Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pure ... Unadulterated ... Hype

After a while, you become sensitive to certain language ... certain words and phrases that are intended to make the reader feel good about his or her lot in life ... about his or her government or governmental leaders and what they are doing ... certain words intended to build regional "self-esteem"... certain words and phrases that have been repeated so often with nothing substantive that follows, that they now become red flags for "more of the same," and a warning to "Watch out ! You are going to be taken to the cleaners again!"

That is the impression I got this morning when I read the editorial by Messrs. Simpson and DiMeo in today's OD, about Central New York being at the the core of an emerging green economy -- an impression that was strongly reinforced when I visited their flashy, pretty -- but devoid of content -- website. (Paris Hilton immediately came to mind: nice form, no substance.)

The last time we heard this level of rhetoric was when the "world-class" research facility, the Griffiss Institute for Information Assurance, was invented. We now all know what happened there. Interestingly, many of the same institutions listed in today's article were participants in the Griffiss Institute fiasco. We heard similar rhetoric with our allegedly "shovel ready" chip fab site, and the Center for Brownfield Studies before that.

We seem to get at lot of pure, unadulterated, hype. No substance. However, we do not need a marketing campaign to make us feel good. Nothing will build our self esteem more than real, solid, success: when businesses and people come here because they WANT to be here, not because they have been paid (in cash or goods or services or tax breaks) to do so.

Yes, this region has a lot of pluses. It is the best place in the world to live (my hype) -- as long as you have a good job. All the slick, glitzy marketing in the world will not make up for a defective product. Fixing what is wrong is what we need to be focused on. Then and only then will our region experience true success.

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