Sean Beckwith: New series speaks to the cynical |

Sean Beckwith: New series speaks to the cynical

Welcome to the Poor Person’s Panel. In response to Aspen’s ever-expanding selection of out-of-touch events designed to give important people a chance to push agendas or examine the word of agenda back to its Latin origin, I present to you an outsider’s view. There’s AREDAY, Ideas Fest, the Security Forum and a litany of others but only one can speak directly to those who enjoy hearing the sound of their voice.

For the price of $450, senators, tech moguls, CEOs, news anchors and more can learn what it’s like to be talked at for hours without actually saying anything. Topics include: “How full of s— are you?” “Do you mean that or is it just a talking point from your publicist?” “How terrifying is the future of social media?” “Do you actually recycle or do you throw you water bottle in public trashcans?” “Money: Is it a good thing or the reason rich people suck?”

If you’re interested in participating, it takes place on Sept. 31 at the Square Grouper. For a preview of a few of the lectures, continue reading.

“Do you mean that or is it just a talking point from you publicist” explores the art of bulls—ing. When asked meaningful questions, it’s best to babble in circles.

“We use synergy to create progress, and with that progress comes more synergy. So the more synergy we have, the more progress we make. And the more progress we make, the more synergy we have.”

It’s all about using words that sound smart in a way that also sounds smart.

“You have to play to win but you also have to win to play” — Michael Scott, manager, Scranton office.

“How terrifying is the future of social media” deals with privacy and hate speech in the most helpless way possible. You can learn how to make a racist Tweet so borderline that it passes Twitter’s lax ethical standards.

In another portion of the lecture, the speaker will mention five products aloud 20 different times to see how fast your cellphone mic picks up the phrase and tailors an ad to your feed.

Endlessly sharing photos of your children? Here’s how to do it in a way that makes it easier for sex traffickers to conduct abductions.

“Money: Is it a good thing or the reason rich people suck” delves into the psyche of people with so much wealth that their extravagantly terrible behavior is lauded on HBO and Showtime. See how much privilege you can take while watching people shop at Gucci and Louis Vutton via security camera.

Is she really going to buy that $5,000 cowboy hat/tasseled jacket combo to wear exactly once during her mountain vacation? You’ll have to attend the seminar to find out.

“Do you actually recycle or do you throw your water bottle in public trashcans” examines the lack of commitment to waste management. From private planes to empty promises, explore the ways corporations construct messages of environmental health while clubbing polar bears for sport.

Remember that Sarah McLachlan commercial where she plays sad music over sadder pictures of animals? Yeah, she’s a poacher in real life. You want a set of rhino tusk dice for game night with your future serial killer friends? She has connections directly to the source for everything from disposable tiger-skin napkins to baby seal sleeping masks.

“How full of s— are you” breaks down the slate of panels from various forums over the summer in Aspen and looks at how much actually came out of them. Take a deep dive into the months of discussions to see how much bipartisanship was proposed and how much of it was actually followed through on.

Did people really value what Taj Mahal said or did they just want to meet their favorite musicians? It’s a fair question. Everyone wants to vacation in Aspen during the summer. Are you here to further a cause or because you wanted to get out of the debilitating heat in New York?

The goal of the Poor Person’s Panel is to give these important people some perspective about how cynical folks view the never-ending charade of symposiums. They’ll be amazed to find out that pressing issues are rising as fast as the number of rich-guy panels.

The stage is open to rants from all demographics. Those looking to sign up as speakers won’t get a room comped in town but they will get the reward that comes with screaming at CEOs, senators and other renowned orators.

So bust out those business blazers and your best pair of khakis and get ready to ramble.

Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at