From the diary: “February 23, 1982
“Mr Reade [Analy High School’s biology teacher] has gone to Nevada to manage a brothel. It was on the front page of the [SF] Chronicle and Press Democrat. Mallary [Magill] called Nevada and got an interview with him. They visited for awhile.”
I thought I might become a journalist. I tried it out on the high school paper and there really wasn’t much about it that I liked. I wanted to be a writer. But I had to figure out what that meant. There are different kinds of writers. Journalists, technical writers, novelists, poets, scriptwriters, playwrights, diarists. Because you can put words on paper doesn’t mean you can (or can stand to) be any or all kinds of writer.
A news article has a particular structure – you’re supposed to cram into the first paragraph as many of the vitals of the story as you can. The who/what/when/where stuff. The reader can stop reading after a couple paragraphs and have everything important. News editors will trim an article for space starting at the bottom.
Feature articles are a bit different. An interview is a feature article. A profile of a community leader. Columns on the opinion page. A movie review. These are essays, not news. Opinions and arguments, not facts.
In a news article you don’t tell the story in chronological order. You say, a person was shot to death, not a person got up this morning thinking he was going to have a tomorrow and walked down to the corner store and got into an argument with a man who shot him to death. You start with the bullet, then fill in the details.
I liked Mr Reade. I’ve always been fairly libertarian. Whatever one wants to do one ought to be able to do, so long as nobody gets hurt. Of course, when it comes to sex, that’s not the way society likes it. The general cast seems to be, we don’t care what you do so long as we get to make you feel shameful for doing it.
Let’s skip ahead about a month. Reade’s decision was blowing up. He’d taken a sabbatical, I learned, and he hadn’t told anyone where he was off to. He certainly hadn’t told the school administration he was going to Nevada to manage the Chicken Ranch. My diary entry for March 30, 1982 records my brush with punditry: “[Yesterday] I stayed after [school] a little while to work on the Analyan [the school newspaper]. [On my way home] I spotted a station wagon at the entrance to Analy [campus] in front of which stood a man holding a camera[. He was] pointing it at a student who was gesticulating ... I continued to approach and saw the ‘TV-50’ written on the station wagon door. The girl being interviewed was talking about Mr Reade … I stood there for a minute and when that interview was over I asked if they had talked to Mallary Magill who had interviewed [Reade for the school paper]. The lady holding the microphone ignored my query and instead asked me if I’d had Mr Reade in class. I said yes, last year. The man with the camera turned it on me and the lady started asking me questions. I had the subject clear in my mind so I launched forth on why I thought they shouldn’t dismiss Mr Reade.”
I had somewhere to go that night but my brother watched the news and told me I had the longest quote. I remember the woman interviewing me had more make-up on her face than I’d ever seen. Sparkles in a layer of white. She got me to say “whore” on TV. A piece of advice for interviews: Never repeat anything the interviewer asks unless it’s something you plan to say. She asked me something like, was your teacher training young girls to be whores? And I insisted, It’s not like Mr Reade was teaching anybody to be a whore. “Whore” is not a word that trips off my tongue. But only my voice was included in the broadcast.
Mallary is one of those people I haven’t seen or heard about since high school but I’d love to know what she’s been up to.
Reade update: Seems Russ Reade stayed on at the Chicken Ranch. According to the Pahrump Valley Times he and his co-owner decided to sell last year. “One of the world's most recognized brothels, the Chicken Ranch, goes on the market for $6.95 million. The primary owners, Ken Green and Russ Reade, said they were ready to venture into other aspects of business.”