Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Seeking a Title

I'm stuck on an unhappy theme tonight.

Observation #1.
You know the recession is bad when...
I heard a radio ad for a cemetery yesterday. YES, a cemetery. I know advertising is struggling but how cheap are radio ads now that cemetery's are buying up 30 second spots? And is business down enough that they need to advertise? This recession is more far reaching than we all thought apparently...

Observation #2.
From the Washington PO-Bama...My favorite newspaper. To use as kindling.
I will admit The Post does one thing very well - The Sunday obituaries.

They usually spotlight one person and write a long article abut their life. Its always something very cool like someone who escaped a concentration camp, swam to America and has been running a shoe shop on Capitol Hill where every President since Kennedy sent their shoes to get shined. Or something like that...

One thing that has always bugged me though is the Post will always put the person's job title under their name:

Jane Smith
Office Clerk

John Doe
Auto Mechanic

Joe Smith

DC more than any other city, I think, is very title driven. In NY people are money driven. You could be an "investment associate" but you're making 6 figures. In DC people love their titles. So you might be an "Second Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Commerce" making $24,000 a year but you proudly hand out your business card at every opportunity and also mention you have a security clearance.

Note: You better address people the right way in this city or Senator Boxer will yell at you. Even if you served just one term of Congress (2 years) you are to be addressed as "Congressman" for life.

Typically the rest of the obit read as follows "Joe Smith passed away Friday. He was a lawyer with Smith, Johnson, Brucker, Johnson, Hippopotamus & Frank firm in DC and retired in 1972. He is survived by..."

Usually these people have been retired for 20 or 30 years but the job is what is in bold under your name if you happen to kick the bucket in DC.

It used to make me wonder what I would want under my name? At this point, it would say "Sales Representative". Ick.

But what about Good friend? Charity Fundraiser? Ornery Blog Writer? Helped an Old Lady Across the Street Once? World Traveller? I like the last one.

First question usually asked of a stranger in DC "Soooo, where do you work?"

People focus on work too much here. And then they spend two hours a day getting to and from work. I don't think I have ever been right for this city and its title driven ways. Or maybe I was in my early 20's and have mellowed. Or getting canned from my job put things in perspective. Or maybe it was reading the news last night and realizing that sometimes people don't make it home from work.

All day, my thoughts have been with the families of the 9 people who died on the Metro yesterday.

But even when writing about this tragedy the Post did something to support my point about where this city's priorities seem to be...It wrote a nice tribute to the 9 victims. Well, 8 of them anyway...Each victim got a little bio/tribute. General Wherley got a nice bio but his wife who died with him on the train got no bio. She was referred to as the wife of the general.

I made a comment to the Post on their website about this. "Hey, where is Mrs. Wherley's tribute? She deserves something too" My comment got deleted. I wrote a comment about my comment getting deleted and they put my original comment back up.

I noticed a few hours later that the story had been updated:
"Wherley's wife, Ann Wherley, 62, a mortgage banker, was also killed."

All they added was her title...

(PS: I pray that the families of the 9 victims, with time, can find peace again)

(PPS: I am bipartisan in my media criticism. FoxNews.com did something dumb today too. See anything wrong with this picture below?)

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