A friend and I were having lunch ... he's a restaurant owner, and he was picking my brain about the best ways to get media coverage.
"I see stories all the time about new places, new chefs," he said. "I've been here 16 years, and I feel like I get ignored."
"You need to give the media an angle," I said. "Last year would have been perfect: You had a 15th anniversary. Now you have to wait until your 20th."
I was being facetious, but it's also undeniably true that anniversary years divisible by five are seen as more note-worthy — by the media and everyone else. Twenty trumps 19 or 21. Twenty-five years? That's a biggie. A quarter-century! Break out the bunting and fireworks.
Which is what we're doing around here this week, as we celebrate 25 years of the Memphis Flyer with a lollapalooza of an issue, filled with nostalgia and looks back at the paper's early days. Much of it is pretty funny stuff. And much of it provides the kind of perspective that only comes with the passing of time: seeing some of the issues that once seemed so important, and now thinking, "What was the big deal about that?"
You'll see lots of familiar faces in this issue's story "25 Who Shaped Us," a roster of folks who've left an indelible mark on us in the years since 1989. And you'll see lots of familiar advertisers — Doug Carpenter, First Congo, Outdoors, Inc., TJ Mulligan's, Wizard's, Shangri-La, Otherlands, the Beale Street clubs, to name a few — who have been with us from the start.
And though I can't name-check them all here, we also owe thanks to the dozens of folks who've passed through these offices since 1989, and to the many who continue to work here. It's always been a great place to come to work every day.
And I believe — as all here do — that we're fortunate to have this city to call home. Memphis is full of energy and spunk and opportunity, an outlier, an American original, a place where individuals can still make a difference. There's no other place like it. Really, there isn't.
Memphis has changed and Memphis hasn't changed at all. It's like the Mississippi: never the same river twice but always there, always familiar, a big messy, sprawling force of nature. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
So here's to Memphis, here's to the Memphis Flyer, and here's to us — all of us. Onward.
In the 14 years I've been the Flyer editor, I've gotten lots of hate mail. It mostly used to come in envelopes filled with pages of scrawled handwriting. I read them and put them in the wastebasket, chalking it up as a natural by-product of writing for a liberal paper in the conservative South. Lately, the angry folks have switched to email, and it comes in waves ...
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare
Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.