Friday, December 11, 2009

Missing the Roast

Missing the Roast
You know the kind of roast I mean. The one where Shekie Green and Dean Martin and a bunch of rat pack type comics “honor” one of their own with quips and friendly insults. Maybe, just maybe, a classier form of the tradition is the annual Washington D.C. Press Association roast of the President. Sometimes, the roast in D.C. is a little too close to the policy bone, sometimes it creates new comic heroes (Steven Colbert of Northwestern). Some years it should just be cancelled when even the press and the president can’t seem to put any distance between their actions, their points of view (GW Bush) and their funny bones. The Northwestern University version of this oddly American tradition is the nearly annual Integrated Marketing Communications Department Roast of the faculty by the graduate students. I believe it would be fair for me to say that I encouraged the first of the roasts in 1991. However, the tradition may have come and gone and come again over the years in Medill. The PR group at that time listened to me when I told them (as they got upset with our classes, exams, class schedules, technology failures, late hours - sound familiar?) to “write it down and then get us later at a roast”. They liked the idea. I liked the idea of deferring the pain (hoping some of the stories would be lost).

I am a bit worried as I sit typing this unpostable blog in China (see China blog above) in the Pudong Airport (see UAL above) that I will miss the roast at 2 p.m. today (of course I am flying east and gain a day). I think that the students have two versions of each sketch (a tough one and a tougher one). The tough one is meant for the professor when he is in the audience. It is tough enough (pictures of me and Albert Einstein as a comparison….of our both having “bad hair years”). Now I can handle that jab (I have had to for many years). However, I think they have a double tough version if the professor is foolish enough to be out of town or trapped in Shanghai.
My prediction for this year’s roast is that one way or another; I will be roasted for teaching them the value of the on-line software – SecondLife. I thought I might send my avatar to the roast but that would incur more jibs and jabs ( I must not have explained it well enough last January that millions of productive business hours (and even more wasted personal hours for netizens) are used on SecondLife. My favorite use is not to role play, change gender or drink and smoke but to attend lectures and meetings where (like IBM, Gronstedt Group and dozens of leading universities you can hold classes and discussions). I just hope that the roasters are not too mean (I can take it), but I may have the last roast the first time I attend a meeting, seminar with them and their bosses on SecondLife (or Thirdlife). Enjoy, I am sorry I am not there, but I promise to watch the illegally recorded video posted on Youtube!

PS I ran into some IMCers in the airport in Chicago and, sure enough, my profile was all done in avatar!

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