question of the day: What could the press have done for Kevin Smith?

Of course we’ve all been hearing about Kevin Smith’s misadventures with Southwest Airlines, but I wasn’t sure that there was much to say about it beyond what Smith has already said. In my leftover links this past weekend, I pointed you to Smith’s own account of the affair, in which he explains why he’s so angry: it’s not about how it came as a newsflash to him that he’s fat; it’s about how Southwest has shitty customer service. Shitty customer service is something that pisses me off too, but it’s hardly a newsflash, either, that customers are absolutely the last thing that many companies worry about.

But today I came across an article at MTV in which Smith’s perfectly reasonable anger takes on another perfectly reasonable angle:

“Everyone’s going, ‘He’s fat’ for the next f—ing three days; the top of Google News is everyone in the world telling me I’m fat. Everyone on network [TV] telling me I’m fat; ‘Entertainment Tonight’ put a f—ing chick in a fat suit and put her on a plane. I’m like, ‘What does this have to do [with anything]?’

“The [fat story] is the sexy story that everybody wants to write … I was so mad at the press because for 15 years I’ve done nothing but tell you the truth and give you interesting sh– to write about. And this one time, when you could have come to my aid, all you did was let me dangle and let these f—ers call me fat. Heartbreaking, heartbreaking.”

As Larry Carroll, the writer of the piece, notes right at the top of the article:

In the entire history of the cinema, you’d have a hard time finding a filmmaker who has made himself more accessible than Kevin Smith. From his low-budget convenience-store beginnings to his current incarnation as director of the Bruce Willis comedy “Cop Out,” every move the guy has made over the last decade-and-a-half seems to have been chronicled in some sort of media report, blog, tweet, book or podcast.

Is Smith right to feel let down by those to whom he has given so much over the years? Or is it “just” that the mainstream media is in the same place as an outfit like Southwest Airlines, placing quality service — like substantive journalism — way down at the bottom of its list of priorities? I mean, some journalist could have used Smith’s experience as the jumping-off point for an in-depth look at how so many corporations simply don’t make customer service a priority, or about how much the experience of airline travel has declined in recent years, or about how we’ve all gotten so used to be treated like shit that it takes a celebrity complaining about it for it to be heard. But instead it becomes a sideshow masquerading as news.

What could the press have done for Kevin Smith?

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