Driving Miss Moblee: An Online Odyssey

This message is for Ms. Audrey Cooper, the first woman to be Editor-in-Chief of the San Francisco Chronicle daily print and e-edition newspaper and affiliated SFGate web site, including The Press.

Dear Ms. Cooper,

If it is not too inconvenient, could you please contact Esther Mobley @theSFChronicle and ask her to help my husband out with a personal project of his that he hopes will result in an Apple TV+ 4 part miniseries that will feature both your newspaper and sympathetic fictionalized versions of your wine and food critics, Esther and Soleil Ho? Given her ties to the publishing industry and the Californian wine trade, as well her Smith College and Wine Spectator backgrounds, I think Esther could really help improve the quality and viability of his ms and ensure that he has all his facts straight.

My husband is Bradley N. of Woodside, California, where we have been residents since 2008. I believe him to be a kindhearted and creative person who genuinely believes he is helping his fellow citizens by writing impassioned but well written and researched reviews on Yelp. He is a regular reader of the Chronicle and visitor to The Press website. He has posted a glowing five star review of the experience on Yelp. He has done so entirely for free, because he loves your paper, and b/c we both think that you, Esther, & Soleil must be pretty interesting people in real life, should we ever get the chance to meet.

However, recent financial stress compounded by too much wine and too little sleep has made my husband act more intense and determined than usual lately, and I worry that some of his actions on Yelp may be misinterpreted or not taken seriously, and these are not the impressions that I think he wishes to leave.

Bradley is an academic research scholar by training who graduated summa cum laude from Williams College in 1996 and also holds MA and PhD degrees from Johns Hopkins in modern German and continental European history, in addition to being a former Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the Humanities and adjunct professor at Stanford from 2008-2011. However, he lost a good teaching job at the University of Montana four years ago, due to unrelated administration-mandated budget cuts, and he has been unemployed ever since. It’s not that he can’t find work, but he is holding out for something he loves that will not take away his freedom. As a native West Virginian, he takes their state motto, “montani semper liberi,” rather seriously as a personal philosophy and guiding principle. This is why we live in a redwood shingled rental cottage deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Being a highly successful professional career journalist living in the mountainous, forested, and rugged state of California that my husband and I prefer to think of as the Bear Republic, I am sure you & your family can relate to this Latin language sentiment.

However, being the overeducated, underemployed, and self-identifyingly proud hillbilly that he also is, he has too much pride to tell you this directly. So, I have decided to do so on his behalf, because we have been married now for more than twenty years, ever since I emigrated to this country from Eastern Europe in 2000, and because I still love him as much now as I did back then. Perhaps, even a bit more.

Bradley has been a Yelp Elite member for thirteen years straight (2008-2020), which makes him a Black Badge holder three times over now. He takes his unpaid job writing long form, illustrated reviews on Yelp very seriously. The online, multimedia movie screenplay set to embedded YouTube music he recently completed and posted on Yelp over eighteen separate reviews, of which yours is number one of eighteen (1/18), is very good. I found it to be useful, funny, and cool in equal measure, and so have a good many of his followers and friends. He has even convinced me to use my own Yelp account (I am 4 years Yelp Elite and look forwarding to earning my first Gold Badge next year) to help him promote his cause, although I am not sure it is helping, and I worry what the individuals at Yelp who actually run the site are thinking.

Any support you could offer to help him turn this idealistic and admittedly crazy dream of his into something viable and real that could enable him to contribute significant money into our cash strapped single income family Bay Area household, where I work as a librarian on the Peninsula, would be most appreciated.

Could you also please communicate with me using the Yelp private messaging system rather than the business user comment feature? It is easy to use, once you set up your own personal Yelp account, which is free. I would be happy to provide you with our mailing address as well, if you think these things would facilitate our correspondence in the future.

Bradley is aware of this message, and he supports my intervention in this matter. In fact, he plans on casting the first UFC votes in its favor. I hope that many more will come.

Best wishes,
C

Published by Sempervirens117

I am a writer, blogger, and founder of sempervirens117.com, an environmentally conscious Silicon Valley consultancy based in Woodside, California.

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