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www.zidao.com Apprentice harmonizer, for sheer fun. Journeywoman writer, for work and pleasure. Starting point was Iowa, current stopping point on this journey is Switzerland, with frequent pauses around the world to watch and listen to the crowd, and occasionally make comments.

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Monday, November 14, 2005

Jack's fairytale (welching on winning)


Sathnam Sanghera has done us all a favor and written an exemplary interview with Jack Welch, published in The Financial Times (October 29). And Suzy. Where one goes the other follows. Or perhaps leads.

Mr. Sanghera's article is an excellent example, which I will use in January with my media class, of how to write about the blather that takes place during an interview but also the boogying that carries on around the words. Lyrics are nice, but a party only gets going when the dancing starts.

Here is what I learned from the words: Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, has a new life. Also a new wife, number three, but we're not counting. He is very rich, and he is continuing to earn money as a well paid speaker who could charge even more, and by selling his book, Winning. Thank heavens! (or Jack, with Suzy) some of this cash is going into scholarships for MBA students. And Jack and Suzy have a new column, published by the New York Times. Jack says he leads a fairytale life.

After the facts were gleaned, here is what I think I have learned from the song and dance at the interview. Jack, have I got the fairytale straight?

Jack is rich. Jack is successful.
Suzy is successful.
Jack loves Suzy.
Suzy loves Jack. Suzy is now rich.

Jack is rich. Jack was successful at running GE.
GE was successful.
Jack loves GE.
GE loves Jack. GE is now poorer, although not as poor as it would have been if Jack's initial retirement agreement had carried the day. Wife number two and her lawyers played a role here. Suzy encouraged Jack to learn the word "unseemly" when talking about large payouts. He used it three times in one hour with the FT.

Jack is rich. He is successful at telling how he ran GE.
John Q. Public longs to be successful. So does Jane Public.
Jack loves John Q. and Jane because . . .
John Q. and Jane love Jack. They are now poorer, to the tune of $20 for a book and £198 each to hear him.

So who exactly has won what, Jack? This part of the story is a little fuzzy, at best.

My reading: Jack has won the booby prize, for best dupe of the year. He's even duped himself.

The book we should really be paying to read is probably Suzy's Bingo!
But that assumes that getting rich is worth the trouble and frankly, if these people are winners, point me to the losers' circle, for (a?) better company.

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