The Doctor Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes

Walt Whitman and Sales


"He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher," Walt Whitman said. Walter, like Emily Dickinson, had a knack for saying things in a way designed to raise eyebrows on a dead man.

What teacher? I was lucky in school in that I was never assigned poetry by either Emily or Walt. So when I see that word "teacher", I don't think of some high school English teacher. Instead, I think of Walter himself in his own natural teachy-ness, being as Zen as he ever could be. (As in If you meet the Buddha on the Road, kill him.)

If it weren't for a sprinkling of quotes like that, you could definitely get the idea that Walt Whitman was deeper into himself than Donald Trump. In fact Walt was a whiz at selling himself.

"Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, /When I give I give myself." After reading that, don't you feel guilty for not giving Walter more of your time?

He sang the body electric. Now you have to put that into its historical context. Back in Walt's day electricity wasn't the thing more common in households than bleach. In Walt's day, electricity was almost synonymous with juju.

Walt said, "Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle." Translation -- "I got juju."

Walt said, "The whole theory of the universe is directed unerringly to one single individual. " Translation -- "The juju stops here."

Walt wrote, "This is no book; who touches this touches a man." Translation -- "I got juju to spare, some of it's spilled into these poems."

My own favorite Whitman sample: "Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes)." Translation -- "I am mass juju, I cast juju shadow."

Speaking of selling and persuasion, experts agree that there are six basic factors that influence humans to comply with requests or give in to sales pitches. These are reciprocation, consistency, social validation, liking, authority, and scarcity. I could illustrate the use of these six factors with any successful advertising campaign, but this column isn't about Madison Avenue. So instead I will show you how to use these factors to sell NIMBYs on Tent City.

To the friendly, caring, people of Seattle:

You have probably heard many appeals on behalf of Tent City [social validation], but have you heard of the great benefits that Tent City has to offer to your community?

Yes, there is only one Tent City in Seattle [scarcity], and it can be yours! The homeless people who make up Seattle's Tent City are the cream of the crop [scarcity], the hardest working 2 percent.

Listen to what Dave, a good-looking well-groomed white [liking] policeman [authority] has to say about Tent City's homeless people. "I encounter homeless people everywhere. But nowhere have I found more cheerful [liking] and energetic homeless people than at Tent City. And they are so clean!" [liking]

Cynthia R., a happy, smiling, independently wealthy [social validation, liking, authority] housewife, is typical of many who have been fortunate to live next door to Tent City. She says, "Those homeless men were great! The way they scared off prowlers, my! We had almost no crime in our neighborhood the weeks they were here. And they were so sober, what a good example to our children. If only we could repay them!" [reciprocation]

Seattle has so far provided Tent City with 17 sites in one year. [consistency] That shows just how popular Tent City has been. [social validation] Now isn't it time you invited Tent City to live next door to you?

Give yourself mass juju!


© Dr. Wes Browning:
2129 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 441-3247

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