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Left Coast Bias: We Are Sinners, All of Us

10/31/2009 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Last week, I barely escaped a massive snowstorm in Denver, only to arrive in a torrential windstorm in Los Angeles. Given that the wrath of a higher power was seemingly after me, maybe it should not have been a surprise that on the flight out of the Rockies, I was actually called an “infidel” to my face.

While in Denver on Tuesday for the CTAM conference, hearing constant weather reports calling for a big storm early Wednesday, I booked the next flight out. After cruising to the airport, I got to the gate with two minutes to spare—just in time to find out that the plane was delayed indefinitely. I got the attention of an agent from Southwest and—figuring he was like all the friendly folks in that reality show—asked him if I should try to book myself on another flight.

“I really wouldn't want to make that judgment for you, sir,” he replied with such a level of seriousness that I looked behind me to see if Jack Bauer hadn't asked him whether to cut the red or blue wire.

So I called my travel people once again—from my BlackBerry, because my new iPhone apparently only gets service if I am either standing in an AT&T store or straddling a carrier antenna on top of a mountain—and was told that if I could get across the airport in about 87 seconds, Frontier would fly me out of there. Luckily sporting the build of a marathoner—OK, more like a female shot-putter—I managed to make it in time.

As we took off, I settled in to read The Curse of the Mogul, in which yet more people tell us why everyone in the media is an idiot. I set it on my lap for a moment to contemplate how stupid we all are, when the lady next to me asked if she could read the back cover.

She then asked me if I was a media-type. When I answered yes, she nodded with a “hmmm” kind of sound and proceeded to tell me she didn't take in any media whatsoever. No TV, no computer, no movies, nothing. It turns out she was a teacher at a Waldorf School, which sports a philosophy of using no images at all during early childhood education.

A quick read of Waldorf's Website reveals that the schools provide “an antidote to violence, alienation and cynicism.” Big deal; so does Glenn Beck.

The woman went on to tell me about all the bad things that come from the media and the messages they inflict on our kids. This I didn't refute.

And apparently having not done enough atoning at Yom Kippur recently, I told her that not only did I work in the media for my day job, but at night I taught a college course in marketing, or how to use the media to manipulate people. I told her I guessed that pretty much made me an infidel.

“Yes, I guess it does make you aninfidel,” she replied with a warm smile. I'm pretty sure she was kidding.

Moments later, the guy on the other side of me casually chimed in that he grew medical marijuana as his vocation. “I don't really care for pot,” the teacher said. Yes! No doubt she was about to move on to ravaging another industry, as clearly she had never touched the stuff and was all set to launch into her diatribe about why. I was off the hook.

“I did way too much of it back in the '60s,” she then fired out of nowhere. “That stuff can really mess you up if you do it all the time like I did.”

Touchdown in Los Angeles among the infidels couldn't have come soon enough.

E-mail comments toben.grossman@reedbusiness.com

 

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