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Of Schools
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Some food for thought.

The late Miller Harris, a writer and former CEO of Eagle Shirtmakers, and the late Kurt Vonnegut were good friends. Yes, they both went to Cornell University, and both wrote for that university's paper. They became and stayed friends.

In the book Look at the Birdie, a book that features many of Vonnegut's previously unpublished works, the group published a letter Vonnegut wrote to Miller Harris in 1951 about writing. The letter was more about writers than writing.

Vonnegut recounted a lecture he received from a professor who talked about the importance of belonging to a school in the arts. According to Vonnegut, the professor said that "the school gives to a man, Slotkin said, the fantastic amount of guts it takes to add to culture. It gives him morale...and — maybe most importantly — one-sidedness with assurance."

Kurt's professor also said that one in the arts cannot help but belong to a school, good or bad.

How interesting.

Do we not see the same in our advertising industry? We have many different schools. We have those who are of the school of content and copy. Others are of the school of art and expression. Still more are of the school of tracking, data mining. No matter what school we belong to, the point is that we are given the support and camaraderie needed to have the audacity to think what we're doing is effective and necessary.

Think about it, as our society — especially digitally — becomes ever more fragmented, how often do we search to reinforce our beliefs, practices and efforts? 

Now, we have no advice or counsel on the matter; we just thought the idea of schools was an interesting way to categorize advertising professionals.

Something to think about.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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