Dean Clough

April 9, 2021

Portico Darwin: Consequence Culture

As I will occasionally do, I am going to try and make a point via the brilliance of others.  And they don't get much more brilliant than John McWhorter.  Some call it "cancel culture", but I do prefer "consequence culture", for many of the reasons Professor McWhorter cites in this podcast.  I've read his insightful book on race, "Authentically Black", before.  His balanced, thoughtful comments here with heroes Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway on the subject are a must-listen for everyone.

Yes, we're still toiling away poolside here in the spectacular Coachella Valley.  Yesterday, I wowed a tough-to-wow crowd with this brilliant salad from The New York Times' cooking site.  Both Louise and Byron are top-flight in the kitchen (By's use of Kikoman Teriyaki sauce as his "secret marinade ingredient" notwithstanding) and to hear their sincere praise was very much appreciated. It's super easy and quite tasty - dress the salad in advance to let it soften the kale a bit before serving.


My last post on the plague of overwrought thank you's clearly struck a nerve.  Thank you, Dr. Doreen Downs (a.k.a. Dr. 5 Star), the retirement gypsies Lauren and Max Ryder, and especially, the clearly aggrieved organic gift basket figure head Elizabeth Michaels, for your thoughtful, if divergent opinions.
The Ryder's for example, had different takes.   Here's Max:
"Now that was a very pleasant read and I can’t agree with you more . . . No need to get caught up in that circle of, 'Thank you'....'no, thank you' ”.  

No, thank you, Madras!

And from his wife, the spiritual and buff Lauren, this (seriously) touching story:
"My father always reminded me to be appreciative to those that provide us service.  They often are not treated with respect and a kind word is appreciated.  I am speaking from experience as a grocery checker to fund my education."

I especially appreciated the perceptive comments from the good doctor, the inestimable super fan Dr. Downs.  She was pleased that 
"you find time to write your blog regularly even while floating in the idyllic Palm Springs pool with a glass of Zacapa in hand."

Doreen, it's a tough balancing act, but someone has to bear the burden.

And finally.  I almost created a second site to house all of her thoughtful comments on the topic.  I do feel Ms.  Michaels may have misunderstood my blog's point.  I am 100% about sincere gratitude when it's warranted.  It's the overdone thank you's to people performing the basic functions of their jobs that I find patronizing and annoying.  Regardless, here is my dear friend, mentor, storied cyclist and the noted balanced budget scholar  Elizabeth Michaels waxing poetic on gratitude.

"OK now you’ve poked the kindness bear. GRRRRRR. As the apparent one Portico Darwin reader who is providing a service to others, I can attest to how a simple “thanks for what you do” energizes my day and provides the emotional cushion to deal with the entitled, obnoxious customers.  I seriously doubt you felt patronized when thanked for your Casa Integration service. Please think twice about advocating for an appropriate “thank you” threshold, especially in a world that is starved for human kindness." 

She's just getting started.

"One other thought. Some migrate to service jobs as much for the human connections as for the money. Kindness, laughter, light hearted banter, empathy, a twinkle in the eye and a genuine smile are a form of currency for many.  When exchanged in a genuine way they’re more valuable than a fat cat tip. It’s a “win”. It’s what they talk about at the end of the day. It’s what brings them back the next day. Sure, an insincere syrupy thank you might bring an eye roll. But a genuine gesture of kindness delivered however the moment calls for it sends the right kind of ripple out into the universe. I personally hope there’s an unlimited supply of such currency."

The beauty and majesty of Elizabeth's sentiments will come as no surprise to those that know this lovely person.  Thank you, my friend.  It's going to be great having you and Dr. Primo here at Cove House this week!

(P.S.  Perhaps Primo and Elizabeth will share non-tacky photos from their National Park tour, which starts very soon!)


While his original lyrical intent on the title track may not match my use here, in sincere gratitude to those that serve me and others, I give you David Bowie and "Heroes".   Whatever the meaning, the title track is one of my favorite songs - enjoy it and the whole album, and thank you for reading this blog.

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.