Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Yesterday's New York Times reported that Beverly Hills, California has let go its ambassador, Gregg Donovan, who for the past decade has greeted tourists in a top hat and red tailcoat with polyglot shouts of "Welcome to Beverly Hills!" According to the Times, the official position of Beverly Hills Ambassador was created to help establish a friendlier atmosphere on Rodeo Drive after it developed a bad reputation when a fictional storekeeper demeaned a fictional prostitute played by Julia Roberts in a film about how the real lives of prostitutes are really quite a bit like the lives of every other character Ms. Roberts has ever portrayed. This is a bit confusing, since as the clip below illustrates, the simple solution is not to have the government throw money at problems by hiring yet another public employee at taxpayer expense. The solution, as any self-respecting woman knows, is to have a rich guy pay to enhance the self-esteem of working women.
Although Mr. Donovan is "without a doubt" the human being most photographed by tourists in the world, we have no copyright-free photograph to share, perhaps in part due to a contract dispute over Beverly Hills' right to continue to use Mr. Donovan's image in its brochures. When Beverly Hills gave Mr. Donovan his notice, it sent him a separation agreement in which he was to permit the city to continue to use his image in its promotional materials. Mr. Donovan refused to sign. According to the Times, he will still occasionally shout greetings to people on Rodeo Drive, just out of sheer love of his vocation, but he is also looking for other gigs.
Anybody out there looking for an ambassador? New York? Hollywood? Las Vegas?
Actually, after The Paper Chase, perhaps Harvard Law would benefit from an ambassador in Mr. Donovan's mold.