When public events are secret

And now, ladies and gentlemen, observe the logic of public relations carried to its final absurdity -- concealing the location of highly publicized events. The Boston news media recently fell over themselves trying to find out where, when, or even if the Rolling Stones rock group was going to give a local performance before its current US tour. From all accounts the sure way for the Stones to cancel a show was for someone to leak where it might be. Meanwhile, farther west, South Africa's Springboks rugby team came out of hiding only after being scheduled to play anyplace except where it could be seen.

The situations were different in that the Stones didn't want to be overwhelmed by fans and the Springboks didn't want to be overwhelmed by nonfans. The results were the same, turning the idea of a public exhibition into a contradiction in terms.

But think if the idea of top secret appearances should catch on. Think if no one had been able to find "The Postman Always Rings Twice" even once. Think of the goodwill generated in nonaudiences spared of all the junk that now is not kept secret. That's public relations!

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