Tuesday, June 17, 2008

SLA Seattle Diary Part 5

Self-Congratulations

A free lunch is offerered all attendees every year at the Info-Expo vendor area. This time it was a giant sandwich with a rice side, a wedge of cheese, a Hershey's chocolate piece, potato chips, and a large cookie.

Leary discussed SLA with someone from the UK. She was disappointed that the vendors didn't want to talk to her because they didn't cover her geographic area, therefore no commission for any sales, probably. Leary suggested they should have an international rep on hand--the larger vendors, anyway.

But they both agreed that the Opening General Session left a bad taste in their mouths because of all the self-congratulations the SLA leadership indulges in. The lion's portion of the opening session didn't involve Vint Cerf and Charlie Rose. Not at all. Most of it was SLA gorging itself on self-congratulations. Probably most of these people deserve an award. Leary says "most" because he's not sure a person should get an award because s/he is a minority or represents an alternative lifestyle. But no doubt most of the people deserve an award. But watching the award handouts at the opening session is like watching a dangerously obese person eat a horse.

Leary has to wonder about the psychology of all this. SLA seems to view itself as one would view a handicapped child--always needing positive reinforcement. And it seems the same people receive an award every year. Not that they don't deserve an award, but this is too much. Leary can't help but wonder about the psychological health (just to mention one aspect of health) of the SLA leadership, and it seems others are wondering as well.

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