The Things We Covet

Chris Anderson

      A 28-year-old black man by the name of Coleman Hughes popped up on Chris Anderson’s radar screen towards the end of 2022. In his capacity as head of TED Conferences, LLC (Technology, Entertainment and Design), Anderson was always on the lookout for individuals with a fresh perspective on scientific, cultural, and political topics to speak at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, Canada. 

      Mr. Hughes had become an item not because his ideas are novel. Rather, his popularity was the product of his quaint, counter-cultural message: that people should be treated equally in all circumstances—public or private—regardless of their race. Since TED’s avowed mission is to “spread ideas that spark conversation” and that move people “to think differently,” and to pursue “knowledge—without an agenda,”[1] Anderson invited Hughes to make his case for “color blindness.” Mr. Hughes accepted the invitation with alacrity[2] and delivered his remarks at the annual TED Conference held in April 2023.

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“Hypocrisy is the Tribute Vice Pays to Virtue” —Francois de La Rochefoucauld

N.B.  The person who is the subject of this essay never saw or read its contents prior to its publication, had no foreknowledge of this essay, or my plans to write it. He is at liberty to repudiate it in its entirety. The views expressed below are mine and mine alone.

      Several years ago, Aaron Sherinian saved my life. Since then, he has become my closest—and, perhaps, my most intimate—friend, apart from my wife (and my dog). We counsel each other frequently, break bread together periodically, and engage in irreverent behavior constantly. He’s an exceptionally good listener, laughs at my jokes, and bathes regularly. In other words, he’s the perfect friend. 

      Aaron was recently named Director of Global Communications for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka, “the Mormon Church”). As the managing director of the Church’s Communication Department, he will oversee Church interactions with the media, promote the Church’s humanitarian initiatives, coordinate major events (e.g., the reopening of the Salt Lake Temple), and, in consultation with Church leaders, communicate the Church’s message to the world. In other words, he’s a PR Guy.

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