the lost american WHAT MAKES ME UNIQUE

Editor's Note:

In March, 1985, Texas Monthly published a lengthy article by Stephen Harrigan about Fred Cuny and the work of his Intertect staff. It is titled, "Looking For Trouble." Harrigan traveled to Madagascar to observe Cuny in action, and also spent a lot of time interviewing him in Texas. At one point, Harrigan asked Cuny to write down some things about himself. Along with a list of 109 stories he could offer to tell about his life and17 "other incidents" (including such entries as "The bulldozer tanks of Niccaragua," "sex and the single relief worker" and "dealing with spooks -- how to spot them, how to hustle them"), Cuny wrote the following two pages on how he saw himself and his company.

1. Lifestyle

- constantly on the go - not unusual to visit 2 dozen countries yearly

- witness to many of the major events of our times

- " " suffering and triumph of human spirit

- I know many of the personalities in the news

- some hairy situations - flying into Biaf[ra] - Palestinians, after shocks of EQ [earthquakes], in the thick of civildisturbances/war

- exotic places - very remote areas

- satisfaction with job - life saving - contributions - pushing the edge of tech[nology]

- and I often fly myself there

2. Achievements

- Long list of firsts

- " " " accomplishments - projects - books - technologies


- Changed the way we deal w/ disasters, our understanding of them

- The recognized leader in field

What do my critics say?

Too pushy - arrogant

Too critical of volags [voluntary organizations] - don't understand the

pressures they are under

I recommend complicated projects - too sophisticated

Too far ahead of the implimenters - don't bring the entire system along


Won't suffer the fools

Dogmatic myself

Brawler (though I've mellowed a lot in last few years)

Kind of image I want to project

1. For me

Tough - sav[v]y - technocrat w/ social conscience + vision

Innovative, highly organized, quick thinking - extremely self

confident -In the know on 3rd world political issues - A source

that people rely on. Not the kind to pick a fight, but not the kind to

walk away from one.

2. For Intertect

Highly professional, (hand picked) [this is crossed out], highly dedicated, experienced, concerned

Each an expert in his own right - cool under fire

Tight knit, hand picked, (workaholics) [this is also crossed out], hard

charging, mega workers

Talk our own language (internally), wild practical jokers

Loyal, trusted

home .  who killed fred cuny .  map of cuny's world .  from his laptop .  on the life .  his radio interviews .  special reports .  friends & colleagues .  links .  viewer discussion .  press reaction .  tapes & transcripts
web site copyright 1995-2014 WGBH educational foundation
PBS Online