Taking Stock – If I had a hammer, I would have …

Pity the delegates at this year’s American Psychological Association conference in Washington last week. As well as hearing how accountancy is the least sensitive of careers and accountants the least emotionally intelligent, they were privileged to bear witness to a speech of such esoteric nonsense, its like has not been heard since the ’60s. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.

Keynote speaker was Pete Seeger, he who wrote such songs as ‘Where Have All the Flowers Gone’, ‘Turn, Turn, Turn’ and ‘If I Had a Hammer’. Now 81, Seeger’s performance combined music and story-telling in a joint performance with his colourfully named grandson, Tao Rodriguez. ‘I am done with big things and great things,’ he told increasingly bemused delegates. ‘And I am for those tiny, invisible, molecular forces that creep from individual to individual like so many rootlets, or the capillary action of water, yet which, if you give them time, will rend the hardest monument of man’s pride.’

What? An APA spokesman explained: ‘For Seeger, the words point to the power of organisations like APA to change the world.’ TS wanted to say something more cynical but diplomatically opted for lip biting instead. You might have read that while accountants are the least emotionally unintelligent group, musicians and actors sit at the top of the pile. Such superiority comes at some cost, it seems.

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