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An RCPU Mea Culpa

Before we get started today, I'm going to drop the first-person plural because I need to tell you that I messed something up, and it's kind of embarrassing. Oh, it's not that big of a deal, really, but a couple of readers (Jeffrey and Walt) noticed a boneheaded move in the first entry in last Thursday's RCPU. Walt sums it up well:

"Regarding your reference to depression-era billboards from the RCP Update yesterday:

"'Still, though...ouch. These are the kinds of messages that bring to mind depression-era billboards that encouraged jobless men to not give up -- messages that are encouraging but also pretty ominous. OK, granted, we don't think that things will get anywhere near this bad, and we're not seriously suggesting that there will be bread lines in Redmond or anywhere else any time soon.'

"I don't think that billboard is encouraging these jobless men to not give up. If I read this correctly, this billboard is a warning to jobless men traveling through town to keep on moving. The billboard says, 'Jobless men keep going -- We can't take care of our own,' and it is signed, 'Chamber of Commerce.' To me, this says, 'Don't even think of stopping in this town, keep moving along -- if we catch you, we'll make sure you get the message'...It also appears to be in a train yard, which means the jobless men probably rode in on the rails..."

Walt, you are, of course, 100 percent correct. I had remembered seeing on a documentary somewhere in the mists of time a few billboards from the Depression encouraging unemployed men to keep their chins up, but the one I posted clearly levied pretty much the opposite message: Get out of town; there's no work for you here. Yeesh...I guess I missed that "We can't take care of our own" written in fairly big letters at the bottom of the sign. OK, I feel stupid.

What I meant to post was something like this, which was meant to serve as a pick-me-up but really (I'm guessing) ended up coming off as ominous, if not a tad condescending. Anyway, thanks to Walt and Jeffrey for actually paying attention to what they were reading in RCPU. As for the rest of you: shame, shame, shame. Just kidding. But, seriously, I'm sorry for the embarrassing mess-up, and I'll try to do better next time. (And sorry for spending so much time on this, but as a history buff I feel the need to overcorrect for this gaffe.)

Posted by Lee Pender on November 18, 2008 at 11:54 AM


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