So my terrific pal Jon Carroll, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and gimlet-eyed observer of the cultural landscape, wrote this very flattering column today about my little rant on corporate "passion."
And then he took the ball and ran with it all the way through the goalposts and down to the grassy meadow targeted for mixed-use development:
I suppose there's always a tendency to use marketing as a cosmetic device to mask what's really going on. That's why oil companies keep talking about how much they love little birdies and big elk; if there's a word as overused as "passion," it would probably be "care." "We Care" as a corporate slogan means, as everyone who has been paying attention already knows, "We Don't Care."
It's like housing developments being named for the features that had to be destroyed in order to build the development. "Rushing Brook" or "Shady Meadow" or even "The Oaks." We don't have any actual oaks, so let's put them in the name instead.
Company leaders feel themselves at such remove from their workers that they have to hire outside consultants (whose per-hour rate exceeds that of the employees by a factor of four) to interview said employees to winkle out information that could probably be obtained in simple conversations. People who work together every day are required to fill out forms to tell each other what it is like to work together every day.
Where there is no human contact, there can be no passion. So let's put it in the slogan instead.
And let us say, Amen.