Later that day a video journalist named Erik Olsen called me from the Times office. A video complement to the story was what he was after. Two days later we met for two hours, I said a few words and I left hoping that at least if they have some video footage they won’t cut me out of the article.
Then the Times staff photographer called to get a photo. The entire ordeal took ten minutes. We met on a street corner and a few snaps later he walked off satisfied. Um, or maybe I exasperated him and he was hiding it?
We waited and waited and waited. Maybe the story got dropped? Two long weeks later the story hit the web edition and that Sunday made it to the front page of the Metropolitan section.
The response was massive. What struck me was how many people had very personal reactions to the concept of loosing ones accent. Some called is classism, others necessary. Over six hundred people commented on the Times website and tons of blogs covered the story. Even French publication put the concept up for debate. And after we renamed their delicacy a Freedom Fry, that is saying something.
I’ve got a lot to say in response. I’ve been burning to write some thangs on the web, but I was invited to speak about them in person. On December 14th you can join me live at Chelsea Studios for a panel discussion — Accents: Identity or Roadblock? Join Lynn Singer, Kevin Urban and a host of other special guests from various fields. They will be filming it for out-of-town folks, so watch out for YouTube action!
151 West 26th Street, 5th floor, 7pm
The article and video: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/nyregion/21accent.html?pagewanted=all