This is wrong in so many ways

Can you believe US Airways Flight 1549 Co-pilot Jeff Skiles is being represented by a 15MIN speakers' bureau that is positioning him as a for-hire expert authority on training, teamwork and corporate culture?

It's unconscionable and yet another example of the shameless society in which we live.

Skiles deserves all the credit in the world for the heroic work he and good ol' Cap'n Sully did in landing the crippled airliner and achieving what New York Governor Patterson memorably coined as 'The miracle on the Hudson.' But, our hero quickly goes from mythological to moneygrubber status when he tries to cash in such a patently bogus way.

Leading Authorities, the bureau representing Skiles, is asking somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000 to $20,000 for an hour-long speech from this overnight management guru. And, you know what? A few clueless organizations will pony up the money. Skiles will rake in an extra hundred grand or so for the next year or so (or until he becomes yesterday's news.) And, Leading Authorities will collect a handsome commission.

The whole tawdry tale cheapens what occurred on the Hudson that day and, in the final analysis, is really sad to see.

But, Jeff Skiles isn't to blame. We are. We've allowed our standards of basic human decency to sink in the same precipitous way US Airways 1549 sank beneath the Hudson that fateful day.

Call me old fashioned, but heroes of the past simply didn't capitalize on their 15 minutes of fame. In our reality TV show world of 2009, though, Jeff Skiles is just the latest in a long line of get rich quick schemers and dreamers that includes Joe the Plumber and every single contestant to ever appear on “American Idol.”

It's almost enough to make me want to take the train the next time I travel. Almost.

8 thoughts on “This is wrong in so many ways

  1. While I agree Rudy has been opportunistic, the fact is just about everyone is cashing in nowadays. Look at the new Glaswegian singing superstar (what’s her name?). I heard she now has a book deal. Talk about outrageous.

  2. I agree with you, RepMan, but Skiles is hardly the worst offender. To me, the worst example of cashing in and then destroying a personal brand is Rudolph Guiliani after he left the NYC Mayor’s job. On one awful day he says and does the right things and goes from political has-been to “hero,” getting book deals, speaking fees and launching a really inept Presidential bid.
    OK, I know it’s cruel but I can’t help but feel the man’s personal fortune was built on the bodies of a few thousand dead people.

  3. Just trying to protect the American Idol brigade. Good, bad or ugly, they deserve the chance to shine on the show and make for a better lifestyle (as long as tens of millions viewers still tune in).
    As for the co-pilot, on the surface I would agree with you Rep. However, maybe he studied mass communications and public speaking while getting his wings. Maybe he studied team-based management and has a tale or two tell about his past prior to the miracle? Maybe this is something he has always wanted to do? It does seem that he fell victim to LA.
    Change + Expertise + Timing = Opportunity…Skiles seemed to have at least two of ’em (change and timing) and he’s taking the opportunity. Can we really fault him?

  4. Lunch, the difference is that an unplanned event gave the co-pilot his 15 minutes. Idol contestants are trying to create their own, by whatever means necessary, including singing very badly on purpose and mis-behaving. I think RepMan’s point is that the co-pilot has no more expertise as an authority on training, teamwork and corporate culture today than he did before the crash.

  5. No offense to Idol participants, Lunch. I realize they tend to represent the lower strata of society. I think it’s more about people like the US Airways co-pilot who go so far over the line when cashing in on their 15 minutes of fame. Some Idol contestants have done the same.”

  6. whoa…i think you need to ease up on the “American Idol” contestants. they’re simply trying to live their dream. they wait for hours on end just for a shot to show they can belt out a tune and if they’re really good, they make it to Hollywood, dog! From there, the American voter with the help of the judges determine if they are good enough to win. Following the compitition, the weaker contestants are invited to tour the country and sing for their fans via AI Concerts…i see no wrong in that – being that this offers them a chance at a better lifestyle. what’s the alternative, going back to their job at Wendy’s?

  7. I completely agree with your blog, but disagree that Skiles isn’t to blame. He is as much to blame as our society in general. He could have and should have turned down the opportunity. If Skiles truly wants to be useful, he will teach other pilots at US Airways and competing airlines how to handle similar crises. This is a better use of his time and he can be paid separately for this…and, more importantly, teaching other pilots may even help save lives in the future.