This is a repost double feature. It is on the general subject of motivation, inspiration, and manipulation. Such things are like perfume…nice to sniff at, but dangerous to swallow. Pictures are from the ” Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”
Back when I was at redo blue, we traded some printing for a motivational speech. The speaker was D. J. Harrington. He came on stage with a telephone handset, demonstrating how to answer the telephone. There were a lot of statistics, like you get 50 percent more information when you use your left ear. ( This is a made up example, not a quote. I don’t remember any of his examples) It reminded me of something a teacher said once…: ” The best way to win an argument is to use statistics. The best way to get statistics is to make them up”
On the all important issue of what to say when you answer the squawk box, he suggested “How may I direct your call?” Now, I like to identify the company and myself as briefly as possible, and quit wasting the customer’s time. Mister customer knows why he called. HMIDYC is seven unnecessary syllables that do your customer no good.
As some of you know, I have a sensitive BS detector. This gets in the way of being “motivated”. When confronted with a entertainer motivational speaker, I try to glean one or two worthwhile tidbits. I give D.J.H. credit, he did make one good comment. “You must sell yourself first, your company second, and your product third” There are some idea mongers who feel I owe them my trust. I beg to differ.
Mr. Harrington used to call his dog and pony show “C*** U* F*** T** N*** U*.That phrase is currently a registered trademark of the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario and may be used with permission only.
Redo Blue was a diverse company. I suspect D.J.H. toned down some of the good ole boy touches from his presentation. Towards the end, he described a speech he gave in Oklahoma. “The only Catholics they have ever seen are Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne” He proceeded to tell a tasteless story about the Catholic Church. I was almost motivated to walk out.
In an early morning discourse, I said that Martin Niemöller was rolling in his grave looking for the royalties from his poem, “First they came…“. A little research later, I don’t think he ever wrote it down. For those of you with very short memories, here is the work…
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn’t a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
Martin Niemöller was the son of a Lutheran minister. In World War 1, he served on a U boat crew. Harold Marcuse tells this story: “Niemöller was a commander of a German U-boat in World War I. A seminal incident in his moral outlook, as he related in many public speeches later in his life, occurred when he commanded his submarine crew not to rescue the sailors of a boat he torpedoed, but let them drown instead. “
After the war Mr. Niemöller became a Lutheran Minister. He was originally a supporter of Mr. Hitler, but became an opponent. He was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1937 to 1945.
After the war, he began to speak out. The famous poem was derived from these speeches. It was never written down in typical poet fashion. There are several versions of it from him, and many more as the years rolled by. It has been quoted, updated, and quoted again.
In addition to the four groups mentioned above, the Nazis also came for mentally ill, incurably ill, or people in occupied countries. The legend is that when asked if he included Catholics, Mr. Niemöller said “I never said it. They can take care of themselves.” (If you have a few minutes to spare, the page that quote came from is worth looking at.) When the McCarthy fever hit America, he declined to mention Communists.
With regard to the royalties, I could not see that it was ever copyrighted. I do not know who “owns the rights”. Some have even speculated that the poem was not composed by Mr. Niemöller.
Recently, there was a blog post that quoted “First they came…” The post was about gay marriage. With all due respect to the people affected by this, the ability to marry someone of the same gender does not come close to a government killing six million Jews. .
There is the Rebel looking for a cause syndrome. Many people just want to fight about something, and the cause is secondary to the lust for battle. When a poem like this is used to fire up people for a shaky cause, it brings discredit to the poem..
There is the matter of the “Next Hitler” argument. During the run up to the first war against Iraq, Saddam Hussein was routinely called the next Hitler. While this may be a valid argument at times, it is like the boy who cried wolf if used too much. (This is also known as Godwin’s Law ).
Maybe a general moratorium is needed on the use of “First they Came…”