Over the weekend, I was alerted to the fact that a TikTok video viewed by millions used my author photo as the face of taco salad orderers everywhere.
Okay … I guess that’s right, because I do order taco salads. Having a severe dairy allergy kind of mandates that I select the safer option when ordering at a cheese-laden Mexican restaurant.
The comments beneath the video — which made me feel my creaky middle age — spurred me to write an oped about the experience of having my face used in a viral TikTok video.
The experience reminded me of the time when, on Christmas 2020, a student of mine let me know that my photo had been used by a YouTuber who wanted to “infiltrate” neighborhood Facebook groups using a fake account using my supposedly trustworthy face.
Here’s the link to the oped published today in the Boston Globe:
The Boston Globe’s Sunday, May 14 edition ran a “Story Behind the Book” feature on Mr. Clark’s Big Band.
Writer Kate Tuttle wrote of the book:
In Mr. Clark’s Big Band: A Year of Laughter, Tears and Jazz in a Middle School Band Room, O’Brien chronicles that first painful year after [Eric] Green’s death, as Jamie Clark and his musicians pulled together to remember Eric. “They wanted Eric Green to be memorialized,” she said. “I think it was very healing for them to be part of the process, and then for the kids who were in music to play the song that was written for Eric.”
At a time when arts education is often threatened in public school budgets, O’Brien argues for its importance. “For these particular kids, the emotional outlet that the music provided them, I think it was very powerful,” she said. “To these kids the music was their way of saying ‘We care; we love you; we miss you.’ ”