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 What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.

Unforgiven: EDAC CEOs at their iconic best

March 17th, 2012 by Peggy Aycinena

When it comes to Westerns, nothing satisfies more than the one about long-time compadres getting together to do one last ride, one last round up, to take one last stand.

It satisfies, because it’s been years in the making and involves all aspects of the genre – long, lonely shots of distant horizons, fading references to the “exploration and settlement of previously untamed frontiers”, and a rich narrative of “rugged, self-sufficient individuals taming a savage wilderness with common sense and direct action.”

This particular type of Western also satisfies, because we know the players well – their faces, their mannerisms, how many notches they’ve got in their gun belts, and whether they normally ride alone or in a posse.

[Nope, didn’t make this stuff up. It’s quoted direct-like from this here book: Looking at Movies by R.Barsam & D.Monahan, 2010, W.W. Norton & Co.]

Clint Eastwood’s legendary Unforgiven was one of those compadres-reunited Westerns, full of classic genre atmosphere, yet colored with an evocative late 20th century sensibility …

We know this will be our final chapter with the flinty-eyed loner, his laconic companions, their Western saunter, and possibly with the West itself – not much longer a “dangerous, lawless country in need of taming.”

And so it was with this year’s annual EDAC CEO Forecast Panel. I have no crystal ball and no inside info, but my gut feeling in attending this year’s event was one of overwhelming finality: This will be the last time we’ll see this particular Western play itself out.

And where last year’s EDAC panel was an agitated, techno-urban affair, full of suits and ties, edgy questions and scripted non-answers, this year’s panel was peaceful and calm, full of open-collared shirts and unscripted non-answers.

The kind of Code of The West event you’d expect John Ford [aka Ed Sperling] to agree to – respectful, understated, seasoned and brave. Like a manly chat by the camp fire with John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Ward Bond at the end of a long day’s trail.

So yep, I just had the sense, sitting there watching the thing unfold, that these compadres who have ridden side-by-side for so long are heading off into the sunset one last time. This was our final chapter with these flinty-eyed companions that we know so well, their Western saunter, and possibly with the West itself.

Because, just as the West is no longer a place of “distant horizons and untamed frontiers,” EDA is no longer wild, no longer a place “where anyone with the right stuff can reinvent himself and start a new life.”

Instead, EDA has become gentrified, commoditized, tamed, encapsulated, predictable, controlled, fenced-in, civilized, and sent way, way offshore. EDA’s for the pious town folk now, not for the wild innovator, the lanky cowboy, the free-range drifter.

It’s not the place where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day. Today it’s a place where nary a word is heard – we’re publicly traded now & muzzled, don’t ya’know – and the skies aren’t cloudy all day, because now there ain’t no Blue Sky at all.

And if there are clouds, they’re Word Clouds [click here] full of telling vocab about an EDA that’s so distant and complex, it actually lives in a Cloud all its own.

So stop for a moment and remember the past. If you close your eyes and let your imagination run free, you can hear them calling: Round ‘em up! Move ‘em out! You can remember back to that era when these compadres of EDA first rode into town, and watch wistfully now as they prepare to ride back out.


“American history inspired the Western, but the genre’s enduring popularity has more to do with how Americans see and explain themselves than with any actual events.” [Barson & Monahan]

“EDA’s history inspired the EDAC CEO Forecast Panel, but the genre’s enduring popularity has more to do with how EDA sees and explains itself than with any actual events.” [Anon]


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