laughing out loud in the theater last night. I and two of my fellow photographer friends Mark and Bill had gone to the theater to catch the latest installment of Spiderman. Among a crowd of 34 in a theater that seats 400, what had me guffawing was the battle between Parker and the upstart freelancer Eddie Brock.

None other than "America's Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry", Editor & Publisher, has an article titled "New Photog Challenges Peter Parker at 'Daily Bugle' ".

It seems that Parker, who has been vying for a staff photographer's position, and was promised one when it opened up, gets challenged by Eddie Brock, who is shopping photos of Spiderman to the editor, when Parker turns up with his own, and they are compared. When the Assistant to the Editor says to the Editor "which one?" The the Editor says "we'll go with the freelancer's, it's cheaper." When Parker then asks the Editor about the staff position, he says (something akin to) "whichever one of you gets a shot of Spiderman as the no-good scoundrel that he is, get's the job", or, as New York Newsday (the real paper) put's it "upping the stakes with a sharper brand of tension, only one can win a full-time gig with benefits."

Newsday further writes: "In an attempt to impress his boss, Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson, Brock's misguided weapon of choice is Photoshop, causing a Jayson Blair-sized scandal." Causing Jameson to say "we have to print a retraction, we haven't printed a retraction in 20 years!" And then, there is a front page apology to Spiderman for labelling him "Thief" after Brock's photoshopped a file photo of Spiderman, and Parker recognizes the photo and calls him out on it just as Brock is being celebrated as the new staff photographer, only to have him fired for his ethical breach. Also on the front page is a piece about Brock's firing.

It was a kick to watch the pre-villanous Brock exhibit his unethical behavior about photoshopping images to make himself look better, to watch him fall in flames, and to watch Parker do the right thing photographically speaking. To watch the editor have to make apologies/retractions because they went with "the cheaper one". It's also humorous to see them both shooting with film cameras in this digital age, and during the big climactic scene, where the editor is on hand, to see a little girl (actually, the director's daughter) taking photos, and the editor says "kid, do you want a job" to which she responds "why would I want a job?" And he then asks how much for her plastic point and shoot camera, and she says something like "ten bucks", and he pays for it and then tries to use it, only to get his comeuppance when he opens up the camera to find no film, and the little girl responds "you want film, that'll be more money."

If you weren't going to see Spiderman 3, go just to see how the unethical upstart freelance photographer gets it in the end and Parker, the principled one, calls him on it. There were several humorous freelance references throughout.

Just as an aside, here's a list of Bugle-centric photographers - Cole Cooper, Jeffrey Haight (who cut a deal with a villan for a photo of him just to get a front page photo), Tony Reeves, Angela Yin (sister of another villan), Lance Bannon - KIA, Amber Grant (business -saavy superior to Parker's, which made him envious), Phil Sheldon, and Billy Walters.

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