Wednesday, April 18, 2018

1933 Everyone Needs a Fixer

Mike “Tom Hagen” Cohen may be trump and Hannity’s fixer.  But he’s certainly not the first and he won’t be the last.

Not exactly a job you can find on LinkedIn or Monster-dot-com. And no one posts these job openings in a public space -- at least not yet.  But there are plenty of them in the woodwork and while helpful, you don’t need to be a termite to find them.

Most of us don’t remember Eddie Mannix. He was Hollywood’s go to guy to make sure the public images of stars were, shall we say, normalish. And there’s famous fixer Anthony Pellicano, of Michael Jackson and John DeLorean fame.  He’ll soon be out of jail.

It’s not restricted to Hollywood as we’re finding out.  Take a look at New York’s Ben Brafman and Washington’s Bob Strauss.  And the ever reliable “crisis manager” Judy Smith, also of Washington.

The popular definition of a 21st century fixer is the same as the popular definition of a 1970s street pimp: He or she does nothing, but does it with great style.

The definition is good as far as it goes. But fixers really don’t do actual nothing.  They pick up phones or connect their clients with payments.  Most of them, like the pimps of yesteryear, work on commission.

There are so many around these days, they might have to advertise much like personal injury lawyers.  One I knew personally but whose name won’t be disclosed in order to protect my remaining good knee, got paid a couple of grand just to pick up the phone and advise a scandalmonger to stand down, even if he shouldn’t have.

Of course, everyone today is a star, if nowhere else but in their minds. And therefore, everyone needs a fixer.  

But especially guys like trump. Man, wouldn’t you like to have been a fly on Mikey’s wall? Think of the dirt you could dish. The presidency brought no change in this president’s modus operandi. He’s been the same for … well, forever.

Of course, after one “fixes” for a while, a problem can develop. Like Cohen, they may do things that lead to the need for fixer fixers.  And that can spark a chain reaction.  Cohen needs a fixer.  Then Cohen’s fixer needs a fixer and then the fixer of the fixer of the fixer needs a fixer.  

And there’s risk.  Sometimes, fixer’s fixer’s fixers stop in their tracks and don’t know where they are or what they’re doing.

This is a condition known as Fixer’s Block. It’s like writer’s block. Except that when you have writer's block you can simply keep working.  Fixing, on the other hand, is like a game of musical chairs. And when the fixing stops, someone gets hurt.

Of course, there’s always a major alternative: don’t break anything.  Like your vows or promises or contracts. It’s easier than you think.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2018

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