His hometown newspaper, the Seattle Times, profiled Bill Marler last Monday.
As managing partner of Marler Clark, L.L.P, PS, which owns Food Safety News, we are used to the sort of reactions that swirl in Bill’s wake. I was not surprised that a story about Seattle’s loveable local trial attorney would spur a lot of comments.
The disturbing fact, however, is that Bill has made a transition from merely being a newsmaker as the foremost attorney for victims of food borne illness to being something close to a celebrity.
I’ve been worried that this was happening for some time. When CNN’s Larry King just could not get his mouth around the words “E. coli outbreak,” the blooper was shown over and over again on David Letterman,
John Stewart, Jimmy Kimmel, and even on Fox News of all places with Bill’s smiling screen presence being what was seen while Larry King tried unsuccessfully to speak.
Bill the newsmaker; expert in his field, we can all handle. Bill the celebrity is really going to be hard for some of us to take.
But there it was in the sidebar story the Seattle Times run with the profile. He was asked about his own personal “do not eat” list.
I am not saying Bill’s “do not eat” list falls outside his area of expertise. I am saying celebrities get asked that sort of question. Then everybody can have a big dustup over what the celebrity says.
As measured by the comments to the Seattle Times in the 48 hours after the articles were published that is pretty much what happened.
For the record, Bill’s verboten list includes raw oysters or raw fish, sprouts, bagged leafy greens, hotdogs, and raw milk or unpasteurized juice, and–no surprise–hamburgers.
After reading about four dozen comments to Bill’s list, I finally realized none of these people would care about it if it were my list or my dog’s list. But as a reaction to a celebrity, it all makes sense.
Until next time.