Style vs. Substance

NPR had an interesting piece on “All Things Considered” (<- Click for link) in which they rated presidents in terms of charisma. The last question by the interviewer was, “Could Washington be elected today?” The answer was “I don’t think Washington would have a prayer of being elected president today.”

Sorry, George.

How sad.

I accept the fact that it takes a different set of skills to get a job than it takes to actually do that job – perhaps with the exception of accountants and actuaries. Somehow I can’t envision a truly great CPA as being the model of wit and charm in an interview. It’s like hiring a skinny chef – something is wrong with that picture. I’d suspect a charming accountant of cooking the books and stealing from me, and a skinny chef as, well, not really capable of cooking anything.

I guess we are so enamored with style that we have given up on substance in many areas of our life. Roses used to have a distinctively pleasant aroma; in order to have a hardier, more commercially viable flower we essentially bred out the smell. A rose by any other hybrid name, does not, in fact, smell as sweet.

So we weed out Washington and the Jefferson and without a doubt the “obnoxious and disliked” John Adams in our quest for a prettier package.

Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it.

2 responses to “Style vs. Substance

  1. What a gorgeous conversation, Steve–especially in these days when we all care more for our clothes than our soul. Just like quanitity has a quality all its own, substance has a style all its own.

    I recall in my young days shadowing a rather gruff doctor who worked day and night at Childrens Hospital. He was one of those old and old-fashioned docs who would run all the interns, residents and nurses ragged, but would be as gentle as a lion with a cub in his care: He absolutely loved his patients and parents. Yet, Dr. John C. Caffee was the first to describe the Battered
    Wife Syndrome. Substance has a style all its own.

  2. Steve, you hit it on the head with this one. All I can say is “Amen”

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