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  • Who explodes the urban myths?

    Communication, Communication Design

    Several years ago, I was asked to research a documentary film on snuff movies. Problem was that because of obscenity laws, I couldn't watch what pretended to be 'the real thing' in the U.K., so had to fly to Amsterdam, book a hotel room, go down the video shop, then double-check that room service would be left at the door.

    Another time, while making a film in West Africa, the looney tunes former President of Liberia refused requests to be interviewed, telling the country's national newspaper that my camera was a laser gun fully armed for his assassination.

    Both of these experiences are about nonsense behaviour and popular fiction. But they're also about the persistence and ingenuity required to promote or defeat cynicism.

    On 17th July 2003, Tony Blair's 'Efficiency Czar' made a presentation to the Cabinet of the U.K. Government on their progress on targets. The presentation by Michael Barber centered on ten key lessons - and is reproduced in his new memoirs.

    Lesson 9 holds more than a useful thought for anyone involved in laying the cables of social, economic and cultural change. You may even think of having it sewn to the inside of your pocket.

    Under the heading

    Lesson 9: Extraordinary discipline and persistence are required to defeat the cynics

    Barber's first bullet point:

    Who explodes urban myths?

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