Can You Beat BP’s Ridiculous “Reports from the Gulf”?

Can you top the writing and reporting of BP flack Paula Kolmar? Drop your “reports” into the comments!



Among the various PR efforts that BP is engaged in, they’ve apparently sent out a “reporter” to file missives about the company’s efforts to stem the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

And what “Paula Kolmar” is writing tips well over the line of self-parody, into some kind of bizarro world where bullshit smells like puppies and champagne–and where cleaning up the oil spill while being slathered in tar balls and oil fumes is a bit like being embraced by Fabio in a grocery-store romance novel.

Here are some of our favorites. From a report titled “Ballet at Sea”:


I was on a jack-up boat observing the practice operations several miles out of Bayou La Batre on a day when the ocean was calm, except for the groups of dolphins swimming around us. Even a shark came along to watch the show. Hot, humid conditions intensified by bright sunlight in a cloudless sky were actually made pleasant by the salty sea breezes topped off with lots of sunscreen and bottles of water.

See! Cleaning up the spill is like a mixture of lounging on the beach and going on a whale-watching cruise! And it’s a pleasure to sniff the breeze and soak in the poetry of the clean-up:

From the relative comfort of a large square deck with a cold bottle of water always in hand, and an air-conditioned TV room with comfy sofas a level below, I witnessed beauty preparing to face the beast…A ballet at sea as mesmerizing as any performance in a concert hall, and worthy of an audience in its own right.

Makes your heart tingle, right? What beauty! And still, it goes on. From a report called “I saw the spill today”:

Seeing it real-time, up close, eyes-on is, oddly, an
inspiration to shake off the weariness, to look ahead, not behind, to
dig in and focus with vigour on the task at hand. Yes, I saw the oil
spill today. I saw the skimmers. I saw the relief well drill ships. I
saw the support vessels circling the incident site. It was indeed a
sobering privilege.

Another doozy, from “Family seafood business“:


“There is no reason to hate BP,” Betty says as the
three Martins analyze the situation from rockers on the front porch of
Elson and Betty’s home. (The Martins and their married children –
Jeffrey, Tanya Cheramie and Dana Gros – all live on the same short
street about three blocks from B&E Seafood. The six grandchildren
live on this street too.)

“The oil spill was an accident,” Elson says.

“This is an oilfield community,” Jeffrey adds. “Everybody has somebody –
a brother, a father – who works in the oilfield. People understand.”

We challenge anyone reading this to write the most ridiculous, over the top “report” about the BP spill they can muster. If we get good responses, we’ll highlight the best of the best in a separate post.

Please, limit your stories to 300 words: Anyone can write something ridiculous that goes on forever, but it takes a poison-tipped pen to cram maximum sarcasm into a minimum number of words.

About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.