I remember the moment it happened. I was sitting in the Dutch Wonderland movie theater in my home town of Lancaster, PA, watching Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck drill holes in an asteroid in “Armageddon” (“DON’T WANNA CLOSE MY EYES!!!!”) and thinking to myself,”This. Movie. Sucks.” I was watching a so-called blockbuster, the hot movie of the summer, and I was bored. I clearly remember thinking, “There has to be something better than this.”
It was at that point that I decided to make a change. I was going to make a little more effort to be a little more discriminating in my movie watching habits and look for options beyond just the mass marketed films shoved down my throat at every possible advertising opportunity. I started to read movie reviews. I started to watch older movies. I started to challenge myself to watch movies that 18 year old me would have run screaming from. I started looking for specific directors and writers whose work I appreciated: Jim Jarmusch, David Mamet, Wes Anderon. I started to find my cinema experiences to be more meaningful, more fulfilling, and more enjoyable.
My search for “something better” started to filter into other areas of my life. No longer content with the next John Grisham novel about a southern lawyer facing tough odds, I progressed to authors who posed challenges to my worldview and made me work to read them: David Foster Wallace, John Updike, Neal Stephenson. In the world of music, the kid who once proudly owned a Milli Vanilli “Girl You Know It’s True” cassette tape (Oh, geez, this is embarrassing…), was now listening to Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Drake.
Eventually, the search for “something better” spread outside the world of pop culture and entertainment and into my standards of daily living – food in particular. From Maxwell House coffee to grinding fair trade beans at the local co-op. Organic fruits and veggies from a local CSA instead of waxed and colored produce from the Acme. Multigrain bread in place of Wonder bread.
I fear this makes me sound elitist, pretentious, snobby, whatever you want to call it, and that’s really not my intention. I still have an affinity for Will Ferrell movies, spy novels, 80’s Hair Metal, and McDonald’s Quarter Pounders. We all have our own definition of what “better” is. The great thing is that I went looking for something “better” and was able to find it. I’m sure many, if not all of you, have done the same in some avenue of your life.
The question I have for the CME community is this: when the doctor who has thus far been satisfied to sit and watch our talking head webinars and eat at our dinner meetings, suddenly decides he’s had it and he’s going to start looking for something “better” – what does the CME community have to offer him? What is our “better” CME? Is it PI-CME? Is it an iPad at every seat? Is it a gamified internet activity with a social community to crowdsource questions?
I encourage you to really think about this. If one of your CME participants came to you and said, “I want something more” – how would you respond? What activity would you point them to? This isn’t meant to disparage any of your other activities, but what is the program you have that is just simply better than the rest? It’s purely a rhetorical exercise, but if anyone is willing to share a description or link in the comments, I’d love to hear about it.