Saturday, June 02, 2007

The art of Bullshit

Last week, while at Hollyhock, I was promoting the need for bullshit within the non-profit community. That statement is immediately controversial and that's my point. Too often, the starting place in change-agent conversation is centered around "this is what I believe and this is why." A bullshiter has to start the conversation figuring out what YOU believe before (s)he can learn how to sell you whatever (s)he is selling. And I specifically use the word bullshit because what I suggest is stepping a bit further outside your comfort-zone about what you will and won't do for your cause.

Take for example, the most tasteless piece of news this week. That a Dutch reality TV show was airing where a dying woman would award her kidney to a contestant in need of a transplant. It has now been revealed as a hoax designed to raise awareness around the fact that "200 people die annually in the Netherlands while waiting for a kidney, and the average waiting time is more than four years. Under Dutch rules, donors must be friends, or preferably, family of the recipient."

This is perhaps the extreme example. This hoax got worldwide attention and created a global conversation (if only for one week) on the issues facing those in need of organ transplants. At the same time, it also created a conversation around our standards for reality television in a very post-modern way.

I'm headed to the airport now for my flight back to Vancouver.

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