Biographies and Almost Famous

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In the movie Almost Famous (2000) a budding young writer follows a band around the U.S. while being counseled by Lester Bangs (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman), writer and rock critic for Creem magazine in the 70's and 80's. Bangs warns the young man not to become friends with the band because it will ruin his objectivity. In essence the rest of the movie explores this same mysterious and prophetic admonition in ways that the adult mind can easily foresee but turn out entertaining in much the same way Medieval dinner theater portrays the bloody and confused past. In case you are wondering, no, it was not a Disney film.

The one good thing about this film is the method upheld for preserving one's objectivity -- 'don't become friends with the band.' This advice becomes doubly important for the independent LIMS consultant as the enticements resemble those in the film.

The goal of a good LIMS consultant is to advise the client. This can mean telling them unabashedly that the next version of the software they are contemplating deploying is a smoldering piece of junk. It will cost them a lot more money to implement than they think; they will wait a lot longer for a successful deployment; integration will fail; the end users will rise up in revolt.

If you are in this profession it is your job to inform users of these strong possibilities when they exist without consideration of the loss of favor you will receive from a vendor. Yes, they will throw you off the tour bus and take back their t-shirt but you will be left with something much more valuable -- your integrity (not that you cash that in the bank but it wears well).

Arnold Schwarzenegger, famous actor and former politician recently published his autobiography that includes his illicit affair with a house servant. After learning that the publisher had been asking Arnold to write an autobiography for years, as he admitted to in interviews, one wonders if he would have volunteered these facts if he had not been previously exposed? Most likely not.

The exposition of important facts is best done by independent, objective review -- the mainstays of biographers. LIMS vendors, famous actors, and budding rock bands all have something in common. They have all spent time and money carefully crafting a public image that facilitates selling a particular product. When a writer or consultant pushes aside that image to honestly evaluate that product and to compare it with other options available in the marketplace she serves the audience foremost.

The individual willing to do this is, in my opinion, is willing to explore the depths of truth. Maria Bustillos describes the legendary Lester Bangs as a "wreck of a man, right up until his death in April of 1982 ... he was fat, sweaty, unkempt -- an out-of-control alcoholic in torn jeans and a too-small black leather jacket, crocked to the gills on the Romilar cough syrup he swigged down by the bottle. He also had the most advanced exquisite taste of any American writer of his generation, uneven and erratic as it was."

The truth, where you find it, is sometimes messy and unkempt. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to recognize it for what it truly is and tell your constituents what you have found and why it is worthwhile.

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Citation: Biographies and Almost Famous. (2012). Retrieved Thu Apr 19 15:18:40 2018, from;iid=readMore;go=1350054091