Home A Valediction: Forbidding Keynotes

A Valediction: Forbidding Keynotes

Being a critique, in verse, of the tradition of keynote speeches at technological conferences.

With apologies most sincere to John Donne, CEO, Fixed Form Enterprises

The canned and careful words they speak,

Or parrot off the teleprompter,

Do not waft so much as reek

With all the freshness of a dumpster.

They bear the same relation to

Ideas as an eight-bit version

Of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”

Does to a violent execution.

Keynotes combine the dynamism

Of a Chinese imperial bureaucrat’s test

With the sexiness of onanism

And the elegance of a vulture’s nest.

CEOs and marcom jocks,

Salesmen and specialists:

Spare us all these vapid talks

Before we’re forced to slit our wrists.

And journalists (an you love God)

And bloggers, pod- and broad-casters,

Why must you applaud this fraud?

Refuse and you’ll get drunk much faster!

Keynote speakers, stand relieved

(though not as much as those you’ve bored),

You’ve done your bit, you’ve made your stand,

It’s time to hit the conference floor.

Better yet, the bar’s through there,

Take a load off, grab a beer,

One-on-one, we’ll lend an ear

And face-to-face we might just hear.

Nintendo photo by Matt Williamson

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