Monday, September 13, 2004

I'm Back - TODAY'S HEADLINERS (Mon. 9/13)

I’m finally back. I was vacationing in New Orleans for a little while, but now the updates should be fairly regular.

The concept of private businesses starting clam farms is quickly drawing the ire of residents in an Alaskan town, the Homer Tribune reports. The article is pretty poorly written, but I think I can decipher from it that Homer residents simply expect their way of life to be destroyed by private industry: Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, publicly opposed lifting the ban in a statement issued Aug. 30. Stevens, whose senate district includes the Kachemak Bay area, recognized the need for greater economic opportunities in the region. However, he noted, “the area was placed off-limits to commercial harvesting in 2001 over concerns about the incompatible use of on-bottom mariculture. The proposal to lift the commercial harvesting ban has galvanized Kachemak Bay residents, as well as Homer and Seldovia civic leaders in strong opposition to the plan. Many have cited lack of public access to beaches used in the on-bottom clam farming, and denial of traditional harvest rights as reasons to oppose Fish and Game’s proposal.” You know, with all the complaining people to do about how the government doesn’t do enough to strengthen their economy, maybe America is flailing economically because most of the time they react towards incoming business as though it were a Nazi invasion.

On the same note, the Record-Courier in Gardnerville, Nevada is bemoaning the loss of an old tree to a private business. Douglas County residents are seeing a few of their beloved cottonwoods being chopped down to make way for new homes. Well, the residents don’t technically own the land the trees are on. But old trees like that belong to the community ipso facto apparently. "Developers are motivated by profit. They have little concern the history, culture, or the future well-being of a community. These trees should be allowed to die in their own time," (Douglas County resident Barbara) Havens said. "County of officials should provide the check and balance.” I agree. New jobs and homes would be devastating to the community. Now where are Gardnervillians going to get their carbon dioxide?

This is a good one. For all those who fear the Svengali-like powers of businesses that swarthily offer goods and services, you might enjoy this. The Oregonian out of Portland says: When Wieden+Kennedy made a one-hour logo-laden movie for Brand Jordan about boxer Roy Jones Jr., the ESPN2 network reportedly aired it at no cost to Nike. (scroll past Ford ad to the rest of the article) Everyone won -- especially viewers, who got a close-up look at Jones that only Nike could deliver -- say Wieden+Kennedy managers. Not so, says Gary Ruskin, director of Commercial Alert, a Portland-based nonprofit that works nationally to contain commercialization. Ruskin, who is probably 95 and begins every sentence with “back in my day,” continued: "When Wieden+Kennedy engages in this trickery and networks do as well, they're brazenly violating the public's right to know who is seeking to persuade them," Ruskin says. "It's deeply sleazy and part of the creep of advertising into every nook and cranny of our lives and culture." Public’s right to know who is persuading them? Which amendment is that? … A question for Mr. Ruskin: Who lost? How was the consumer harmed? Why is commercialization bad? Has anyone ever bothered to spell that out with something other than abstractions? … Execs involved with the little movie defended their actions: "Our feeling is, as long as the story's great, you're good," says Jimmy Smith, Wieden+Kennedy's Nike basketball creative director, who hopes to land the ad shop's hip-hop play, "Ball," in an off-Broadway theater by spring. And if the story sucks, no one will watch it. Very simple. … "Part of why companies like Wieden+Kennedy like guerrilla marketing is because they are so deeply unpopular," says Ruskin, citing polls showing increasing resistance to advertising. "People hate the companies so much they have to hide their tracks." Thank God that the company has a tractor beam so they can suck customers in whether they like it or not.


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