Published Saturday, June 27, 2009 | 4:11 p.m.
Updated Saturday, June 27, 2009 | 5:24 p.m.
Mayor Oscar Goodman knows books. He reads voraciously, a novel a week on average. But ask him about Facebook, and he’s adrift in the snow like Eric LeMarque on Mammoth Mountain.
Somewhere in my travels with Goodman, he’s offered that he doesn’t know his way around the Internet, or necessarily even computers. He doesn’t use e-mail, either, writing notes by hand to staffers, contacts and colleagues in a communications style reminiscent of Howard Hughes.
Nearly every time I run into the mayor, which is usually as he’s being roasted (as he was in March at the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth fundraiser at Green Valley Ranch) or frozen (as he was Tuesday during an ice-visage unveiling at Minus 5 at Mandalay Place), he barks the same complaint: Where's the work? We conduct all these interviews for print and video, yet he never reads or sees them -- he says he has not watched or read the multimedia account of New Year’s Eve, for instance. At Minus 5, Goodman called me a “fraud,” jokingly I think, because I do all this work following him around and interviewing, and he hardly ever sees the work anywhere because almost all of it is on the Internets, easily traceable by using the Google.
Honestly, it was a little difficult to accept being dressed down by the mayor on Tuesday, because he was wearing an Iceberg Slick-meets-Dr. Zhivago faux coat-and-hat ensemble atypical of a high-level public servant. But I always give those who pop off while clinging to Martini No. 3 a little rope because, hell, we’ve all been there, right?
I usually explain to the mayor that he needs to learn the finer points of Internet usage, such as powering on the laptop. Or maybe, first, purchasing a laptop. Visiting a public library and signing in to use a laptop, maybe. As it is, I’ve suggested maybe a mayoral subordinate who does understand the Internet simply print out everything written about him online and drop it on his desk (if this person can find space on Goodman’s desk amid his various commendations, self-styled bobble-heads and honors to set this material). I have also offered to simply call him and read to him everything I’ve written about him, which of course would lead to more comments from the mayor as he hears what’s been reported, which I’d post online, and welcome to the vicious circle.
The mayor should set a goal to be trained to use all of these online tools. Set up a Facebook page, for starters. Embrace e-mail. I see the time when Goodman will not only suggest reading Aravind Adiga’s “The White Tiger,” but he’ll tweet about it.