Saturday, February 26, 2005

MH - Listening to Reason(er) III

As you know, I've been posting some comments from newsman Harry Reasoner that originally appeared in a 1967 issue of TV Guide. I was attracted to them because they were well-said, wryly humorous, to-the-point, and they often appeared just as true today as they did almost 40 years ago. I thought I'd wind up with two comments - the first on politics, the second on corporate sponsorship. First:
Be highly suspicious of any political or social group which never under any circumstances thinks there is something funny about itself and its program.

Reminds me of something Dan Rather said once (probably one of those written by Peggy Noonan) where he said to beware any group that either used the word "American" in their name (as I recall, the example he used was People for the American Way), or whose acronym spelled out a clever word. I always figured a group that spends that much time gerrymandering their name in order for the initials to spell something is way too expert in spin-doctoring words to be trusted.

The second comes under the title "Legalizing Manijuana," but I think it tells just as much about how Corporate American can co-opt even the most radical, anti-establishment concept and turn it into a marketing campaign:
Now we know our country, and we love it, but we are well aware of what it does with anything that is legal and profitable. It merchandises it. And I think eventhe most intellectual defender of marijuana as less harmful and more dignified than booze would be wella dvised to stop and think about hte United States five years after marijuana becomes legal. Can't you imagine Acapulco God, The Upbeat Stick That Has No Letdown, presenting The Ed Sullivan Show?

Of course, most TV shows in the early years were sponsored by companies that included their names in the title of the show - we see it today in programs like the Hallmark Hall of Fame - so it's nothing new. (For those of you out there who don't remember Ed Sullivan, he hosted something called a "variety show". Substitute something like Seinfeld to get the point.)

But you get my meaning. There's something about all this that makes you just a little uneasy. I thought about this when I heard some economic analysts discussing the President's trip to Europe and whether a new Cold War with Russia would be bad for the stock market. That's Corporate America in a nutshell - they don't care what the moral implications are of an event, they don't care whether it's good or bad for America, all they do is look at it to find out if they can make a buck.

(BTW, find someone in the MSM today who would have the courage to speak a sentence that says "we love our country"!)

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