Ray Don

We’ve had a lot to get angry about lately – the high cost of car insurance, Yahoo and Best Buy going all retrograde in their “new” management practices, the endless drone of winter – and man does it show. I’ve seen more bitchy messages penned to the sources of our ire in the last few weeks than I care to remember, and a pattern is emerging – condescension.

Back in the 80s, there was a TV show called Designing Women. Most of you remember this show: four women, running a successful design firm while sporting the most ridiculous hair and shoulder pads. My mom loved Designing Women. It spoke to her 80s sensibility as a working mother. Of all the episodes I watched with her, one sticks in my mind: the one with Ray Don. Watch it here. And watch Julia Sugarbaker’s dripping condescension.

Admittedly, Ray Don deserved it. Clearly, he was a cad who couldn’t take no for an answer. I’m not sure those on the business end of some poison pens in the last few weeks do, though.

Check out the Insurance Bureau’s open letter to Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario NDP. As soon as they inserted her first name in their letter, it changed the whole tone of the message, didn’t it? Substitute “Andrea” with “you poor, dumb woman” and you catch the drift. I don’t necessarily agree with Horwath’s position on this issue myself, but I wouldn’t articulate it like that.

Or CultureRX’s open letter to Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, the morning after her now famous veto of the work from home law. I agree 100% with their position. I think people are more productive when they have the freedom to deliver results in their own, best way. I’m not sure I agree with the (mean) spirit of their letter, however. Wouldn’t it be better to suggest Mayer’s strategy doesn’t align with her internet business (I mean, wouldn’t Yahoo benefit from more people working from home than less?) than getting all personal about it?

Sure there’s lots to get twisted about right now. But when we’re all worked up over something, let’s not let condescension be our guide. We’re better than that. Let’s stick with the facts. There’s no need to go all Ray Don on their asses.