So they put you in charge of the speaker’s budget; now it’s your turn to invite some sap who won’t make everyone in the office feel dumb. Bradley, the smart guy in the cubicle down the hall, would love to see Malcolm Gladwell come in and fire up the sales department with a pep talk. But you think the boss is more likely to be impressed if you went high and heavy—a Larry Summers, say, or a big shot from the Bush administration. Then you look again at the budget, and remember, sadly, how you can’t even afford lunch at Chipotle with Chelsea Clinton. Yes, it looks like another midlevel motivational speaker with a book, a website, and a coupla’ TED talks running on YouTube.
At this point, though, you feel a pang of courage. Sure, your boss and his boss above him eat up “innovation” and “vibrancy” like candy, but why not, just this once, take a stand against the petty tyrannies of euphemism and cliché? Go ahead, invite one of The Baffler’s editors or contributors to say all the things you wanted to say at last week’s Skype meeting. Our bags are packed. Just tell us where to be.