The reason we like the Balloon Boy story is that it represents the one thing we can agree on as a nation. We quarrel about the legitimacy of flu fears, military queers and Glenn Beck's tears. But we join hands with all American brothers and sisters—indeed with billions of soul siblings around the world—in warm agreement on one common truth: This Richard Henne dude is a real fucking asshole.
More locally to our little communication industry, can we find unity in agreeing that this person, who made a comment on another communications website, is also an asshole?
I won't do him the favor of identifying him by name except to say he calls himself the "World's first MARKETING SOCIOLOGIST." In-apropos to the subject being discussed, he grouses:
My career plan was to go into public relations. When I started, it was REQUIRED that you have a 10 year minimum on the media side so you understood the media.
That is why public relations is dying. I was at a forum this weekend populated by hundreds of PR practitioners. Why was I the only one in the place who knew what the RACE formula was?
Most did not know what SWOT or the 4Ps of marketing were either. These are people getting $350 for their advice. I'm open for new clients at not even a fraction of that cost. …
Let us tally the obnoxiousness, the dishonesty and self-pity spilling out of those three short paragraphs:
1. It is my contention that a college-age person whose "career plan" is to go into public relations lacks (like Richard Henne) humanity and intelligence both. I mean, if you're going to do something as morally dreary as PR, why not do something that you could make some money at?
2. Are we to believe that you followed your career plan and slaved away as a journalist for a decade just so you could leap out of purgatory and into PR? And during that decade no editor explained to you that towns are "populated," while forums are "attended."
3. And how did you confirm, Mr. Former Journalist, that you were "the only one in the place" who knew what the "RACE" formula was? And did it occur to you that maybe the RACE formula—Research, Action, Communication, Evaluation—is something these pros have maybe sort of internalized by this point?
4. But you're not finished, are you, Roy G. Biv? You say that "most" of the PR peeps at this conference didn't know "SWOT" (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) or the "4ps" (Product, Price, Place, Promotion). Do you also have formulas for tying your shoes and zipping up your pants? And do you doubt my competence, because I perform those tasks on pure instinct?
5. Let's not indulge in brain teasers like, How can you charge an hourly amount that is "not even a fraction" of $350? Instead, let us ask: Who is on thinner ice than a PR man who grouses that undeserving others are getting more money than he is? PR man, public relate thyself! Oh, I forgot. You already do. You're the World's First Marketing Sociologist.
And, we hope, the world's last.