Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

January 1999

Deciding to become an intellectual

It's never too late to make significant changes.

Announcing in January the desire to change is especially appropriate New Years resolutions and all. Last year I went on about being fat, threatening to sit on the next person who gave me grief about my weight.

This year, I have decided to become an intellectual.

If successful, and I don't lose too much more weight, Ill not only sit on gauche people who comment about my weight, Ill say something incredibly pithy while doing so.

For you see, the role of an intellectual in society is to make distinctions. By being just a trifle more thoughtful than before, an intellectual can greatly facilitate the understanding of life's complexities.

What, you might wish to ask, makes me qualified to become an intellectual?

Being an intellectual is easier than you think: You become an intellectual by being intellectual. Examine a few things, make a few distinctions ba-bing, ba-bang, ba-boom, you're an intellectual.

For instance, intellectuals rarely abbreviate.

I worked for a certified public accounting firm in the District of Columbia. The firms name was Smulkin, Barsky, Hoffman and Denton. Isn't that more informative and more likely to be understood than if I said I worked for SBH?, CPAs in DC?

On the Internet, a search for VT will return a fair number of citations to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. A search for Vermont will not. Several years ago when we were looking for an appropriate name for our World Wide website, we chose VermontGuides rather than VTGuides.

Therefore, I pledge to use far fewer abbreviations from now on. What Im saying is that we intellectuals spell it out, especially when referring to Vermont. I urge the state of Vermont and the Vermont State Chamber of Commerce to do the same.

Likewise, intellectuals also avoid acronyms. The reason an entity gets named Governors Commission on Women is presumably because the title is an elegant description of the entity's purpose. Of course, in Montpelier, everyone calls it gee-cow. Business people know that ERISA has to do with pensions but have long since forgotten Economic Recovery Is Simply Awesome. Oh, well, not everyone can be an intellectual.

My first intellectual exercise in 1999 will be renaming this publication. Since 1984, every month business people have been receiving this magazine, which is focused like a laser beam on the business people of Greater Burlington. So, what's with the Digest? How does the title Business Digest relate to the business people who are the profile subjects, award winners, new hires, or recently promoted who are covered in the magazine? How clear is it from the current title that business people are of primary importance to the magazine? How clear that the magazine is all about Business People?

Pondering, considering, examining those questions with an intellectual zeal has brought me to the inevitable conclusion that the new name of this magazine will be The One With the Red Cover.