As a facilitator of group sessions, on leadership development or talking with the media or tatting, I often, when I remember to, give out a Smartass Award. Somebody shoots off a zinger nailing me or a corporate sacred cow or a boss who can take it, and I’ll toss out a T-Shirt or a book or some Fruit Loops and have everyone applaud the Smartass Award Winner. People like it, they like laughing, and it takes their mind off the issue of whether they’re actually learning anything in my session.
So, let’s import this concept into The Same Rowdy Crowd and start a tradition. Let’s give a SmartAss Award to someone in Minnesota, or a Minnesotan out in the warmer world, who lets fly with a turn of phrase that makes us all wish we’d said that — or had the guts to say that.
We’ll celebrate a winner whenever one of us stops watching As The World Turns long enough to pay attention to local communications.
Our inaugural winner is Paula Maccabee, an attorney for WaterLegacy, an environmental group wishing the DNR would do a little more hearing at its hearings.
In a Tom Meersman story in the StarTribune, the DNR gets a little seemingly deserved heat for informational meetings this week on a copper nickel mining project in Northeastern Minnesota. There will be information presented to the public, but no open microphones for public comment. People can, however, line up and give their views to — drumroll — stenographers. Really.
Now public hearings can get pretty rowdy (and that’s a bad thing why?) and they can become Kabuki Theater if too many PR types like us draft astroturf “public” comments. So I get the desire to keep things more orderly. But having people talk to stenographers? Takes all the fun out of it.
So up steps Counselor Maccabee, quoted by Meersman:
“The agencies have taken both ‘public’ and ‘information’ out of the term ‘public information meeting.'”
You go, Paula!
SmartAss Award Numero Uno from The Same Rowdy Crowd.
Keep it smart out there, folks.
— Bruce Benidt