Dear Barb Abney:
I read the news yesterday, and I cried for you, for us, for me, and for Minnesota. Barb, (can I call you Barb? I imagine you saying yes, as if we are having a strong Jameson before noon.)
You are a heroine of mine, for so many reasons I can’t even describe here. As an unemployed person searching for work, your voice during the 10-2 slot would see me to interviews and comfort me when they were over.
But that isn’t why I heroine worship you. You made me believe that working at a dream job, let alone, finding one, is possible. You showed me that a beautiful, plus size woman could have the job of her dreams. Every time you opened Wits, you gave my husband and me hope that I, too, would one day find my dream job. I love Wits and John Moe is my husband’s hero, but I loved going because I would get to see you, in person, admire your clothes, heroine worship you from afar.
I’m truly sorry this happened to you. I can’t say I know your devastation because I’ve never had a dream job. In my experience, people like to victim blame when you are fired or are unemployed. Even your closest friends will say, “Well, what do you think you did or are doing wrong?” You doubt yourself, you fear for the future, you feel like a failure, worthless, and alone.
I’m here to say, Barb, you are perfect. And you have fans. REAL FANS. People who would show up to places just to see you. And that, my friend, means that of all those feelings you may be having, the one I hope you have is PISSED OFF. REALLY PISSED OFF. I hope you have images of taking cases of the 89.3 beer and spraying it all over the cars of those who claim that you didn’t belong. To little bitty me, you belong any where and every where.
I’m sure you’re seeing the news media attempt to blame you. Know this, Barb, they have to victim blame because you’re firing is horrific, it’s beyond what people can comprehend. John Hunt puts this in far better prose:
I’ve also heard from a lot of people who are waiting to hear “the whole story.” The phrase “the whole story” suggests that there’s something we’re not hearing — some incident or flap if you will that will explain everything. Barb got into a fight at the 10th Anniversary concert when she was drunk and called the wrong person a douchebag, or something like that. It would allow us to nod, go “ahhhh, I see,” and go on loving The Current with a little “tut-tut” at Barb for fucking up. Ah well. Shrug. Things happen.
Just know that the majority of the people know what’s going on, again I return to Hunt:
The thing is, I would literally bet the farm (if, indeed, I owned a farm) that there is no other side of the story. That the “other side” is just a tale of accountants and budgets and money and people looking at charts of demographics and market share . . . So, now, there it is. The Current at 10. Full of amazing DJs who absolutely deserve your love and who genuinely believe in the music they play, the scene they’re part of, and the bands they champion. Full of marketing people who play off your love of these DJs to create and craft an image that allows you to believe that you help steer the ship. Full of mid-level managers who have been patting each other on the backs for several months for making it this far, knowing full well they were about to shitcan an actual human being who worked for them. And full of C-level people who are probably 100% removed from the love and devotion and art and idealism you assign them — suits, The Man, reptiles all.
Fans are up in arms, revoking memberships and speaking out against this travesty. Please know that you are loved and worshiped, from a far. You are supported and the way you handled your firing was with dignity and class. You truly are one of the greats.
You have been my inspiration to get through my unemployment, I’d love to give you what else has helped me through. As women, we get it, just naturally. We aren’t treated equally to men due to stereotypes and fall victim to ingrained, what seems to be an acceptable form of, sexism. We are all still talking about the glass ceiling for God’s sakes in 2015. I seek solace in a quote by Jill Abramson, the first female editor of the New York Times who was fired because of her “managing style” (yeah, we all know what that means: she was seen as a bitch, not as assertive), in spite of the fact the Times won four Pulitzer Prizes in one year under her reign.
Is it hard to say I was fired? No. I’ve said it about 20 times, and it’s not. I was in fact insistent that that be publicly clear because I was not ashamed of that. And I don’t think women–it’s hard I know–they should not feel stigmatized if they are fired. Especially in this economy, people are fired right and left for arbitrary reasons, and there are sometimes forces beyond your control.
Barb, it’s not your fault, and I know this will be an open wound, for you and for your fans for a very, very long time. I know your email and twitter accounts are filling to the brim with positive vibes and well wishes.
Just remember: You are Barb Fucking Abney! You’re gonna land on your feet. One day you will dance the dance of a healed heroine, while crushing Current beer cans under your feet. You will be a Pheonix.
But for now, let’s just sit and drink our Jameson.