Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Draw

***Writers note: I wrote this article on Christmas Eve. Initially I had hoped I would not have to publish it. Primarily, I wrote for a cathartic medicinal purpose, my own. I had high hopes this thing to work itself out as these things sometimes tend to do here in SL. But unfortunately in this case, that didn’t happen. That’s too bad.

I received news from a model colleague that 24 models would be negatively affected by the actions of one of the agency owners mentioned below, when activities were stepped up a bit by communications made in a group chat last night by an agency employee.

Last night in this group chat, it was said by an employee of the  “note card” agency  that any models who had not left the “note card” agency modeling group due to their affiliation with another agency would not be allowed to walk in any shows for said agency. Why did this even come up? Because of recent casting calls and someone asking point blank questions.

You’ll be able to connect the dots in a minute when you read the following blog posting, don’t worry, it’s a continuing saga so I’m sure you’ll catch up quick. When I learned of these developments, I felt as if I could no longer remain silent. I truly had hoped that tempers would have cooled and the problems if not resolved would at least be kept between the parties involved in the disputes, and not involve innocent bystanders aka the models. But that didn’t happen either.

As a result it became apparent that 24, twenty-four, people are basically being used as pawns in a virtual game of tug and war. One side says you can work here; you can stay here as long as you want, but you won’t walk in any shows unless you leave the other side. The other side has made no demands to date.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking sides here. I don’t want to. What I am doing is speaking towards negative acts, propagated towards people who have absolutely nothing to do with whatever this war is about.

I don’t care what it’s about. It’s not my business. What is my business however is the part I’m involved in as being a model for both agencies. More importantly being a human being and knowing there are 23 other people who will also be forced to make a decision they should not be asked to make. That said… here’s the blog.

You know… I really hate to do this on this day, the eve before Christmas. But dang if it isn’t burning a hole through my gray matter in attempts to get out.

Yesterday I received a note card from one of the modeling agencies I work for. While I can’t share the text with you out of respect of TOS, the initial paragraph expressed how deeply sorry the writer was for having to take the action for which they were about to explain.

Immediately I got that familiar old feeling of being back in sixth grade. It’s never good when someone starts off with something to the effect of … I really hate to do this but because this person did this, I have to do that.

To me that’s always a bad indicator. One that kind of jumps up and down screaming… I’m pissed off and I’m going to make everyone pay for it.

For those that don’t have a clue what’s going on, let me just try and lay it out for you so you can at least have an inkling of what’s happened.

Apparently two of the modeling agencies I belong to have had a... hmm... what’s the best way to put this… ok... let’s try this, a series of unfortunate events and communications.

Because the two conflicting owners and a couple of common employees of both agencies are having some disagreement/controversy/opposition/feud/clash/falling out/row/squabble/dispute and any other words my trustee lexicon of a thesaurus can muster up, one of the agencies has told all models of who are mutually associated with both agencies, they must choose which agency to stay with.

This was all said with some pretty flowery words and a smattering of just the right amount of anguish that intended to make the sting a bit easier to handle, by the recipient of said note card. In essence what it comes down to is, if we stay with the opposing modeling agency we cannot be a part of the agency that sent the note card.


Is it me or does this smack of the whole class getting punished for “Jimmy” not doing his homework?

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I know every person involved in this situation. Most are on my friends list and some are actually friends. Is it my business what’s going on or has gone on in this dispute? Nooooooo. Not unless someone wants to make me part of it and I say to you with a whole congress of impassioned pleas…. PLEASE do not make me part of it. ;)

Anywho… my point is why are we, the models who have had nothing to do with this getting punished? Most of the models from both agencies have been apart of this and many other agencies for quite some time and I don’t believe there have been any issues with the models themselves being a problem for either aforementioned agency. So why?

I’ll tell you why. Because someone is pissed off and wants to make a power play.

In doing so, this person virtually says, I’m going to show you how powerful I really am by making people take sides. They’ll take my side because I am who I am, I have power and they’ll hate you (the opposing side) because of having to make this choice… and those who don’t take my side will eventually pay for it anyway because I have the memory of an elephant and let us not forget, power.

Now come on, no business owner in their right mind in first life would take such actions. If they did, they know they would be laughed out of whatever industry they’re in because of such childish behavior.

What’s next? Will designers and other businesses be virtually blackmailed into taking sides? That would be really low. I sure hope that’s not the case but regrettably I think it might be.

Will I pay for this blog posting? Oh you can be pretty sure I will, yessireebob. Why you might ask? Because apparently this person doesn’t know how to make decisions based on the qualifications of and or act rationally towards the occurrence or incident in question. This person responds emotionally instead of intellectually. Freedom of the press you say? Reasonable expectations? Qualified decisions? Rational thought? Evidently that’s in low supply in SL.

So tell me... why is this accepted here? Why do people continue to associate themselves with others that are doing nothing more than the virtual reality version of bullying? That’s the part that kills me. Hey… I hear you, “I have a business, and I can’t afford to have it negatively impacted”… I have a business here to. And sure, this person could affect my business negatively for the rest of my SLife for me writing this blog alone, and sadly, mostly likely will try. But remaining silent for an action I see as so clearly wrong would affect me even more negativelyl. While I still have some self respect, a little moral compass that keeps ticking and some tiny bit of ethical conscience left, I’m not really willing to slide further down the evolutionary brain train with the owner of this agency and their ridiculous tactics.

You guys know me, well most of you do and I speak up only when I think there is something that needs to be brought out from the dark cave into the light. I cannot help but continue to believe that fundamentally most people are good, rational and fair. Na├»ve? Maybe. But I like to think given the opportunity to look at something from another perspective in some cases, not all, but some just might, result in a poorly executed action being recalled due to “my bad”. I like to think that if you’re wrong about something, if you’ve been rash, irrational and allowed your “big bully” from elementary school to make a crucial decision for you that when you’ve calmed down, regained your senses and wiped away the tears, one can see the error of their ways, stand up, suck it up and take responsibility while setting things right.

Now THAT would earn respect in my book.

Soooo... I’ll go ahead and put this out there because, while I may lose some customers, I really don’t want to lose any more self esteem.

This next part is directed at the owner of the agency who is imposing their will on and forcing 24 models to make a choice.

Dear Agency Owner:

Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your agency for as long as it’s been in existence.

I’ve had fun working with the people that are a part of your agency and I’ve worked really hard for shows I’ve been a part of, albeit personally it’s been awhile. I’ve always been a faithful and loyal employee and when given the opportunity I’ve spoken the name of your agency to designers and friends alike with great pride.

Having said that, I’m confused why you’re now telling me I can no longer be a part of your agency simply because you have differences with another agency with whom I am affiliated. Especially since I’ve been a part of both agencies for this long and as far as I can tell that has never been a problem in the past.

I have a few questions if you don’t mind. Why am I being punished? What good will come of this action? Is this a rational decision on your part? Seriously, will you take a moment to consider the rationale behind this? Ask some of your most trusted friends and colleagues their opinions and find out if this is really the right action to take before you instigate it? Oh, and by the way, it should be people who are not on your “yes men” list that way you get the most fair and unbiased opinions.

I’m asking these questions because one would hate to think you are simply reacting emotionally to a situation, using the old stand by of “I’m taking my ball and bat and going home” rather than giving this full and rational thought.

Now because I know you personally, I know you’ll read this and probably think… “What a bitch” and click the big red “you’ve been ejected from the group” button without hesitation. But just once, just one time I would really like to be wrong on that and think you’re smarter than the average pinto bean.

Anyway, Happy Holidays to you and yours, all the best to the wife and kids, etc., etc.

Cherie Parker

Ok... now that I’ve addressed the agency owner let me go ahead and just wrap this up because I’m feeling much better now, gotten this off my chest and can get back to work.

Let me know what you guys think. If you think I’m wrong… that’s okay. Like I’ve said many times before, we don’t have to agree on everything to like each other. I’m good with that.

Happiest of holidays to everyone and Merry Christmas to all.