Published on: June 10, 2010Now available on iTunes…
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Hi, I’m Kevin Coupe, and this is MNB Radio, available on iTunes and brought to you this week by Webstop, experts in the art of retail website design.
Something’s been eating at me since it came up on MNB earlier this week. I want to return to it, if you don’t mind, because I think it illustrates a broader issue.
No, it isn’t the subject of gender discrimination. I think we’ve exhausted that particular item for the moment...unless of course David Livingston decides to write me another email that I cannot resist posting. (I didn’t even post the messages in which he told me that many of his friends are wealthy women, that none of them have ever “played the victim,” but that out of a sense of male guilt he was going to take one of his female contractors to lunch...at Hooters. Oops. I guess I just did post it, didn’t I?)
No, the email I want to refer to is the one that accused me of “unabated adulation of Walmart.”
I hope that I put that illusion to rest the other day when I listed some of the things I like about Walmart and some of the things I don’t.
But the more I think about it, the more I think that this email reflects something other than general antipathy towards Walmart - it points to a willingness (and I think we’re all guilty of this to some extent) to draw the easy conclusion, to find the easy answer, to paint with the broadest brush and the starkest colors.
There’s no room for context, for nuance, for the shades and more muted colors with which most issues should be and are painted. It is more and more often true these days in business, in politics, in religion, in culture. None of us are the better for this trend.
The problem, of course, is that our society often feeds at the trough of easy answers, simplistic thought and the convenient sound bite. Radio and television stations feast on such things for fun and profit, consultants and self styled gurus love to paint one side as wearing white hats and other wearing black, and, quite frankly, we all respond to such stuff because it is easier to embrace an ideology than actually consider the possibility that things aren’t as simple or black-and-white as we’d like them to be.
Y’know, Walmart has plenty of good ideas, lots of terrific people, and has made - and will continue to make - some important contributions to American and global commerce. That doesn’t make the company good or bad and certainly not perfect. And saying so doesn’t mean I am guilty of “unabated adulation” of the company. It just means that I am willing to consider the possibility that life and business are not simple constructs, and that there is something to learn from almost everyone.
For MNB Radio, I’m Kevin Coupe.
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