Oct. 16, 2008
The Rustics in Charge
As the bus pulled into the Hotel Roanoke parking lot, ending a tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway for a group of environmental journalists, one of the organizers of the seminar sidled over to me and said, “You know what I really liked is that your accents made this so authentic. Great stuff!”
Great, indeed. Quaint. Rustic. Maybe even a little on the provincial side. Big city journalists come to the wilds of Virginia to study the natives at work. This whole seminar thing, which I was pulled into as a “leader”, never did work out for me. I had a lot of trouble dealing with anal retentive organizers who gave instructions with one hand and pulled back the authority to carry them out with the other. They actually told me at one point that the three highly-qualified women helping me—all of them in PR for one organization or another—were “forbidden” to talk to environmental journalists in the organization. “For-freakin-bidden!” You have to know how I reacted to that.
Still, I got through it and when this rube made his accents remark, I reminded him that among our speakers Rupert Cutler is from Wisconsin, Tommy Denton from West Texas, Mary Bishop—though rustic—has a Pulitzer Prize, David Hill and Tom Cain are respected architects, Nancy McGhee is a PhD at Tech, David Radford could buy every journalist on the bus—even those from big cities—and that I had already won a career award in journalism while he was still being house broken.
You’d think somebody as worldly as this guy would understand that you’d better be careful who you’re condescending to. Could bite back.