All week long I heard the coyote howl as the moon, a waning crescent, receded further. It is the season of the coyote, not just here in the Olympic Mountains, but throughout the land as Trickster reveals itself in many permutations. The Makah, on the coast of the Olympic Peninsula and the Colville east of the Cascades have their legends of Trickster and you can see its handiwork often on Strumpette and through those who practice public relations on a higher level. The coyote alerts us to its presence, teases us with illusions, and then disappears into the woods. Where will it pop up again? Trickster Makes This World, here we'll attempt to navigate through it.
There were some fireworks on Strumpette last week, beginning with the Weinberger vs. Keen intellectual brawl that seemed oddly like a breakthrough and sparked its own brawl between Amanda and Jeff as to meaning, intonations, words, intent and the disruptive forces we live with. Growing up in public relations meant suspension of critical thinking, suspension of opinion, as we become empty vessels to be filled by client’s billable hours. Open, intellectual sparring is new to this profession and threatens the ad and marketing guys for primacy in the discussion about communications. PR is still the poor step child in the communications mix – we don’t get that money on the table being allocated for ‘new media’ or Internet-based strategies. But at least we are driving the dialogue.
Speaking of dialogue, MWW CEO Michael Kempner has not posted on his blog “Straight Talk,” for over five weeks. Aedhmar Hynes, CEO of Text 100 International, has not met a Monday deadline for her blog “Monday Morning” since May 3. A scan around for PR firm CEOs shows little or no blogging activity, except for Richard Edelman who has been a consistent blogger since he launched almost three years ago. You see mostly bland statements, constricted, safe analysis, and repetitive PR for PR. The top PR firms went on a blog binge and then realized they had nothing to say. Or, as in the case of Kempner, you wondered why anybody led them to believe they had something to say in the first place. A brief tour around the PR blogosphere:
- Harold Burson on his blog is troubled by the notion of “great results with a ridiculously low budget.” Really? Is he more comfortable with no results for an absurdly inflated budget?
- Fleishman-Hillard titillates us with this oh-so-sexy come-on: “The FH Kansas City and FH D.C. Digital Communications teams united during tax season 2006 to plan and execute a digital strategy to compliment H&R Block's first annual National Tax Advice Day (NTAD).” Oh behave, you wild people at F-H. Is it true that the account team on this worked in the nude to feel the raw power of this cataclysmic story?
- At Weber Shandwick we see that the big message is “Today, we’re putting advocacy at the heart of everything we do,” meaning that yesterday they were not your advocates and tomorrow, well, you’re on your own. We heard from unreliable sources that Weber Shandwick CEO Harris Diamond bitch slapped MWW’s Michael Kempner when he advocated too heartily for Hillary Clinton on his blog, so this may be mere smokescreen. Client advocacy may be a radical notion at Weber Shandwick. They need time to get used to the idea slowly.
- B.L. Ochman, occupying a paranormal black hole, offered that we should re-read the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July. Get it – July 4th, independence? Anyway, we are sorry to hear that B.L.’s cat, Blogola, had to be euthanized when its tongue caught fire after licking the hot Nikon D80 camera as it was attempting to take a self-portrait. We have not received the copy of the report MWW reputedly issued to Nikon claiming this as a “hit,” complete with a blurry close-up of sizzled cat tongue.
- And it was reported here last week by Amanda Chapel that Burson-Marsteller CEO Mark Penn has been accused of illegal wiretapping. Penn’s bio on the B-M site states: “Mark has been called "Master of the Message" by Time Magazine; "The king of polls" by the London Times; and an "incandescent intellect" by the New York Times.” We heard that PR Wreck is contemplating naming Penn “King of Bull,” but the competition is stiff.
Lastly, we heard that Penn’s defense is that he has an ability to intuit messages telepathically and to transmit them wirelessly through Bluetooth devices, and this actually qualifies him to be his own branch of government (not that new branch currently occupied by Dick Cheney). If Penn kills himself it will naturally be assumed that it was because he was having an affair with Hillary Clinton.
We should not jump to conclusions. It could just be the baying of the Trickster.
Mark Rose is founder and CEO of RosePR/new media, offering best-of-breed digital communications strategies and resources. He is also editor of PRBlogNews , a web publication focusing on public relations practices in the digital age.