conversation is an engine

A lot can happen in a conversation

Bill Moyers: Serving “News” like the Butler Serves Tea on Downton Abbey

leave a comment »

Do Not: Do Not Disturb the Master Class

All of us can stand a bit of disruption from time to time.

David Uberti wrote recently in the Columbia Journalism Review about PBS pulling ads from Harper’s Magazine as retribution for an article critical of PBS. PBS exists as a non-commercial, educational media channel. But the critical Harper’s article by Eugenia Williamson pointed out

…that the idealistic, Great Society-era initiative often behaves more like a corporate or political organism.

And so, a fit of ad-pulling ensued. But it was this candid, PBS-critical quote from the patron saint of public broadcasting that caught my ear:

Our Washington coverage, by design or not, serves up ‘news’ the way the butler serves tea on Downton Abbey, so as not to disturb the master class.

–Bill Moyers

Tea is served at the Pittock Mansion

Tea is served at the Pittock Mansion

Wherever you land in your organization, there is some grand narrative at work that guides all involved. That grand narrative is often a good thing and useful. It is often laden with meaning that helps us do our jobs. But it is not a perfect narrative—never is—and parts call out to be challenged by practitioners.

After all, it is the disruptive conversations that lodge in our brain pans. Those conversations we cannot forget sometimes actually open our clam shell brains to something new. And that is the way of both innovation and truth-telling.

Many of us—especially the people-pleasers among us—are careful to assemble conversations that do not disturb the people around us. I am guilty of this. But truth-telling must necessarily veer from the party line.

If only because sometimes the party line veers from truth.

###

Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Advertisements

But wait--what do you think? Tell me:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: