The First Two Letters of Mom101: Mo. Coincidence?
Dear Mom101 (because we haven't bothered to take the time to learn your real name),Needless to say, I'm not generally interested in advertising someone's product for free. I get paid good money to do that in my day job. And I get paid no good money to do that at Cool Mom Picks. Mom-101 is basically my endorsement-free asylum. Unless I can get sex out of it.
Love your blog. Especially the post about [drop in reference to most recent post here]. Ha ha ha!
So enough about you, we here at Toxic Household Products Incorporated would love if you'd write up our new toxic cleaning fluid that's now available in WalMarts across the country! All you have to do is write about it on your blog. And tell your readers to buy it. Isn't that a great deal?
What's in it for you? Well, um...we'll send you a sample valued at 2 dollars and 98 cents retail! Seriously, it's like us PAYING YOU almost THREE DOLLARS to write an ad for us. Isn't that awesome? You should feel very very proud that we want to pay you for your writing.
Plus you get to be affiliated with the very impressive Toxic Household Products Incorporated. And WalMart. You do like WalMart right? Or are you a Communist?
Clueless about marketing on blogs and not a Communist
But recently, I received an email from a very clever guy who approached me in a very clever way. He dropped Gloria Steinem's name (hello!) and told me about this new radio network she's involved with called Greenstone Media, which, when I clicked over to the website, was totally exciting to me. It's talk radio for women, by women. And no, I don't mean twelve consecutive hours of women yammering about their periods. These are funny, smart women like Mo Gaffney and Lisa Birnbach. And yes, Gloria Steinem.
I was intrigued by the idea because I like talk radio. But if you look at what talk radio has become with very few exceptions, it's hardly anything woman should be interested in. It's dominated by men, mostly angry white men, and that's something too many women get at the office anyway. Or worse--at home.
I wrote back to David and said if Mo Gaffney is involved, sign me up.
Ever since I saw the Kathy & Mo show off-broadway - way back before it was on HBO like every four seconds - I've been smitten with her and Kathy Najimi. I laughed so hard at their sketches that I actually may have spit on them. And if you've ever been to the theater, then you know what a turnabout that is. I think she's one of those smart, thoughtful comedians that understands the balance between promoting an ideology (coughcoughDennisMillercough) and just being funny.
Besides, she was on AbFab.
The next thing you know, David is telling me, "you like Mo? I can get you ten minutes with Mo."
Now let me ask you, blogworld, is this not the most genius marketing tactic you have ever heard? I mean, if Toxic Household Products Incorporated told me that I could get ten minutes with say, George Clooney, do you not think I would suddenly find something decent to say about WalMart?
The answer is no.
No way. Never. No.
But I certainly would take them up on the George Clooney chat.
So of course I prepare for my ten minute call by stressing out for three days straight. I may be funny at the Thanksgiving table but against a real professional comic actress? Um, no.
Then I spending an entire afternoon reading about the network and listening to back episodes of Women Aloud, the show Mo co-hosts with her best friend Shana. And what are they discussing? The same things we do here: The "motherhood is boring" article that Her Bad Mother was (mis?)quoted in. The Forbes article about why men shouldn't marry career women - the very article brought to my attention by Christine at A Mommy Story.
I thought, I know these topics! I can talk about these topics! Mo will not think I'm as much of a dork as Arianna Huffington did when I met her, and could think of nothing to say except how nice her triceps were.
(Do not worry. I did not say that out loud. But I did think it.)
"Hi, is this Mo?"
"Hi this is Liz from Mom-101 and Cool Mom Picks?"
"Oh okay, you're the blogger."
"Yeah, yeah. So um, do you know why I'm on the phone with you right now?"
Let me just assure you now--because I see you sweating there, I can sense it, right through the computer screen--that the call got much better from this point on. I stopped the stammering and nervous giggling, and we settled into a nice rhythm where frankly, I felt less like she was pitching me and more like I was on a first date. No way, you were at that pro-choice rally? I was there too!
We discussed feminism and those women who diss it even (as she put it) while they're not standing around barefoot baking cookies. We talked about Women for Women International, a great organization we've both been involved with. We agreed that pundits describing all of so-called Middle America as the same, are being as unproductive as calling a state that went 50.3% Bush in the last election, "red."
We traded stories about our kids; I even picked up a few parenting tips like how to confront your kid's bully. Or what to do when your son asks to wear blackface to school on Halloween. I also learned that if your son thinks girl bands are "stupid," dust off the Joan Jett.
We ranted about the Pussycat Dolls. And sexism. And homophobia. And racism. At which point she said:
Actually today on my radio show, I was telling this story about giving my son a black doll when he was 2 and a half..."So of course I interrupt right away and say WHAT? WHAT? OH MY GOD I WROTE ABOUT THAT VERY THING TODAY.
Which surely came out like PLEASE PLEASE BE MY FRIEND OH MY GOD WE ARE SOULMATES!
Because of course you knew I had to dork it up at least one time over the course of the call.
But I didn't dork it up entirely. In fact in the 46 minutes and 42 seconds that I wound and unwound the phone cord nervously around my fingers, I believe made Mo Gaffney laugh twice. And this, in my book, is the Nobel Prize, World Cup, and Homecoming Queen, all wrapped up in one. But even better, she made me laugh. And think. And want more.
I am officially the newest fan of Women Aloud. And I have no problem shouting it from the rooftops, out my windows or across the blogosphere.
Hooray for smart funny women. Hooray for smart funny women on the radio. Hooray for the distinct possibility that all it will take is one more illegal prescription drug incident to free up some much-needed airtime.