Parable

There was once a popular, admittedly imperfect blogger. She was well-educated, with a graduate degree from a select private university and a bachelor’s degree from a well-known State University. She often engaged difficult topics, and provided thoughtful, detailed descriptions about why she would engage specific subjects and topics. She was trying to make it as a freelance writer, and had several online curricula vitae publicly available at a few different social networking and career search websites. Her CV listed her educational profile, including the school names. She is actively involved in the State School’s alumni association, but in no way employed by the State School.

Someone in the PR department of her undergraduate school found her blog, and took issue with some of her posts, either the way they were written, or the material the blogger engaged. Little research would be needed to connect these blog posts and this blogger to the school in name. Several days later, the blogger received a letter stating:


 

“Dear Ms. Blogger, It has come to our attention that you are trying to make a living as an imperfect, but courageous writer. We wish our alumni could pursue any career they want in whatever manner they wish without risk of The State University being embarrassed by their efforts. Regrettably, we are somewhat alarmed by the prospect of being identified as the school at which you were educated. We prefer to be identified and associated only with alumni who have successful established careers, and no grammatical errors or potentially embarrassing issues addressed in their published works. We want you to become a writer whose works we would be proud to be associated with, and would like to offer some instruction towards that mutual goal. We advise you to remedy the following concerns.
First, you need to be in control of who and what sort of advertisements are visible on your blog. There must be no alcohol-related ads, and no allergy-related ads, and nothing related to guns, mental illness, or violence as these are particularly sensitive topics for our campus. We would advise you to make use of the PR editor we will provide to proofread every future article or post. If our staff is uncomfortable with the nature of the post, we will make suggestions about how you can remedy the issues of concern, and you can either adopt these suggestions, or will post an addendum at the bottom of the article stating: “I, Ms. Blogger, published this post without the express approval of my alma mater, The State University. All comments and opinions and subjects expressed in this post should be read with the knowledge that they are the express opinions of Ms. Blogger and not the opinions of The State University.”
You are, of course, welcome to pursue your writing career in whatever manner you wish, if you write under a pseudonym, rather than your name, which could be associated with The State University.
We ask that if you choose not to comply with the above recommendations you will remove The State University from your publicly visible curricula vitae, and may result in the withdrawal or suspension of the degree bestowed upon you by The State University.

Respectfully,
Jane Editor,
Director of Public Relations, The State University.”


 

How should Ms. Blogger respond?

Who is right? In what way?

What is the cost of doing relationship this way?

What issues arise in the context of this narrative?

What is your reaction to reading this narrative?

Please post comments below, as I hope for this to be a lively dialogue.

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Tell me a story…

I’ve been thinking about audiobooks for a few days. This is the third time in three years that I can remember having a string of days I spent thinking about audiobooks. Yet, I am not currently a consumer of audiobooks. It seems to me that this method of “reading” has experienced a resurgence in recent years. I understand the draw. I love to read. I LOVE stories. I enjoy the unique distinctiveness of different human voices and dialects. I rarely have time to sit down with a book or e-reader these days, and I miss it. I think I could enjoy listening to texts during my commute. I am a slow reader. I could probably trim my “books I want to read” list down pretty quickly if I did this. Perhaps I will. 

This bout of thinking about audiobooks began with a conversation with a coworker who regularly listens to audiobooks during his commute or slow times at work. In that conversation, he made a small statement about his belief that hearing someone read aloud to you is “nurturing.” Genious! He’s right! I think it’s not just about the reading. It harkens back to a child’s request that I hear daily: “tell me a story….” It also draws us back to pre-Gutenberg human experience. We are a people deeply rooted in story. The stories we tell, and the stories we hear, and the stories we participate in shape our thinking and understanding of the world around us.

As adults, we rarely have opportunity to be read to (except for some liturgical experience, where it may be common). Perhaps that is part of the allure of counseling. I am often invited, drawn into my clients’ stories. I remember times during the early years of my marriage, when my husband would read to me. Those were such sweet times. Somehow those nights of reading to each other slipped away in recent years, and we were none-the-wiser. How sad, but, it’s an easy loss to recoup. “I want you to read to me,” I said to him. “Okay,” he said.

I wonder what would happen if we all had someone we could ask to read to us… someone we could read to. Nurture, and be nurtured.