Heroes and villains

30 June 2012

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Earlier this week I facilitated a workshop for a company in their ‘Lennon’ meeting room. Lots of companies have such room names – they’re easier to remember than say, 1G, and are supposed to convey some sense of inspiration at the same time. Although I can’t help but think that I haven’t come across many ‘Lenin’ rooms, which is maybe surprising when you think how much the modern corporation obsesses about ‘focus’, ‘execution’ and ‘delivery’.

The best story I heard about such room names came from someone who worked for the subsidiary of an American company in London. Someone had decided to call one of their meeting rooms after the American diplomat Henry Kissinger. (When Kissinger shared the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in ending the Vietnam war the satirical singer Tom Lehrer said that political satire had become obsolete.) “The trouble is that half of the company don’t know who he is”, I was told. “And the half who have heard of him think he’s a war criminal”.

The image at the top of this post is “The Connections (Kissinger)” by the Moroccan artist Mounir Fatmi, whose work “explores the intersection between politics and popular culture”. It is used with thanks. You can find out more about the work and the artist at Artspace.

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