But really, what are we to do with young people like the Iowa State students sitting behind me last week on the MegaBus to Des Moines, who said "like"—and I would not exaggerate with you—an average of 22 times per minute. I counted the "likes" during 10 separate minutes of their conversation. Their record was 26, in 60 seconds.
How did they do it? "So I was like, I'm trying to get drunk on ten dollars. Like, how do I do that? And like, the bartender was like ..."
I really did come close to turning around and addressing them. "Young ladies," I would have begun. "Do you, like, think you can, like, stop talking like that when you're, like, in a job interview? If so, then perhaps you can explain to me why you don't stop talking like that right now?"
Honestly, I am disappointed in myself for not having enough respect for their humanity to confront them. Next time, I swear I'll do it.
A friend on Facebook wrote yesterday: "Michigan queers who are into the marriage thing: if there is a court decision today that allows for a window of marriage equality, I can officiate. Feel free to put people in touch with me!"
I think I understand the context in which some gay people call one another "queers." For the same time-honored reason that African-Americans took over rights to use the n-word, and some Polish people call themselves and one another "pollocks," some disabled people call themselves "cripples."
You can't hurt me by calling me the name I call myself.
But most white people and black people agree that the diarrhetic use of the n-word in music lyrics becomes less justifiable as the use of the word in the original pejorative context decreases.
So isn't the gratuitous use of "queer," in a world where no one under 70 would imagine using "queer" as a slur, also beginning to sound, if not old-fashioned, at least a little ... queer?
I'm not telling. I'm asking.
After a year of leadership disarray, the International Association of Business Communicators embarks on the search for its next director a sadder and wiser girl.
Or it should, anyway.
IABC is hoping to announce the winning candidate by March, but "the real question is what is the process for choosing a new ED and the skill set the Board is looking for," a longtime IABC insider told me recently. "It was a disastrous process last time, which made the Board feel locked into choosing [Chris] Sorek. If they have learned their lesson about the hiring process, the association can indeed rebuild."
From the press release, it's hard to gleen much, probably by design:
"As IABC continues to work toward creating more value for its members and the global communication profession, we are seeking a dynamic executive director to lead the charge and continue to strengthen IABC’s market position as the professional association of choice for communication professionals," said Daniel Munslow, search committee chair. “We expect this search will yield a candidate with great leadership skills and a passion for the communication profession.”
The basic question is, will the committee seek an association management pro, or a communication professional with the skills to manage a professional association? Or can they hope to find someone who's got both qualifications, as did Sorek's predecessor, Julie Freeman a dozen years ago? She had an MBA and an APR and had run a professional association.
Setting aside the difficulty of imagining that anyone with a semblance of human life force left in his or her soul would choose a career as simultaneously drudgerous and dangerous, as at-once harried and hen-pecked as "association management" ... an association pro seems appropriate.
After all, an IABC executive director is completely surrounded by professional communicators—a dozen on the International Executive Board, hundreds more in regional and chapter leadership and 14,000 in the at-large membership. I think it's best for an ED to know how to steer an association. And of course any good association chief is no stranger to communication, whether or not he or she has a "passion for the communication profession." (Before coming to IABC, Freeman had run an association of picture framers.)
A guest post by Boe Workman, director of CEO communication, AARP
On February 27, 1860, Abraham Lincoln gave his famed Cooper Union speech that launched his presidential bid. While the speech dealt primarily with the issue of slavery in the territories, it also dealt with the issue of divisiveness in the government. Much of what Lincoln had to say is eerily reminiscent of our situation today with the positions of both parties on the government shutdown. Consider, for example, these two passages from Lincoln’s Cooper Union speech.
In addressing the Southerners directly, Lincoln said,
Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events.
Under all these circumstances, do you really feel yourselves justified to break up this Government unless such a court decision as yours is, shall be at once submitted to as a conclusive and final rule of political action? But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!”
To be sure, what the robber demanded of me—my money—was my own; and I had a clear right to keep it; but it was no more my own than my vote is my own; and the threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle.
And, in addressing his colleagues in the Republican Party, Lincoln said,
A few words now to Republicans. It is exceedingly desirable that all parts of this great Confederacy shall be at peace, and in harmony, one with another. Let us Republicans do our part to have it so. Even though much provoked, let us do nothing through passion and ill temper. Even though the southern people will not so much as listen to us, let us calmly consider their demands, and yield to them if, in our deliberate view of our duty, we possibly can. Judging by all they say and do, and by the subject and nature of their controversy with us, let us determine, if we can, what will satisfy them.
Obviously, the issues today are different (it’s not slavery in the territories, but Obama Care) and the roles are different (substitute Democrats for Republicans, which in itself is interesting), but the sentiment certainly applies and the parallels are striking. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another civil war to resolve this impasse.
You sneeze on the bus and no one says anything.
You sneeze again. Nothing.
You sneeze a third time and someone says, "Bless you!"
Which is nice-person for, "Stop that!"
Alas, communicators don't run the world. (Lawyers do.)
So you've got to go online to hear the first episode of TV@Work—a warm, colorful, lighthearted but informative interview with Mark Kraynk, creator of the Strategic Video Awards-winning video series, "PayPal in 90 Seconds."
The podcast is affilliated with Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson's For Immediate Release podcast (which is the NBC, ABC, CBS and HBO of corporate communications), and you can enjoy it here.
Rumor has it that Shewchuk—who I have known since I was a 24-year-old assistant editor at Ragan Communications, wondering whether corporate communication had enough truly interesting characters to be worthy of sincere study—will interview me for a future episode of TV@Work.
I'm not sure I'll be interesting, but I know Ron will. Stay tuned.