A few weeks ago (hard to say when exactly because the website shows no date), Annie Monjar wrote an article for the Charlotte Magazine entitled “Rhetorical Revolution.” You can, and should, read it here.
This 2,333 word gyre begins by saying Charlotte has recently seen an increase in “revival meetings.” Yes, think Burt Lancaster’s fiery evangelizing in Elmer Gantry. Don’t fear though, these meetings are “diverse and secular.” Except they are part of a movement with a mission to get Charlotte “thinking and talking more.”
What are these cultists talking about and what do they want from me?
Well, as it turns out, I am one of them.
I’ve presented at BarCamp, volunteered at TEDx Charlotte, and will be presenting at Ignite in a few weeks. Little did I know that these disparate events (along with Pecha Kucha and Civic by Design) could all be lumped together and criticized as “full of elitist b.s.” Assuming the initials do not stand for Bible Study, I wonder whether over-caffeination, anger, or intention produced this comparison.
To be fair, the writer, like Switzerland in World War I, maintains neutrality. The problematic phrase above is like the Grimm-Hoffmann Affair: enough to question the writer’s neutrality, but not enough to dismiss the entire piece.
My point (like @bigfleet’s letter to the editor here) is that you (yes, you!) should go to each of these events before writing, as fishoutofwater said in the comments, a Tolstoy novel about them.
The article ends with a call to arms: “If, however, these are in fact Charlotte’s new leaders, we’ll need to see a lot more than just good conversation.” Um, like another Bank of America building? Or a Formula 1 track? Oh I get it, maybe another facebook.
All (or some) joking aside, I think these communities aren’t looking to impress anybody with some grand business. Rather, they are just people wanting to learn from other people. That’s it.
If you don’t like it, you can tweet about it (after you come).