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My Failed Milwaukee Prank in Support of Cristina Daglas

Sometimes a great plan just goes pear shaped on you. Bay of Pigs, that sort of deal. Exactly how my day went.

This morning a guy by the name of Michael Horne wrote something about our new boss, Cristina Daglas, for an outfit called Urban Milwaukee. Horne’s column is called Plenty of Horne. I give the column name a solid B+. I have a weakness for puns. The column itself, though, rankled me. First of all, Horne referred to my Q&A with Cristina as a “chatty column that apparently passes for journalism in that city.” Second, Horne took shots at Cristina’s youth and the job she has done at Milwaukee Magazine. To wit: “During the Daglas era the magazine lightened up its coverage with more features on fashion, style, and trends. Milwaukee’s cupcake renaissance was not overlooked.”

There’s a backstory here. The editor of Urban Milwaukee is a guy named Bruce Murphy. Murphy was the editor at Milwaukee Mag before Cristina. Let’s just say the transition didn’t go smoothly. At least for Murphy. Horne at the time was a contributor to the magazine, and he claims in his column that Cristina “chewed him out” when he reported on the situation. Horne also claims that Cristina expunged his writing from Milwaukee Mag’s online archives. Got all that?

Anyway, the guy has an ax to grind. He poo-pooed my efforts. And, most important, he got all up in the grill of the newest member of the D editorial team. This I could not abide. So I sent the guy a trolling email, hoping to draw him offside. Like this:

I read with great interest today your column on the Urban Milwaukee site. I know the Q&A I did with Cristina wasn’t the most hard-hitting thing ever published, but you have to understand where I’m coming from. That girl is now my boss. I don’t want to make an enemy before she even moves to Dallas. My fear (and that among other staffers here) is that something akin to what happened at Milwaukee Mag is afoot here at D, too. Sweep out the people who’ve been here for years (aka, the expensive employees) and bring in a young, unproven female. Young means cheap; female means even cheaper. Well, that is, until she starts having anchor babies on the company insurance, which is going to drive up my damn premiums.

What happened next, I did not foresee. Horne didn’t respond. Instead, he passed along my email to Murphy, and he and I wound up on the phone. I went with the same plan and tried to troll him, too, get him to say horrible, nasty things about the lady who took his old job away from him. But you know what? Murphy couldn’t have been nicer about it. He positively gushed about Cristina and all that she has accomplished at Milwaukee Mag. He said he looked forward to seeing her contributions to D, and he and I agreed to stay in touch.

Screw me and my evil, black heart. There is an upside, though: now I’m even more pumped to work with Cristina.