I'm always flattered when asked for an interview -- Unless I'm being asked for an interview by the FBI. An old friend and agent told me, "Ask if you're the subject of the investigation. If not, tell them everything you know." It was good advice. Honesty is a good thing. Unless you're the subject of the investigation.
But this was a pleasant interview by a pleasant young man about pleasant things: J Press, Paul Fussell, Take Ivy, Toots Shor...And then Andrew Cedotal of Styleite.com leaned forward and asked, "When do you think it all started to go down hill?" I didn't need clarification. I talked. I talked a lot. But I don't think he got an answer. I have one now.
In 1990, I was sent to a 12 week Dale Carnegie course and I learned this: "Find what it is about someone that really pisses you off and turn it into a compliment." For example - If you're a disingenuous ass kisser who would sell your mother for one rung up the corporate ladder and you wear Kenneth Cole square toed shoes - - I'd say to you, "You know what I like about you next to those beautiful shoes? You're the most honest and straight forward man I've ever met. You tell it like it like it is and that's a very rare commodity today. How's your mother?"
There, I just saved you 12 weeks of nights away from your family. Carnegie published his first best seller, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" in the 1930s and I think it was the start of the end. I mean, the title alone is almost as bad as, "Relationship Manager." Whoever came up with that job description must have been a graduate of Dale Carnegie.
I'm not saying this was an honest country before Dale. Hell, this country has always been about selling. To make the most money with the least amount of effort. "Hey, Bill. Love your tie. That was some fun last night, huh? Let's hope our wives never find out. How about signing here on the dotted line so I can wrap this up and move onto the next prospect who'll happily listen to me tell him the exact opposite of what he really is.
God forbid you piss off someone with direct honesty. With the thinking, "friends at any cost" this country has endured almost a century of Dale Carnegie's, "telling people something they're not. " Is it any wonder no one gives a damn about manners or dress or the truth? It's a very sad thing because I think we're all subjects of this investigation.