Sunday, October 13, 2013

On the 5th Birthday of Dead Tree Edition, It's Time To Reveal the Real D. Eadward Tree

Five years and 601 articles ago today, a magazine-publishing veteran took on the identity of D. Eadward Tree and launched the Dead Tree Edition blog.

Rarely has the blog focused on Mr. Tree himself, under the assumption that the 700,000-plus unique visitors (some more unique than others) who have visited over the years were looking mostly for advice, insight, or maybe even entertainment. But the true identity of Mr. Tree has become a subject of great speculation and discussion in some publishing and printing circles, prompting a few of the blog’s followers to request that Dead Tree Edition celebrate its fifth birthday by spilling the beans.

A thorough reading of all 601 of those articles provides many hints as to Mr. Tree’s identity. It’s also a great cure for insomnia, unless you are that rare bird who happens to share all of Mr. Tree’s obsessions – such as making print more environmentally friendly, getting accurate benefits information to potential U.S. Postal Service retirees, reforming the way USPS calculates the cost of Periodicals mail, exposing “black liquor” government subsidies to U.S. pulp mills, and battling “go paperless” greenwash.

So to save you the trouble, here are some clues we dug up about Mr. Tree from his writings:

In 2010, a postal executive startled a meeting of postal officials and mailers’ representatives by announcing that Mr. Tree was none other than Patrick R. Donahoe, then the #2 man at USPS. Five months later, Donahoe became Postmaster General. A coincidence? You decide.

A couple of months later came another clue – that Mr. Donahoe, aka Mr.Tree, had starred in those “If it fits, it ships” Postal Service commercials. But Mr. Tree soon pooh-poohed that by claiming he was actually married to a prominent publishing-industry pundit.

Confused yet? Just wait.

Only a Jew could have written this headline: Call a mohel, this baby's growing!. But the article Re-Righting The Bible: No More Namby-Pamby Peacemaking suggests a familiarity with the New Testament that only a Christian would have. And articles like Playboy and Virgin Fail to Hook Up suggest a total lack of spirituality.

An object of fantasies?
What’s clear is that he works in the magazine industry and is a self-described “print guy” (even a printing geek) and “an environmentalist who buys a lot of paper.” But he’s definitely not part of what he calls “the New York publishing elite.”

His LinkedIn profile places him in Hawaii, which should narrow things down a lot. But he claimed in an interview that the Hawaiian thing was a (lame) joke and that he actually inhabits a parallel universe.

He hangs around bookstores and doesn’t date Cosmo readers, he told us three years ago. And regarding a magazine cover of Rosie O’Donnell that has now appeared three times on Dead Tree Edition, we note Mr. Tree’s comment, “Hubba, hubba, Rosie in a bathrobe!” Perhaps a glimpse of his secret, twisted fantasies?

In early 2010 he revealed that he has a nephew – and an apparent appreciation for James Brown. An article he wrote last year for Publishing Executive magazine pays homage to The Who (See me, Sniff me, Touch me, Peel me) and Madonna. And the opening sentence of his next PubExec article ripped off “should threaten to undo us” from Martin Luther’s “A Mighty Fortress.”

Rather diverse musical tastes for one person, wouldn’t you say?

Has it ever occurred to you that Mr. Tree is confused about his own identity?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Several years ago I did a Google search of Mr. Tree's favorite topics, and prior to five years ago there was a guy up in Wisconsin I believe that wrote about the same things prior, things like black tar or something like that, that are pertinent to magazine publishing. I forget his name, but he is not the PMG, but rather an obscure magazine-associated individual in Wisconsin. I contacted him several years ago. We'll see if I'm right. Tom Wakefield,