Monday, May 11, 2009

"Hedtke's Law" and proper attribution

I was off at the STC conference in Atlanta this past week. It was a lovely event and the photos I took can be found at my Flickr website. Two of my all-time favorite people got their Associate Fellow credentials and I got to see any number of other old friends as well.

At the Board meeting on Friday, no less than 4 people pointed out to me that "Hedtke's Law" (identified as such) had become part of Board canon. Hedtke's Law is something I kept saying while I was on the Board when dealing with people who are too 'nice' (the nose should wrinkle when you say it). 'Nice' is ineffectual, unable to do anything, because you're worried that someone, somewhere will be offended. You may be able to put a name and a face to that somebody, but the idea that SOMEBODY will be upset would completely prevent the STC from doing a lot of things in the past that should've been done to the betterment of the members or the Society as a whole. (And fuck that noise, btw.)

I have no patience for people who don't want to get anything done because they're in mortal fear of offending someone, when, in fact, they're there to get something done. When confronted with this ineffectual thinking--of which we had an awful lot at the time--I kept saying this:

"If it doesn't offend somebody, it couldn't possibly interest anybody."

I said it so often that this was dubbed "Hedtke's Law," and it's a very flattering legacy for getting the STC turned in the right direction. (There's a corollary to this, too: If you're the one offended, it's just your bad luck that this time it was you.)

But I really need to set the record straight on one point: I didn't write this. My old friend, Allyn Wolfe, was responsible for saying this some 35 years ago in the pages of Red Garters, a Craft magazine that he edited. (His editorial policy was, similarly, "I shall continue to provoke everyone within my reach!") It's a profoundly great statement and, although I'm getting the credit for saying it, I want it stated for the record that it was Allyn who came up with this in the first place.

For more on Hedtke's Laws, click here.

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