Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Essay 131

Three MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Long Island police spent the past month hauling in over 220 suspected gang members, scooping up about a dozen guns, drugs, cash and a machete. Plus, a big-game crossbow. Moose and elk in the New York area are feeling much safer now.

• Al Sharpton led Texas cops on a 9-mile chase at speeds of up to 110 mph. There can only be one explanation: beauty salon appointment.

• Nielsen Media Research has dramatic new TV viewership figures thanks to its innovative people-meter system. Given the controversies surrounding the company’s minority data, it will be interesting to see revised numbers for Blacks and Hispanics. Perhaps we’ll learn that NBC didn’t have to cancel Whoopi after all.

Essay 130

Your fifteen MultiCultClassics Minutes of fame are up…

• According to a recent report in The Economist, “The Department of Justice estimates that one black man in three will go to jail at some point during his life — more than five times the rate for white men.” Also, “in 2002 blacks were seven times more likely than whites to commit murder.” Hope the proofreaders at the British publication were smoking crack during the writing of that story.

• Here’s another quote from Kanye West: “Black people can be the most conservative, the most discriminating. Especially among ourselves.” Damn, this guy must have worked in advertising.

• Look who we’ve got our Hanes on now. Law enforcement experts are seeing a new trend in gang gear. Colors are out. Plain white T-shirts are in. Wonder if it was all inspired by the commercial with Michael Jordan and Matthew Perry.

• Police are still on the lookout for the person who shot Suge Knight in Miami. Despite the teeming party crowd, no one seems to be willing to offer much information. The suspect was a Black male wearing a pink T-shirt. Which means it probably wasn’t gang-related (see above). And the last brotha in Miami wearing pink T-shirts was Philip Michael Thomas.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Essay 129

Desperately seeking the essence of a decent concept in the latest issue of Essence…

Kelly Rowland is working it for Soft Sheen • Carson, hawking Dark and Lovely’s new Color Flash. Five pages later, she’s hyping Dark and Lovely’s Moisturizing Relaxer. Let’s hope the products deliver as advertised, or Kelly’s next hair gig will be for Rogaine. Ironically, appearing between Kelly’s ads is a L’Oréal spread featuring Beyoncé. L’Oréal is the parent company of Soft Sheen • Carson. Looks like poor Kelly still hasn’t made the spokesperson A-list.

Tampax Pearl presents a sistah at her yoga class with the headline, “Who would have thought a tampon could get me to that Zen place?” That’s quite a stretch for even a Master Yogi. Don’t mean to get crude, but a tampon ad shouldn’t have body copy that also exclaims, “Whoa, the blood’s rushing to my head.”

Royal Caribbean International continues to display some of the worst Photoshop compositing around. And some of the worst photos too. The tagline is, “Get out there.” It should be shortened to, “Get out.”

Toyota Corolla rolls in with more questionable Photoshop compositing. A brotha and his hot ride are superimposed over a variety of tickets for entertainment and sporting events. The headline states, “Fun is where you find it.” Wasn’t sure about the relevance here, unless Toyota’s targeting scalpers. Then later in the magazine, American Express Gold Card brags, “it gets you prime seating to many of the most sought-after shows, concerts, and sporting events.” OK, now it all makes sense. Black folks love entertainment and sporting events.

Levi Strauss Signature Jeans offers the obligatory girlfriends get-together, with laughing ladies huddled around the piano. Coca-Cola pours out another girlfriends get-together, with a spirited birthday bash. Family get-togethers are staged by American Airlines (with Grandma serving her traditional pound cake), Vanity Fair Napkins (with Mama serving Chinese takeout) and Tyson meat products (with everyone celebrating at the family barbecue).

Three advertisers attempt to flaunt their commitment to education. “Hamburger Helper helps you make his dreams come true,” according to the headline over a kid in a school hallway. Collecting box tops leads to General Mills making donations for academic purposes. Talk to the hand puppet. Lay’s chips in a 3-page special section listing back-to-school tips. Given the recent controversies surrounding the health risks of potato chips and french fries, the suggestions should include expelling Lay’s products from the household cupboard. State Farm Insurance rounds out the trio with a tyke wearing a Morehouse sweatshirt. This ad has been running so long, the photographed kid is probably completing his second master’s degree.

Nissan Infiniti sputters along with its Black campaign, this time spotlighting a Black dancer. Fade to black on this execution already. Mickey D’s trots out a contrived layout with Premium Chicken Sandwiches on a fashion show runway. This ad was never in vogue. B. Smith promotes Palmolive dishwashing liquid with the headline, “B. Powerful.” B. Gone, please. Verizon Broadband… aw, hell, this one’s so bad it’s not even worth dissing.

Is it possible to request a subscription refund?

Essay 128

Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout, Willis? Presenting a few real quotes from the real world.

“It’s so easy for a kid to join a gang, to do drugs. We should make it that easy to be involved in football and academics.”
>>Snoop Dogg, who is running a kids football league in Orange County. Looks like Snoop is becoming quite the suburban dad.

“Where is the threat to our way of life and mode of communication? …On a philosophical level, is this the kind of society we want? A society where a person who arrives at our shores to make a better life has the door slammed in his or her face because he or she does not yet understand English or at least not well enough to speak or read it fluently?”
>>Mayor Joseph Kernan of Norton, Ohio, who vetoed a resolution that would require all municipal documents in Norton be written only in English.

“When you have 99.9 percent of the people speaking English in Norton, when they go into the voting booth, they will have their say. What he’s doing for our city is completely wrong. It’s a strike against democracy. I’m a proud, English-speaking person in Norton.”
>>Norton Councilman William Mowery, who sponsored the resolution, predicting Mayor Kernan can expect a political backlash. But if 99.9 percent of Norton residents speak English, why would Mowery feel the need to push his resolution?

“It was a strike against me that I didn’t wear baggy jeans and jerseys and that I never hustled, never sold drugs.”
>>Kanye West, discussing the challenges he faced establishing street cred in the world of hip-hop. Guess he made some headway by hosting a party where Suge Knight took a bullet in the leg.

“Make me.”
>>Nation of Islam leader Tony Muhammad, responding to LAPD demanding that he “back up” during a confrontation. The cops made Muhammad back up by beating him down. A recording of the conversation was released to the press.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Essay 127

Start the week with your recommended daily allowance of MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• The Judicial Council of California is out to make English the official language for jurors — plain English, that is. An eight-year effort rewrote seven decades of legal gobbledygook into layman’s terms. For example, “willfully false” is now “lied.” The hope is that jury instructions will no longer be so complicated and impossible to decipher. Too bad the Judicial Council of California can’t do anything about the “willfully false” courtroom tactics of lawyers and defendants.

• The United States Post Office unveiled a stamp commemorating tennis star and cultural icon Arthur Ashe. There’s a lesson here for Mexican President and Memin Pinguin enthusiast Vicente Fox.

• Being first in market no longer guarantees success. The maker of Rio MP3 players — which were the pioneer devices in the field — is exiting from the market. Seems the manufacturer could not play with increased competition from monster brands like Apple’s iPod. Get your soon-to-be collector’s items on eBay now!

• The London Zoo has a new attraction — caged humans. Three men and five women are on display beside the primate environments. “A lot of people think humans are above other animals,” said one of the exhibited Homo sapiens. “When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds us that we’re not that special.” Wonder if, like the other primates, the humans will be seen fornicating and playing with their poop.

• The battle zones feature hideous torture and shootouts with bazookas and assault rifles, and the death tolls are rising at alarming rates. But it’s not the conflict in Iraq. No, it’s the drug wars taking place in nearby Mexican border cities like Nuevo Laredo. The already strained relations between the United States and Mexico are being worsened by continuing feuds involving Latino drug cartels. Quick, somebody get Pat Robertson’s opinion on this.

• Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says that if anything happens to him now, blame President Bush. Chavez was responding to Pat Robertson’s recent assassination recommendation. Actually, Chavez has bigger problems on his hands at this point — Jesse Jackson flew south to meet with him.

• Georgia now has “the most draconian voter identification requirement in the nation,” according to Daniel Levitas of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Voting Rights Project in Atlanta. The proclamation came after the state won the approval of the Justice Department to require voters show a photo I.D. at the polls. Democrats claimed the action was designed by Republicans to depress voting among minorities, the elderly and the poor. As if Republicans needed another way to make folks depressed.

• Washington, D.C. prosecutors taking on MS-13 are using a statute originally created to combat Mafia crime families. Nice to know somebody’s benefiting from watching The Sopranos.

• Cindy Sheehan, the protesting mother whose son died in Iraq, met with actor Martin Sheehan, who plays the president on NBC drama The West Wing. Not sure it’s quite what the grieving mother was hoping for, as she’s been trying to get a face-to-face with the real Commander-In-Chief.

• Despite the recent anti-graffiti efforts in New York and Los Angeles, taggers can now find sanctuary in an unexpected state — Ohio. The City Xpressionz Festival welcomed prominent artists to spray paint without fear, sponsored by Scion dealerships, Starbucks and other community programs. Pretty amazing, considering the last hip, urban thing to come out of Ohio was WKRP’s Venus Flytrap.

Essay 126

Law & Disorder with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Hasta la vista, Las Chepas. The governors of New Mexico and the Mexican state of Chihuahua agreed to shut down areas of the small border town. Illegal immigrants and drug and human smugglers have used Las Chepas as a staging ground. Abandoned buildings will be boarded up or bulldozed as part of the emergency effort initiated by New Mexico. Security and law enforcement will be beefed up as well.

• Washington, D.C. continues to crack down on MS-13, the notorious Latino street gang. This week, 19 suspected gang members faced a federal indictment charging them with racketeering. Increased violent crimes linked to MS-13 led local law enforcement to seek federal assistance. But given that the gang boasts membership of up to 10,000 nationwide, it’s unlikely officials will deep-six MS-13 anytime soon.

• On September 14, Texas plans to execute a Black woman for the first time since the Civil War. However, defense lawyers are mounting an argument that the convicted murderer is actually innocent. Frances Newton has been on Death Row for nearly 17 years for killing her husband and two children. In light of the recent controversies surrounding the justice system in Texas (see Essays 112 and 121), maybe someone should replace the lethal injection with some legal injection.

• The LAPD is under fire again for beating civilians. This time, the cops roughed up the western regional director of the Nation of Islam Tony Muhammad. The incident took place during a street vigil for a slaying victim, as a group of people allegedly assaulted cops. Witnesses insisted Muhammad was attacked without provocation. The LAPD told a different tale, arguing Muhammad “became quite belligerent and joined in the assault.” The cops suffered a torn pocket and name tag, while Muhammad sported a severely bruised and swollen face, forehead lump and possible concussion.

• In a twisted case of profiling, a private contractor working for the Pentagon prior to May 2000 mistakenly identified Condoleezza Rice as a potential security risk. The group had operated with a counter-terrorism unit within the Pentagon, using sophisticated computer programs that analyzed data for patterns of suspicious behavior. Wonder if Pat Robertson ever popped up on their monitors.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Essay 125

Anger mismanagement with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Oprah’s pissed off over being accused of dissing the late John H. Johnson by failing to attend his funeral. The Chicago Defender newspaper criticized Winfrey, calling her absence an “apparent snub of the man who single-handedly made it possible for people like Oprah to launch their own magazines and media companies.” Oprah insisted she sent condolences and flowers to Johnson’s family, but was unable to leave Hawaii. Letter to the Editor of the Chicago Defender: Don’t mess with Oprah.

• Palestinian American Sami Habbas received a credit card offer in the mail from Chase. The letter was addressed to “Palestinian Bomber.” When Habbas called the bank and identified himself with his ZIP Code and invitation number, operators referred to him as “Mr. Bomber.” Needless to say, Habbas is pissed off. But mostly because it would be tough getting merchants to accept a card with that name on it.

• Ohio postal employee Thomas Shaheen must have been pissed off with his coworkers. Shaheen wound up literally pissing into the employee coffee machine. The staff set up a camera after growing suspicious over the funny-tasting java, and they ultimately caught Shaheen making his special delivery. Talk about going postal.

• Folks are growing increasingly pissed off with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his refusal to declare a state of emergency in response to the problem of illegal immigration. Arizona and New Mexico have already called emergency declarations. Given that Schwarzenegger has starred in movies with alien predators and world-conquering enemies, the immigration troubles in his state probably seem calm by comparison.

• FTD Group Inc. is not planning to send a bouquet to rival ProFlowers. Instead, FTD sent notice of a lawsuit, accusing the competitor of false advertising. ProFlowers claims its products arrive “direct from the fields.” FTD argues ProFlowers’ stuff comes straight out of refrigerated warehouses. There’s nothing more pathetic than a war between pissed off florists.

Essay 124

Friday morning rush hour with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• The good news: Blacks, Hispanics and Whites are equally pulled over by cops for traffic stops. The no news: Blacks and Hispanics are significantly more likely to get searched, cuffed and subjected to physical abuse. A recent study by the Justice Department confirmed what every minority motorist in America already knew. But the report failed to offer a reason for the racial differences. Free researched reason from MultiCultClassics: Because cops hate Blacks and Hispanics.

• You gotta fight for your right to party. And spray paint too. On Wednesday fashion designer Marc Ecko held his graffiti art event in New York, despite attempted legal blockades by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and assorted politicians. Prominent graffiti artists painted replica subway cars and promoted their craft in a responsible fashion. “Don’t be afraid of spray paint,” artist Lady Pink said. “It’s just a quick medium… It’s not a reason to call the cops.” Especially if you’re a Black or Hispanic motorist.

• Los Angeles is cracking down on graffiti artists, demanding that even commissioned murals are whitewashed. Many of the murals depict images of Mexican American history or serve as advertisements for local businesses. City officials are using an obscure ordinance granting them authority to regulate artwork that abuts public property. Spray-painted note to Marc Ecko: Stay the hell out of LA.

• Now appearing at grocery stores and 7-11s in San Diego, Dallas and Phoenix: Las Delicias de Hostess. The manufacturer of such dubious delights as Twinkies, Ding-Dongs and Ho Hos introduced a series of snacks designed to appeal to Hispanics. The semi-food items are allegedly inspired by traditional Hispanic goodies. Can’t imagine a better bakery for creating culturally authentic cakes. For Hispanics, the translation for Ho Hos is "Caca de Gringos."

• Religious fanatic Pat Robertson stutter-stepped through explanations and apologies for his suggestion to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Robertson first tried to insist his words were misinterpreted and taken out of context. Let’s see. An original quote included, “…I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.” Well, it’s easy to see how that remark could be misinterpreted. Another comment stated, “We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.” OK, in that case, Robertson meant someone should take Chavez out to dinner. And afterwards, assassinate the motherfucker.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Essay 123

Midweek musings with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• An advertising campaign designed to stop the illegal consumption of endangered turtles’ eggs has sparked controversy in Mexico. Men have eaten the eggs for years, thinking they are aphrodisiacs. Posters feature a scantily clad Argentine model Dorismar proclaiming, “My man does not need turtle eggs because he knows they don’t make him more potent.” The National Women’s Institute is protesting the ads, arguing the work counters the country’s efforts to overcome machismo. Maybe Dorismar could be replaced by Memin Pinguin.

• Talk about sore losers. A bunch of Burger King franchisees are suing McDonald’s over the rigged Monopoly promotional game from the 1990s. The Burger King clan claims Mickey D’s hurt their business by running a contest hyping prizes that did not exist. Even though McDonald’s has already dealt with lawsuits and settlements from the original scandal, the flame-broiled franchisees insist the contest lured BK customers to the Golden Arches. The franchisees’ lawsuit cites the Lanham Act, a law prohibiting false advertising. Mickey D’s should counter by accusing Burger King of running false advertising claiming new Chicken Fries taste good.

• Figures now show immigration cases consume the majority of federal prosecutions, exceeding narcotics and drug cases. Guess we can expect new Hispanic programming on Court TV soon.

• Goodness gracious, there are new accusations of racism in Major League Baseball. Los Angeles Dodgers player Milton Bradley charged teammate Jeff Kent “doesn’t know how to deal with African American people.” The comments fueled a feud in the clubhouse, clearly creating an ugly scenario. But it’s tough to take someone named Milton Bradley seriously.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Essay 122

Religious references and real estate with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Religious fanatic Pat Robertson recommended assassinating Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Onward, Christian Coalition soldiers.

• Actual entry from thesaurus.com: Arab n. 1. beggar 2. homeless person 3. welfare bum (Gee, looks like Pat Robertson is writing too.)

• The NCAA decided to permit Florida State to use its Seminoles nickname in postseason play, citing the positive relationship between the school and Native Americans. Or maybe it was because the university suggested changing to the Florida State Arabs.

• A Belgian nun was reprimanded by her mother superior for wildly dancing during a Catholic World Youth Day celebration. However, ABC may be interested in signing her up for next season’s Dancing With The Stars.

• A rare book dealer is selling her 1830 copy of the Book of Mormon one page at a time — for up to $4500 per page. The really annoying part is she’s doing it door to door.

• Re/Max realtors are accused of ethnic selection, steering Whites to White neighborhoods and minorities to minority neighborhoods — plus, bad-mouthing minority areas to White clients. Re/Max appears to be Ra/Cist.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Essay 121

MultiCultClassics Minutes with more reasons to hate Mondays…

• In the August 15, 2005 issue of Adweek, columnist Barbara Lippert critiqued the Chrysler spot featuring Snoop Dogg and Lee Iacocca. Lippert wrote, “Only in America, kids, could you have a former pimp and drug user and a retired CEO who once tried a hostile takeover of the company make beautiful music together in a commercial on a golf course.” Don’t mean to sound overly sensitive, but why make the pimp and drug user reference? Would it have killed Lippert to label Snoop as a rapper or TV and movie star? Damn, Iacocca probably committed far worse crimes in his career.

• A new study links eating french fries with breast cancer. According to the report, it’s not the potatoes, but rather, the trans-fatty acids and saturated fats that may lead to trouble. Hmmmm. Mickey D’s recently dealt with lawsuits and impending settlements surrounding the use of trans-fatty acids in food products (see Essay 25). Get a free McMammogram with every Happy Meal.

• A Manhattan graffiti block party will take place this week, despite New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to stop the fun. Fashion designer Marc Ecko planned the event, and artists are scheduled to spray-paint on models of subway cars. Bloomberg initially denied organizers a permit, arguing the exhibition would encourage people to tag real subway cars. But a federal judge ordered the city to let the artists perform their craft, proclaiming Bloomberg’s logic meant, “A street performance of ‘Hamlet’ would be tantamount to encouraging revenge murder.” Yo, judge, don’t give New Yorkers more crazy ideas.

• Dallas County prosecutors are guilty of excluding Blacks from juries at over twice the rate they nix Whites. A new report shows the exclusionary tactics have been taking place as recently as 2002. “The statistics may show we strike more Blacks, but it’s not because they’re Black,” insisted District Attorney Bill Hill. “It’s because for one reason or another, they (prosecutors) don’t think they are going to be fair and impartial.” Maybe because they’re… Black?

• In the August 22, 2005 issue of Adweek, the People page featured a photo of favorite icon nominees for the upcoming Advertising Week in New York. Contenders included Tony the Tiger, Cap’n Crunch and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Hey, how come Aunt Jemima wasn’t among the finalists?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Essay 120

The column below appeared in The Washington Post. It’s an interesting perspective on another country’s musings about multiculturalism.


Multiculturalism’s Many Challenges
Britons Rethink Their Approach to Community

By Frances Stead Sellers

Monday, August 22, 2005

Just weeks after homegrown Muslim terrorists attacked London, the British people affirmed their support for multiculturalism, according to a MORI poll for the BBC. It was heartening evidence that Britons have overcome the racism of their colonial past and learned to appreciate the carnival of color I joined when I took the Tube across central London shortly after the bombings.

But multiculturalism means more than better food and brighter festivals. It involves the trickier challenge of building community out of disparate populations with disparate traditions and disparate beliefs, all the while preserving and celebrating those disparities. That’s what European countries are having a hard time coming to grips with -- and understandably so, because multiculturalism swept into Europe before its member countries had developed a philosophy to accommodate it. British author and psychologist Kenan Malik puts it more starkly. “Multiculturalism as lived experience enriches our lives,” he has written. “But multiculturalism as a political ideology has helped create a tribal Britain with no political or moral centre.”

Unlike America, where every new immigrant can make America more American (as President Bush once argued), and where the founding philosophy and civic rituals were designed to create a citizenry out of the masses, European countries were established less deliberately -- largely on shared traditions, shared languages, shared histories and even shared genes.

Recognizing the resulting deficit in civic ritual and the potential for a repeat of the kind of racial unrest that shook northern England four years ago, Britain’s Labor government has been making a belated effort to engender “common values and a sense of belonging.” Just 18 months ago, Britain held its first naturalization ceremony, in the London borough of Brent, publicly marking the moment the foreigner crossed the threshold to become a Briton. There, each citizen-in-the-making officially pledged “loyalty to the United Kingdom” and to “respect its rights and freedoms” as well as to “fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen.”

More recently, just a few weeks before the bombings, the Home Office announced that, from November onward, prospective Britons will have to take a citizenship test to demonstrate some knowledge of the nation’s past, an appreciation of its institutions, and an awareness of its customs and laws. The test is the product of a government-appointed panel led by the political theorist Bernard Crick, who has indulged in much soul-searching about just what it takes to be a modern multicultural Brit.

Is it important to know exactly what goes into the Christmas pud, for example, or how to get a new telephone installed? Should a prospective Briton understand how to use the National Health Service or know what happened in 1066 and all that?

This uneasy balance of cultural, practical and historical know-how has been widely ridiculed, but Crick’s work represents an important if imperfect step toward establishing what it means to belong. And the need for heightened civic awareness isn’t only among newcomers. Citizenship classes have already become a compulsory part of the school curriculum. For my niece in Cheshire, “citizenship” meant learning about the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (though when I spoke to her she didn’t know what that had to do with being British); and for one of my nephews, it meant working on a building for children in the Cornish town where he grew up.

Now there is talk of some sort of coming-of-age citizenship ceremony for 18-year-olds, as well as a national “Citizenship Day” to celebrate the bonds of Britishness (probably without parades and sparklers, which might be, uh, a bit too brash).

Old hat, Americans (or Australians) may say. But it’s an essential new approach to belonging that is being developed in the Old World in response to what the New World knows well -- mass migration. Other European countries would do well to emulate it. After the bombings, Tony Blair said that “staying here carries with it a duty. That duty is to share and support the values that sustain the British way of life.” The trouble is, those values have never been enshrined in the Old World’s founding philosophy, leaving only the anything-goes message of multiculturalism.

Or almost anything. In its handbook for newcomers, “Life in the United Kingdom: A Journey to Citizenship,” Crick’s panel offers handy hints on how to act like a true Brit: In a pub, for example, “If you spill a stranger’s drink by accident, it is good manners (and prudent) to offer to buy another.”

The very hardest thing to understand, you see, may be the British sense of humor.

[The writer, a dual citizen of Britain and the United States, is an assistant editor of Outlook.]

Essay 119

Here’s a rewrite of a response to a review originally referenced in Essay 113.


There’s ugliness at the heart of the Dove Real Beauty campaign.

Dove’s history is rooted in stereotypical and idealized beauty standards. The brand has forever been in the forefront of sustaining the status quo in this arena. Why the sudden rebirth? Don’t mean to sound paranoid, but there are eerie similarities between Dove and ex-KKK members now assuming elected seats in politics — they say they’re rehabilitated and reformed, but let’s withhold judgment until seeing indisputable evidence. Remember, Dove is wholly responsible for the issues it now criticizes.

Dove brags the campaign is redefining beauty standards. The problem is, it’s based on Eurocentric beauty standards. Dove basically ignores Afrocentric beauty standards, Asian beauty standards, Hispanic beauty standards, etc. Hell, having a few curves is already considered real beauty among many Blacks and Hispanics. Plus, the allegedly real casting offers a narrow-minded vision, particularly with the minorities depicted. The Dove girls appear to symbolize a White person’s — and probably a White man’s — definition of beauty. In short, this self-absorbed celebration is pretty exclusive.

Another ugly aspect of the campaign involves the art direction. There’s absolutely nothing real about it. The women merely resemble full-figured professional models. The makeup and styling are totally high fashion — no different than Oprah’s makeover programs. The photography is on the level of Vogue and Elle. Even the poses are classical, continuing a movement dating back to Peter Paul Rubens at least. Sorry, these women look anything but real.

The PR surrounding the work feels as fake as the campaign. Great ideas usually seep into the public conscience without a lot of covert prodding from the advertiser. Bud Light’s Whassup? Target. Got milk? iPod. Verizon’s annoying “Can you hear me now?” character. The list goes on. In Dove’s case, it seems the advertiser and agency are seeding too much of the hype — the buzz is calculated and fabricated.

The campaign concept is not original, and Dove openly admits it. Every major beauty brand has presented the same position at some point. Magazines like Essence publish annual photo tributes to real women. For better or worse, most advertisers abandon the direction upon determining real beauty doesn’t equate to real sales. Dove is nowhere close to being fresh or breakthrough. So why is everyone reacting with shock and awe?

Dove itself can barely maintain interest in the campaign. When Dove shampoo was launched a few months ago, Real Beauty was ditched in favor of spotlighting cartoon characters including Wilma Flintstone, Marge Simpson and Jane Jetson. So much for keeping it real — the advertising agency’s creative team apparently lacks adoration for its own brainchild.

A recent New York Times Op-Ed argued the Dove firming product doesn’t live up to its claims — that is, it won’t help firm fat. Here’s yet another contradiction to the notion of being real. And if real beauty should be cherished and unretouched, why hawk snake oil designed to hide the truth?

To contrast and compare, the infamous Miller Beer Catfight bimbos also garnered raves and controversy from American audiences — but miserable sales. Despite Dove’s contention that the Real Beauty campaign is getting positive responses, it will be interesting to see if it generates real profits. Situations turn infinitely real in shareholder meetings when discussions lead to the almighty ROI.

Finally, it’s all so damned cynical when you consider Dove’s parent company. Unilever has plenty of products still merrily showcasing the regular beauty imagery and models. Dove boasts about flipping the script, but the brand can’t persuade its own corporate sisters to join the revolution.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Essay 118

Saturday Night Jive with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Weekend Update with Rev. James Meeks and the Chicago Police Department: Chicago Police Supt. Phil Cline reported that Meeks’ version of the incident appears to be more accurate than a later statement made by an unnamed police source detailing the allegedly abusive cop’s story. Specifically, Meeks’ bodyguards arrived well after the cop had drawn his pistol and cursed at Meeks. The cop claimed he pulled his gun because he was intimidated when physically confronted by Meeks and his bodyguards. “The information provided by the unnamed high-ranking police source is not accurate,” Cline stated. “The car did not come up while the officer was making the stop. It came up later on. (The bodyguards) weren’t there during the initial stop.”

• The Philadelphia woman whose month-long disappearance sparked debate over media bias has been found murdered. Police recovered the remains of 24-year-old LaToyia Figueroa, and an ex-lover has been charged with her murder. Figueroa’s story became another example for the argument that certain groups — especially Hispanics and Blacks — do not receive the same media attention when individuals go missing. Even nutcases like runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks get national coverage, while countless minorities are virtually ignored.

• “Respect, sensitivity and courtesy must be the product of our ongoing efforts, not a code of politically correct terminology,” stated New York Governor George Pataki. He was commenting on a bill that sought to require using politically correct terms in new laws, regulations and assorted legal stuff when referring to folks with disabilities. Pataki vetoed the bill, citing the standards presented were too “vague and subjective.”

• Arizona joined New Mexico to officially increase efforts to deal with illegal immigration, beefing up border patrols and more. Arizona set a new death rate record for illegal immigrants — in the past year, 201 men, women and children have perished in the Arizona elements while attempting to cross the border. Since October 2004, over 500,000 folks have been caught trying to sneak into the state. Officials can’t even begin to guess how many have actually succeeded.

• DC Comics are clearly not AC/DC. A Manhattan art gallery is facing potential legal trouble for exhibiting work depicting homoerotic images of Batman and Robin. The watercolor paintings were created by artist Mark Chamberlain, and pieces have already sold via the Internet at artnet.com. DC Comics is seeking to halt all sales from the art gallery and Internet site. Guess they’re not ready to let the Dynamic Duo out of the Batcloset.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Essay 117

Late-aching news wired from MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• The latest He Said, He Said in the Rev. James Meeks traffic-stop-turns-into-racial-profiling incident: Now Meeks is disputing the cop’s version of the story (see Essay 116). According to a police official, the cop claimed he pulled his revolver because he felt intimidated when physically confronted by Meeks and two bodyguards. But Meeks insisted the bodyguards showed up well after the cop drew his firearm. In fact, Meeks said he had already returned to his car when the bodyguards arrived. A source close to the allegedly offending cop supported Meeks’ recollection of the timeline. Stay tuned.

• The latest He Wrote, He Wrote in the Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts incident: Now it seems like folks are desperate to dig up dirt on the candidate. The latest scandal focuses on a 1984 scenario where Roberts penned recommendations denying Michael Jackson a presidential letter for the singer’s work against drunk driving and giving concert tickets to needy kids. In light of Jackson’s ultimate alleged actions involving kids — including charges that the King of Pop served booze to youngsters — Roberts looks like a prophetic genius.

• The latest Arnold Schwarzenegger Action Move: California politicians are asking Governor Terminator to declare an emergency for the state’s border with Mexico. Arizona and New Mexico have already done so, hoping to cope with illegal immigration. For now, Schwarzenegger refuses to tell immigrants, “Hasta la vista, baby.”

• The latest rapper rehab program: Eminem checked into a hospital to get treatment for sleep medication dependency. Don’t sleep on this. Slim Shady claimed he’s got, “8 miles to go before I sleep.”

Essay 116

Have a nice weekend with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• A judge in Philadelphia declared rapper Cassidy can only be tried for third-degree murder, not first-degree murder. Damn, hope that doesn’t negatively impact CD sales.

• Now comes the other side of the story involving Rev. James Meeks and an allegedly racist cop. Meeks had insisted being the victim of racial profiling when a traffic stop resulted in the officer using profanity and ultimately drawing his revolver. But the officer told a different tale. The cop was apparently intimidated when Meeks’ bodyguards arrived in a third car. They reportedly exited their vehicle and approached the confrontation between Meeks and the officer. It was at this point that the cop brandished his firearm. Police Department sources are backing their own, declaring others have rushed to judgment. Count on this scenario getting nastier before it’s all over.

• Jewish folks in Orange County felt dissed over the scheduling of a special election to replace Rep. Chris Cox. Officials announced the election would happen on December 6, with the special primary taking place on October 4. According to the governor’s office, the dates cannot be changed. However, the primary election will happen during Rosh Hashana — plus, it also coincides with the first day of Ramadan. There are about 100,000 Jewish voters in OC, and many are now PO’d. One reason for deciding to hold the primary on October 4: the next alternative date would have conflicted with Thanksgiving.

• Jewish groups aren’t the only folks unhappy in Orange County. Add parents and players in the local kids’ football programs. The source of irritation in this scenario is none other than Snoop Dogg. Mr. Dogg has formed his own league, recruiting kids from other teams. Of course, the competitors are whining over alleged disrespect for tradition, as football is a serious thang in the region. The Snoop Youth Football League offers plenty of perks, including a tricked-out bus with TVs and stereo systems. Bet the post-game parties are cool too.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Essay 115

Bills, bills, bills. A customer in Illinois complained about her Comcast service to company representatives. She then received a bill addressed to “Bitch Dog” from the provider. After plenty of media attention, Comcast officials are on full-tilt damage control, firing the offending employees and falling over themselves with apologies. Another Illinois resident received bills from Peoples Energy addressed to “Scrotum Bag.” Wonder what services the utility was charging for in this case. Meanwhile, two diners in New Jersey received their restaurant bill and noticed the waitress had written a note at the bottom of the check: Jew Couple. Now that’s not kosher. And better keep a copy of your bill at Chuck E. Cheese’s. A customer in Colorado was accused of stealing a salad for which he had actually paid, and during an ensuing argument, police zapped him with a Taser. It’s where a kid can be a kid — plus watch dad get lit up like a pinball machine.

Essay 114

Delayed reactions with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Georgia law officials decided to pardon Black maid Lena Baker for killing a White guy — 60 years after the state executed Baker in the electric chair for the crime. Justice delayed is justice denied. Or just a death sentence, in this case.

• Louis Farrakhan agreed with Mexico’s President Vicente Fox for saying Mexicans take the jobs “not even Blacks want.” Farrakhan continued that Blacks don’t want to pick fruit because they’ve already “picked enough cotton.” Next, Farrakhan will present a stirring tribute to Memin Pinguin.

• Mexicans also agreed with Farrakhan and Fox, based on surveys conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center. Over 40% of Mexican adults would come to the U.S. if possible — and 20% would willingly take an illegal route. For Mexican college graduates, the numbers are also high. Over 33% want to leave, and one of eight are ready to go illegally. Maybe Farrakhan should organize a Million Mexican Man March.

• Michael Jackson didn’t show up to court wearing pajamas. He just didn’t show up at all. Jackson faces a civil suit from a New Orleans man who claimed the King of Pop sexually assaulted him in 1984. That was the year Jackson’s hair was set on fire during a Pepsi commercial shoot. Given Jackson’s multiple facial transformations since then, it’s unlikely the victim could make a positive ID now.

• A bunch of ecologists want to bring African animals to live in North America. Wonder how PETA would react to this scenario — by comparing the transported critters to slave ships?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Essay 113

Now comes word that Nike is jumping on the Dove bandwagon with a new campaign targeting women. Not sure why folks continue to speak in awe over the Dove work. For a different perspective, view an essay by MultiCultClassics Member (title awarded to all blog visitors) mr. hustleknocker. It appears at Knockthehustlechronicles.blogspot.com — along with a response by MultiCultClassics.

See “Dove, schmove…” dated Saturday, August 06, 2005 at Knockthehustlechronicles.blogspot.com

Monday, August 15, 2005

Essay 112

Don’t mess with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Don’t mess with Texas. A neighbor of President Bush caused a ruckus by shooting his rifle in the air, probably frustrated over the throngs of anti-war protesters at Bush’s ranch. The police and Secret Service declined to arrest the gun-toting moron, who cracked he was merely preparing for dove-hunting season. Can’t help but think authorities would have responded differently if the neighbor had any other skin tone.

• Don’t mess with the chef. The White House finally made an official appointment that has not yet created controversy. First Lady Laura Bush named Cristeta Comerford executive chef. Comerford is the first female and minority (a naturalized U.S. citizen from the Philippines) to hold the post. She is advised to wear a protective vest when preparing dinner for the neighbors.

• Don’t mess with gay pride. Roberto Hernandez cashed in by coming out of the closet. In 2002 a Spanish-language radio show revealed Hernandez was a homosexual during a live broadcast — without his permission. The incident prompted Hernandez to go straight. Straight to a lawyer, that is. After legal negotiations, Hernandez ultimately received nearly $270,000 in total damages from Univision Radio.

• Don’t mess White pride. White supremacists are close to qualifying for ballot access in Nevada elections. If successful, the National Vanguard will be the country’s only party with a racist platform. Not counting certain segments of the Republican Party.

• Don’t mess with the justice system. Or technically, don’t get caught messing with the justice system. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned a murder conviction after discovering attorneys used a how-to manual for keeping minorities from acting as jurors. Jon Sparling, a top assistant to District Attorney Henry Wade, wrote the manual in 1969 — and it was used for over 20 years. Instructions included:

“You are not looking for any member of a minority group which may subject him to oppression — they almost always empathize with the accused.”

“Look for physical afflictions. These people usually sympathize with the accused.”

“Extremely overweight people, especially women and young women, indicate a lack of self-discipline and often times instability. I like the lean and hungry look.”

Sparling is now retired, but when probed about the manual in 2002 by the New York Times, he claimed he had written it “informally and quickly, without being careful of his words.” Funny, it looks like he was extraordinarily careful with his words. Oh, by the way… this entire mess happened in Texas.

Essay 111

Anyone who works at a Black advertising agency will ultimately produce — usually within the first six months of employment — at least one ad featuring the following:

1. A rap music track.
2. A family reunion and/or barbecue.
3. Tom Joyner.

The interview below appeared in USA Today. It almost reads a little too self-promotional, as if Joyner is fishing for more sponsors. Nonetheless, it’s worth checking out.


Marketing to the Masses Tends to Miss Many

Radio Host Has Pointers for Reaching African-American Audience

(Aug. 15) - Those who assume that African Americans who are both middle age and middle class watch pretty much the same movies and TV programs and read the same newspapers and magazines as do their white counterparts do so at their own peril. Try this experiment: Go around the workplace and say the name “Tom Joyner.”
When USA TODAY corporate management reporter Del Jones did that, white colleagues gave him an unknowing stare, while black colleagues lit up in recognition. Joyner reaches 8 million nationwide on 115 radio stations. His listeners average 40 years in age and have an average household income of $48,500. As the African-American market closes in on $1 trillion a year in spending power, Joyner warns that many companies have yet to figure out how to capture it.

Q: What is the biggest single mistake companies make with African-American consumers?

A: They think they can reach them through mainstream advertising. That’s a huge mistake.

Q: I’m white. Am I really so different than my African-American colleagues that advertisers can’t reach us both with the same commercials on the same programs?

A: They can, and it works up to a point. But they could have so much more if they specifically and unashamedly direct their efforts to an African-American audience. This strategy goes back 50 years when Ebony magazine convinced advertisers to use black models in their print ads. To this day there are generations of black people who are loyal to some of those brands. As a people, that’s the way we are, and we’ve got a whole lot of money. Black people fly and love to fly cheap. Southwest Airlines advertised unashamedly on my show and with my endorsement and did things like recognize Black History Month at their gates. They went right after us.

Q: Are advertisers that have in the past targeted only upscale white consumers starting to target the upscale African-American market?

A: Yeah, we’ve done a cruise for six years. The average price is like $3,500 a person not including airfare, and we sell out. Seventy-five percent of the people on the ship haven’t cruised before. Why not? Are they afraid of water? No. No one’s asked. Royal Caribbean understands that now. They use a black agency to advertise to the African-American consumer, and they get a lot of black people on their ships.

Q: Do companies have a right to target only white consumers, or should you expose them on your program?

A: Expose them as stupid? We can’t do that, we can’t really go after and expose companies, not and remain a media company.

Q: I was listening to your show on the Washington, D.C., affiliate and a local car dealership commercial promised to waive credit checks for car buyers. That’s a pitch that I have not heard on the stations I listen to, and it seemed to make the assumption that African Americans have lousy credit. Aren’t they offended?

A: No. We do have bad credit. That ad is good business. They’re inviting the African-American audience to do business with them.

Q: I’m not understanding this. The car dealership is assuming your listeners do not pay their bills, and that’s OK?

A: You can have bad credit by having a certain ZIP code. We need some credit.

Q: I’m starting to see. Your listeners take no offense because African Americans see bad credit to be discrimination. The dealership is not being offensive, but rather positioning itself as fixing the inequity?

A: We face redlining and profiling. You need a car and you ain’t got no credit. What’s wrong with a guy inviting someone to buy a car and he’s going to waive the credit check? No one else will.

Q: It seems that African-American women are portrayed in advertising as sassy. In a Budweiser campaign African-American men greeted each other with “Whassup?” Aren’t these stereotypical portrayals the modern-day equivalent of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben?

A: No. Not in an ad. The Whassup ad was not directed at the African-American, but at the mainstream audience. What you call sassy is nothing more than going after that hip-hop generation, an attitude which crosses all ethnic lines. It’s not black people who are keeping hip-hop alive. It’s not the same as Aunt Jemima ads when you had Hambone and “Yessir, boss, try my biscuits.” It’s not the same. This is just pop culture.

Q: You don’t seem to find any advertising directed at the African-American market offensive.

A: Hmmmm. The Psychic Friends Network went after broke people who have problems.

Q: What about McDonald’s? They made news when young African-American actors said, “I’d hit it,” which suggested in hip-hop slang that they’d like to make love to a double cheeseburger.

A: Again, that’s not directed at an African-American market. It’s pop culture. Hip-hop is worldwide. There were probably a lot of sensible black people who thought it was offensive, but it wasn’t as bad as the president of Mexico saying that Mexican people take the jobs that black people don’t want.

Q: African-American ad agencies are complaining that too much of the diversity dollar is redirected to the Hispanic market. Are companies making a mistake?

A: No. That’s very smart, and I understand. They have to specifically reach out to the Hispanic market. They don’t always understand the same is true for us. Look at all the black advertising agencies that have folded in the last couple of years because they are targeting us through mainstream agencies. I don’t see anything racial in it. They are just being stupid and making a huge mistake.

Q: Other than Southwest Airlines, what companies have figured out how to advertise to the African-American market, and what do they do right?

A: Did you get a list of our advertisers? McDonald’s is one. They know how to do it. They sponsor things on my show like our black history fact. They show an interest in our culture and our community. It’s not enough to light up the arches and open up the door.

Q: Some magazines publish lists like The Best Companies for African Americans. Those magazines are fat with advertising from the companies on the list. The perception is that companies that advertise make the list. Corporate diversity officers call this “pay to play.” Shouldn’t such lists be for those who hire and promote African Americans?

A: It’s not a shakedown. If you are going to be one of the best companies for African Americans, you should advertise to African Americans.

Q: Momentum in advertising is shifting toward the Internet. Are companies making any big mistakes in how they market to African Americans online?

A: We're making money on BlackAmericaWeb. Yeah. I think that everyone who comes to BlackAmericaWeb, or our competition BlackVoices and BlackPlanet, are very smart. We are on the Internet. We’re making money. Don’t let anyone fool you that black folks aren’t on the Internet. Oh, yes we are. ... And it’s paying off.

08/15/2005 07:02
© Copyright 2005 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Presenting The MultiCultClassics Membership Drive!

Here’s your opportunity to actively join the revolution — and generate buzz for MultiCultClassics. And you can do it all from the comfort of your own keyboard.

In March 2005 MultiCultClassics.blogspot.com was launched. The original goal was to create a forum to discuss the issues of multiculturalism in the advertising industry.

The experiment continues, with two primary initiatives:

1. Bring attention to the racism, discrimination and related issues that continue to taint the business. The essays on the blog present observations and viewpoints designed to encourage consideration and debate — and hopefully, to inspire change.

2. Bring culture to the masses. While there are many instances of deliberately biased behavior, let’s presume most of the problems are rooted in basic ignorance. People simply are too segregated and unaware of cultures beside their own. The essays on the blog also deliver news and events in a digest format to help everyone expand their experiences and attitudes.

Your assistance is requested in spreading the word about MultiCultClassics.blogspot.com. Just publish announcements or simply forward the address to friends, family, associates, strangers or even enemies.

The issues facing the ad industry are real and significant; nonetheless, progress is both possible and necessary.

Please visit MultiCultClassics.blogspot.com regularly. And encourage others to visit too. Admission is free. Open to the public 24 hours a day.

Thanks for your support.

Essay 110

The weekend in review with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges! Unless you’re a Puerto Rican family chilling out on the beach in Belmar, New Jersey. The Morales family is leading a lawsuit against the town after an ugly incident that occurred July 24. Family members and friends were enjoying a day at the beach — until a nasty policewoman allegedly harassed them. The cop demanded the Morales family present badges, which visitors must purchase to enter the beach. The Morales were unaware of the rule, but the cop prohibited them from even making amends. Instead, the family was fined $80 per person and ejected from the beach, with the cop proclaiming, “We don’t want your kind of people here.” So now the family is filing a $32 million discrimination lawsuit. Which should buy them plenty of new bathing suits — if not their very own beach.

• The recent Census tracking that revealed moving trends for Blacks and Hispanics probably didn’t include this tidbit: members of the notoriously violent MS-13 have migrated to West Virginia. The Latin American gang originally started in Los Angeles with El Salvadoran refugees, but they reportedly now boast over 10,000 members in 30 states. Following a string of murders in Washington, DC, authorities proceeded to crack down on MS-13 in that area, which probably inspired the move to West Virginia. Or perhaps it was the fresh mountain air.

• Rapper Common hawked Coca-Cola. Now he’s signed up to sell Hennessy cognac. Malt liquor can’t be far behind.

• A recent newspaper report showed tobacco giant Philip Morris is a defendant in 454 pending court cases. Plus, the corporation spent $933 million in legal fees from 2002 through 2004. Maybe cigarette packages shouldn’t simply carry a warning from the Surgeon General — there should also be a warning from the Attorney General.

• Rush Limbaugh now believes he can mediate the conflict between Philadelphia Eagles players Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens. The egotistical moron made the generous offer on his Web site. It should be noted that Limbaugh “resigned” from his ESPN gig two years ago after making politically-incorrect remarks about McNabb. Not sure how a racist drug addict like Limbaugh could help two professional athletes.

• PETA is in the doghouse for its campaign comparing animal abuse to slavery. The NAACP and others are definitely unhappy with the animal rights group’s latest messages. “We’re not continuing right now while we evaluate,” said PETA spokesperson Dawn Carr in response to the controversy. “We’re reviewing feedback we’ve received — most of it overwhelmingly positive and some of it quite negative.” Overwhelmingly positive? The group must be overwhelmingly hearing from Rush Limbaugh and the police force in Belmar, New Jersey.

Essay 109

Beep. “Wanna get with the sluttiest girls your imagination can dream up? We can be whatever you want us to be, baby. After all, it’s your imagination.”

>> That’s the message heard by low-income customers seeking financial help from We Energies in Milwaukee. A mailer sent to 4,000 customers had a typo in the phone number, leading folks to a sex line. On the positive side, the mailer probably received the highest response rate in We Energies’ history.

Beep. “The criminal charges against the defendants are unconstitutional attempts to regulate in the area of enforcement of immigration violations, an area where Congress must be deemed to have regulated with such civil sanctions and criminal penalties as it feels are sufficient.”

>> That’s the message from New Hampshire Judge L. Phillips Runyon, who declared a tactic to combat illegal immigration was illegal. Clever police in the towns of New Ipswich and Hudson sought to charge immigrants with criminal trespassing. But the judge ruled the actions couldn’t be upheld, stating federal authorities must deal with immigration matters. In response, the cops have started brainstorming with MacGyver.

Beep. “Help them find their strength.”

>> That’s the message in a new campaign for the U.S. Army designed to persuade parents to not stop their kids from enlisting. The Leo Burnett-created commercials feature kids and their parents discussing the decision to sign up and serve. Wonder how many Leo Burnett employees have children in the Army. If the spots fail to increase recruiting, maybe the cops in New Hampshire could convince illegal immigrants to join.

Beep. “Ethnic cleansing.”

>> That’s the message Rev. Allan Ramirez used to describe the methods employed by officials in Farmingville, New York to deal with illegal immigrants. Ramirez also incorporated “Gestapo tactics” into his protests against County Executive Steve Levy, who has led the crackdown. Recent actions included the police evicting hundreds of illegally packed homes. Advocates responded by erecting tents for the evicted day laborers.

Beep. “The lunatic fringe.”

>> That’s the message County Executive Steve Levy used to describe his critics.

Beep. “We think these sandwiches are so fancy you can take it home and serve it on a date with a candlestick.”

>> That’s the message from Ronald McDonald as he presented Mickey D’s new Premium Chicken Sandwiches. Consumers can actually enjoy more nutritional value and hearty flavor by eating a candlestick.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Essay 108

MultiCultClassics Minutes presents the latest Hollywood scandal — plus scandals in Chicago, Raleigh, New York and more…

• An investigation failed to uncover any scandal involving American Idol judge Paula Abdul. Abdul had been accused of having sexual relations with Corey Clark, a former contestant. But lawyers could not substantiate the allegations. However, everyone is pretty convinced Clark had sex with Ryan Seacrest.

• Supercuts in Chicago, Illinois are super discriminatory, allegedly prohibiting employees from conversing in any language other than English. The hair salon chain is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is representing Hispanic stylists who were repeatedly reprimanded for speaking Spanish. Supercuts management probably feared customers might think the stylists were snickering at their cheap haircuts.

• Merab Morgan mimicked Morgan Spurlock, eating exclusively at Mickey D’s for 90 days. But the Raleigh, North Carolina mother of two wound up losing 37 pounds, dropping from 227 to 190. Wow, over 99 billion served with just one success story to hype. Ronald is probably bragging, “Eat your artery-clogged heart out, Subway’s Jared!”

• A California anti-illegal immigration group called Save Our State thought it had succeeded in connecting with Blacks when founder Joseph Turner was invited to speak at a Black community forum. But the invitation was rescinded when event officials visited the organization’s Website. The site features rants against Mexicans and headlines like, “Mexifornia — California is turning into a THIRD WORLD cesspool!” Turner expressed disappointment in being dissed, as he had hoped to gain Black support. “Sometimes I think I have a better pulse on what’s going on in the Black community than the Al Sharptons of the world,” he said. Fortunately, Sharpton could not be reached for comment.

• Do New York school kids learn enough about the “physical and psychological terrorism” against Africans in the slave trade? The Amistad Commission, a new panel created to determine the answers and even recommend revised books and studies, has been launched and signed into law by Governor George Pataki. The objectives include providing students with a greater understanding of slavery and highlighting the contributions slaves made to create America. Of course, the Amistad Commission has already inspired controversy and a boatload of detractors.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Essay 107

Beauty giant L’Oreal was busted for acting ugly. The California Supreme Court ruled the company could be held liable for telling a supervisor to fire a dark-skinned female employee because she wasn’t “good looking enough.” The company had also instructed the supervisor to replace the worker with someone “hot.” Wonder if Dove will proceed to terminate employees for not being fat and real enough. In unrelated employment news, Whirlpool broke down and agreed to pay $850,000 to clean up dirty hiring charges. The discrimination claims involved 800 Black job applicants in Tulsa. Come to think of it, were minority candidates interviewed to replace the retiring Maytag repairman? Another court battle saw Lil’ Kim successfully stop Lil’ Cease from releasing a DVD featuring her name and image. However, she’s still scheduled to bust a move to the big house for lying to a federal grand jury. And there’s nothing lil’ about the newest addition to the Miami Beach police force. Shaquille O’Neal wants to bust sex offenders now that he’s a bona fide U.S. deputy marshal. The all-star NBA center is almost officially approved to make arrests, conduct search warrants and pack a firearm. Meanwhile, G-Unit rappers Lloyd Banks and Young Buck aren’t allowed to pack heat — they were busted on gun charges in New York City.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Essay 106

Thank God it’s almost Friday with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Talk-show host Larry Krueger, formerly of the San Francisco Giants’ flagship radio station, took color commentary to another level. Krueger’s racially-charged rants included arguing the team has too many “brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly.” The remarks led the station to extend apologies to Giants manager Felipe Alou, the players and the Caribbean community — after firing Krueger. So San Francisco listeners will no longer hear Krueger the hack slopping it up nightly.

• Florida Governor Jeb Bush took offense to the NCAA decision to ban American Indian nicknames and symbols during postseason events. The Seminole Tribe of Florida allegedly supports the use of its name by Florida State University. Bush declared, “I think they [NCAA executive committee] insult those people by telling them, ‘No, no, you’re not smart enough to understand this. You should be feeling really horrible about this.’” Not convinced a Bush should be commenting on people not being smart enough.

• Census tracking shows Hispanics and Blacks are moving in different directions. Hispanics are heading for areas where there are fewer Hispanics — partly based on going where jobs are most plentiful. Blacks are flocking to suburbs in the South where there are large numbers of other Blacks. Whites are currently plotting where they should now move.

• Detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been reading Harry Potter books. Clearly, the torture and abuse is out of control. Forget desecrating the Quran. Look for instances of flushing copies of The Prisoner of Azkaban.

• Nazi Update: An Internet video is sparking outrage by showing Nazi death camp images as a rave party. “Housewitz” — a combination of house music and Auschwitz — integrates scenes from the actual death camp with party footage. Expect a “Girls Gone Buchenwald” soon.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Essay 105

Nothing says racist hate quite like Adolf Hitler references. Yet Hitler and Nazism continue to resurface with more regularity than Elvis — and this observation will probably draw the ire of Graceland fanatics. Given the outrage that typically follows any mention of Adolf and his Swastika Crew, it’s a wonder shows like The Producers and Hogan’s Heroes ever gained popularity. In recent times, Hitler has received unexpected praise. Canadian Indian senator David Ahenakew publicly approved of Hitler’s extermination of Jews. Glenview State Bank in suburban Illinois commented favorably on the dictator’s economic savvy. Arnold Schwarzenegger denied he once gushed over the madman’s oratory skills. The past year offered additional bloopers. Britain’s Prince Harry dressed as a Nazi for a costume party. Republican senator Rick Santorum compared Hitler with members of the Democratic Party. Democratic senator Richard Durbin caught serious heat for equating the torture at Guantanamo Bay to the crimes of Nazis. Graham Dudman, editor of Britain’s tabloid The Sun, defended his paper’s decision to run unflattering photos of an imprisoned Saddam Hussein by saying, “[Hussein] is the modern-day Adolf Hitler. Please don’t ask us to feel sorry for him.” Hey, that’s modern-day hatred. And now Harry Belafonte related Hitler with President George W. Bush. Belafonte responded to questions about Bush’s appointments of minorities by remarking, “Hitler had a lot of Jews high up in the hierarchy of the Third Reich. Color does not necessarily denote quality, content or value.” Experts immediately protested Belafonte’s statement, arguing no Jews served with Hitler. The louder reactions will undoubtedly appear shortly.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Essay 104

Our cup runneth over with ruckus reports. San Quentin was locked down following a melee between White and Hispanic inmates. Up to 80 prisoners were involved, which authorities claimed was the biggest riot at the penitentiary in 23 years. The rioting continues in Farmingville, New York, where Hispanics are being beaten and harassed by the locals. The Long Island area has been a popular destination for immigrants. But the regular residents are unhappy with the growing minority community, which includes many illegal aliens who ran North for job opportunities. Runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks — who originally claimed to be kidnapped by a Hispanic man — served part of her sentence by running a lawnmower at a government building. Seems like a pretty lame punishment. High school kids who break curfew are ordered to mow the lawn. Wilbanks should be forced to do landscaping work with illegal immigrants in Farmingville. Or prison time in San Quentin. Gotta run.

Essay 103

Random quotes that have deep meaning even out of context…

“…The signs of mobility and assimilation are everywhere — not assimilation as in becoming the same as everyone else, but assimilation as in becoming citizens, taking part in politics, enlisting in the army, paying taxes and speaking English.”
> The Economist, Degrees of Separation: A Survey of America, July 16, 2005, economist.com

“Multiculturalism resists the notion that people of color must assimilate in order to become accepted in society. Cultural difference is ‘recognized, acknowledged, and respected, without its individual members being coerced into a single homogenized amalgamation.’”
> KaaVonia Hinton-Johnson, Multicultural Review, Subverting Beauty Aesthetics in African-American Young Adult Literature, Summer 2005, mcreview.com

“The Blacks fought for their civil rights. These illegal immigrants are coming in here and having everything just handed to them.”
> Imperial Wizard Billy Jeffrey of the North Georgia White Knights, expressing displeasure over Hispanic immigrants

“It is just a fact that, by and large, the media types who pontificate about sports — in newspaper columns, on television — are so much older and whiter than the athletes who are their subjects that they might as well be wearing powdered wigs and wooden teeth. Most of the noise that surrounds our games isn’t controlled by the voices of those who actually play them.”
> Dan Le Batard, ESPN The Magazine, August 15, 2005, espn.com

“If you want your smart people to be as smart as possible, seek a diversity of ideas. Find people with different experiences, opinions, backgrounds, weights, heights, races, facial hair styles, colors, past-times, favorite items of clothing, philosophies and beliefs. Unify them around the results you want, not the means or approaches they are expected to use. It’s the only way to guarantee that the best ideas from your smartest people will be received openly by the people around them. On your own, avoid homogenous books, films, music, food, sex, media and people. Actually experience life by going to places you don’t usually go, spending time with people you don’t usually spend time with. Be in the moment and be open to it. Until recently in history, life was much less predictable and we were forced to encounter things not always of our own choosing. We are capable of more interesting and creative lives than our modern cultures often provide for us. If you go out of your way to find diverse experiences it will become impossible for you to miss ideas simply because your homogenous outlook filtered them out.”
> Scott Berkun, Why Smart People Defend Bad Ideas, August 2005, changethis.com

“Proversity™ \ noun 1. progressive diversity: the product of bringing together individuals who appear different, but who have many common characteristics. 2. a more advanced and progressive form of diversity planning. 3. a description of individuals who look different on the exterior, but are actually quite similar. 4. the condition of having similar characteristics on a deep level in spite of existing surface characteristics that look different.”
> Lawrence Otis Graham, Proversity, 1998, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

MultiCultClassics Members are cordially invited to further study any of the quotes listed above.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Essay 102

More Monday MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• More signs of progress in the industry: Anheuser-Busch created two ethnic marketing positions, electing Henry Dominguez and Johnny Furr Jr. as vice presidents overseeing Hispanic and African American efforts, respectively. There’s new diversity in the castle of the King of Beers.

• More proof the proverbial 15 minutes of fame can be significantly extended via a reality TV series: The Bravo network is adding two more episodes of Being Bobby Brown.

• More evidence that reality is more bizarre than reality TV: A teen featured in the reality TV Brat Camp series was charged with spray-painting racial slurs on the home of a Black teacher. The ABC program shows troubled kids attending a special school allegedly successful at improving bad behavior. Don’t count on an Emmy nomination for this performance.

• More drama for Michael Jackson: Two jurors from Jacko’s trial now regret their decision to set the King of Pop free. Of course, all the details will be available for public consumption in their upcoming books. In this case, the sequined glove did fit — but they opted to acquit.

• More news from the Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu (see Essay Ninety-Seven and the accompanying comments for more details): About 15,000 folks marched to protest the recent federal court ruling that deemed the schools’ Hawaiians-only admissions policy illegal. It appears the Hawaiian people may actually be the true victims in this scenario — especially considering the schools aren’t even federally funded. Do a Google Search for more details. Where’s Jack Lord when you need him? Oops. According to a Google Search, he died in 1998.

• More serious news of a passing legend: Media tycoon John Johnson died Monday at the age of 87. Johnson launched Ebony and Jet, setting the standard for publishing — as well as debunking stereotypes, fighting for civil rights and pioneering in every way imaginable.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Essay 101

MultiCultClassics Minutes wings it with chicken, playing chicken, chicken-heads and more.

• PETA continues its campaign against KFC — dubbed Kentucky Fried Cruelty. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have been harassing the fast food joint for its allegedly inhumane treatment of chickens. Protesters’ routines include showing up at restaurants in bloody chicken costumes and presenting videos of mutilated chickens to dining customers. Unlike other restaurants that ultimately revised procedures involving the animals used to create products, KFC refuses to change or even acknowledge any wrongdoing. Given the unclean conditions at most KFC outlets, someone needs to protest the inhumane treatment of patrons.

• On a semi-related chicken front, Mickey D’s is running ads with a new trademarked line to accompany “i’m lovin’ it” — “it’s what i eat and what i do.” The word “and” is highlighted in a different color. The new tag appears to be an attempt to create a healthier split personality for the fast food giant. Print ads tout things like “high quality chicken” and depict people with active, multi-tasking lifestyles. Mickey D’s is becoming quite the multi-tasking communicator, hyping every grade of poultry from high quality chicken to chicken salads to the deep-fried gizzards called McNuggets. Won’t be long before they introduce the Chicken & Waffles McGriddles® or Chicken McFlurry.

• Chrysler hooked up with Snoop Dogg. GMC rhymed with Mos Def. So Ford probably thought it hit the hip hop jackpot when partnering with Eminem. The automaker agreed to provide Slim Shady with a hot ride for a music video. But now the relationship is dead, as Ford chickened out after hearing vulgar lyrics from the popular artist. “It was just that the song was over the top. It just wasn’t Ford,” a company spokesman explained. Not sure why Ford would be surprised over Eminem’s work. Guess they’ve never tuned their car radios to any station playing rap music.

• Foxy Brown just flipped off a plea bargain that would have kept her out of prison for allegedly attacking salon workers over a manicure gone wrong. It sure would be hot if Foxy Brown and Lil’ Kim wound up being cellmates. Talk about the ultimate reality TV series. And if OJ Simpson confessed, it could turn into a cross between Oz, The Simple Life and Three’s Company. Damn!

• A lesser known hip hop figure is in a legal jam. Gabriele T. Smith, money manager for Fabolous, DJ Clue and numerous wealthy music executives, is accused of stealing over $3 million from her clients. There are speculations Smith may cut a deal with authorities by providing information on other hip hop financial crimes — specifically, money laundering involving rap music label Murder Inc. Not sure it’s a good idea to cross an organization with that name.

• Wal-Mart is facing legal problems with angry women — 1.6 million of them, to be exact. Female employees are accusing the retailer of discriminating against them with unequal pay and promotions. The mega-lawsuit may prove too large for the U.S. justice system to handle. Wal-Mart. Always low wages for women. Always.

Essay 100

A MultiCultClassics Member (the new title awarded to all blog visitors) forwarded this link:


For your convenience, the article appears below, followed by the standard MultiCultClassics reaction.


Multicultural Ad Pros Are In Demand, Presenting Unique Recruiting Challenges


by Dan Goldgeier

With multicultural marketing becoming ever more prevalent, agencies are on the prowl for the best talent around. But agencies are also insistent on a level of authenticity, which can bring up delicate issues.

“In a consumer-focused business like advertising, diversity and demographic expertise matter,” said Raquel Sanabia, Multicultural Recruiter at Talent Zoo, an Atlanta-based advertising and marketing recruitment firm.

“Agencies sometimes ask me if a candidate fits the demographic of the client’s target audience when they’re looking to fill a position that involves face-to-face meetings with their clients,” Sanabia said. “Many of these requests are coming from the marketers themselves. They want the people who work on their ad account to be the consumers they’re trying to reach.”

According to Marcy Wellings, an Atlanta-based employment attorney, “Legally, an employer or staffing agency is not allowed to inquire into, or base any employment decision, on race or gender. An employer must be very careful in scheduling interviews. If a candidate thinks they were not selected because of race or gender, no matter the reason, that employer can face discrimination charges. In a society that is highly sensitive to discrimination based on race and gender, it is extremely difficult for personnel agencies to tailor searches to the requests of their employer clients.”

“Because we can not legally ask questions with regard to ethnicity, age, or gender, we often have to determine a candidate’s viability for a specific position by what they offer up on their resume,” Sanabia said.

Resumes, however, do not always give an indication of whether a candidate fits the needs of the position. For job seekers who want to emphasize their bilingual skills, their heritage, or unique understanding of an ethnic market, Sanabia said that candidates should “tip their hand” by specifying those qualities in a resume. This could involve listing certain affiliations or previous client experience. Additionally, jobseekers can use words like “urban,” which can also suggest experience with younger consumers, another in-demand niche market.

More than ever, marketers are looking for a certain level of genuine credibility. Would a roomful of clients be more attentive to an agency’s recommendations if given by someone with a similar background? In today’s fierce business climate, ad agencies and firms like Talent Zoo have to ask themselves those tough questions when recruiting ad talent.

“The clients are expecting the agencies to fully understand the nuances of the marketplace, so in turn agencies ask us to present them with those candidates,” Sanabia said. “Agencies are sometimes very specific about what they want. The bottom line is that no matter how good an agency’s research, insight or creative is, perception is everything.”

©2005 Talent Zoo Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Damn. How does one respond to this article? Well, let’s start at the top and spiral downward.

“Multicultural Ad Pros” is a disturbing term. Primarily because in this context it probably means “Minority Ad Pros.” And in the majority of cases, the emphasis is on “Minority” versus “Ad Pros.”

Agencies that are “insistent on a level of authenticity” pose huge dilemmas. Not sure which agencies are being referenced here — general market or multicultural. But when applied to general market agencies, the statement is downright scary. After all, how could thoroughly segregated, culturally clueless companies possibly recognize authenticity? More importantly, who the hell would even define authenticity in these shops? Come to think of it, when applied to multicultural agencies, the statement is downright scary too. Guess this indicates interviewers will soon be saying things like, “Señor Candidate, your resume is impeccable, but I’m afraid you just aren’t Hispanic enough for our goals. We were hoping for someone with an accent — or at very least, a basic knowledge of Spanglish.”

One recruiter said, “In a consumer-focused business like advertising, diversity and demographic expertise matter.” Nice sentiment. However, the business doesn’t appear to agree, given the chronic exclusivity and aversion to diversity.

If seeking employees based on race and/or gender is against the law, then it seems really odd for Raquel Sanabia to have the title of Multicultural Recruiter — unless multicultural refers to Sanabia’s personal status. And according to Sanabia’s remarks, agencies and marketers are routinely making illegal requests. Imagine that.

More outrageous are the agencies hoping “a candidate fits the demographic of the client’s target audience.” Heaven forbid these shops have similar mandates on accounts for, say, incontinence briefs. Most multicultural shops understand being the target does not automatically equate to mastery in communicating to the target. Plus, the entire notion denigrates the professionalism of multicultural endeavors, implying research and account planning are unnecessary if agency employees are minorities.

Agencies selecting a minority for face-to-face meetings with multicultural clients are pathetic. Sadly, multicultural agencies are equally guilty in this area. Good luck identifying folks whose career objective is playing a token. Shame on the clients who prefer face-to-colored face conferences too.

Marketers that want their multicultural accounts serviced by people who are also their consumers should try applying the rules to all accounts. How many general market agency staffers could meet such criteria? It’s simply a bad idea that fosters discrimination and biased behavior. What’s more, the dictate is illegal.

The resume suggestions suck. Please conduct a survey of advertising managers with hiring responsibilities at general market and multicultural shops. Bet you a month’s salary no one would recall seeing “urban” in a candidate’s resume — and no self-respecting manager would ever recommend integrating the word.

Sanabia concludes by stating, “The bottom line is that no matter how good an agency’s research, insight or creative is, perception is everything.” Wow, talk about cynical. Can’t top that zinger.

Once again, there are contradictions, complexities and deep problems inherent with multiculturalism in the advertising industry. The attitudes and actions of clients and agencies revealed above — from illogical to illegal — demonstrate the immediate need for progress.

As always, one question remains — who will lead the change?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Essay Ninety-Nine

Knocking the hustle with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Director John Singleton is making like Shaft, cracking down on criminals selling pirate copies of Hustle & Flow. “The cool thing about this is I got the studio to go into the places that the FBI doesn't usually infiltrate. We’re checking strip clubs and barber shops besides just street sales. If you’re selling ‘Hustle & Flow,’ we will find you. We will hunt you down,” said Singleton. Strip clubs? Get a free Finding Nemo DVD with every lap dance.

• In unrelated tough law enforcement news, the Florida cops who handcuffed a 5-year-old girl in March will not be punished for their use of excessive force. But they were asked to refrain from using their nightsticks in nursery school situations. Tasers are more effective on toddlers.

• Five New Yorkers have sued the Big Apple over random searches in the subways. Well, if airports and even office buildings conduct searches, why not subways too? Unless, of course, the commuter friskings are being done by homeless people and/or deviants just seeking to cop a feel.

• The NCAA executive committee held a powwow and decided to ban American Indian mascots from postseason tournaments. However, they had reservations about totally banning such mascots, opting to let individual schools make their own decisions. Additionally, the NCAA encouraged people to bet on college sports at any American Indian-owned casino.

• Snoop Dogg and Lee Iacocca have teamed up in the latest commercial from Chrysler. It’s bad enough that Mr. Iacocca has been raised from the dead. But having Mr. Dogg continue to spew “Fo’ shizzle” is doubly tired. Might have been funnier to flip the script and have Iacocca talking accounting and engineering jargon to a befuddled Dogg. If you can find a better concept, try it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Essay Ninety-Eight

Now available in convenient MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Now Rafael Palmiero may be facing perjury charges for telling Congress he never used steroids. It’s ironic that the baseball star is also an official spokesman for Viagra — because it looks like he really fucked himself.

• What’s wrong with P. Diddy’s lifestyle? Besides everything J. Lo might tell you, a Chicago man is accusing Mr. Diddy of trademark violation. Chicagoan Gregory Hildebrand sells clothing with the slogan, “It’s a Lifestyle” — while Combs started hawking his gear with the line, “It’s not just a label. It’s a lifestyle.” Now it’s a lawsuit.

• Now reports indicate gang membership in the U.S. is probably higher than estimated. Apparently, thousands of police agencies refuse to provide details about their areas. Motives for non-participation include concerns of frightening the general public with the real numbers. Additionally, there is difficulty in determining exact figures for Our Gang, as the whereabouts of Spanky and Froggy remain unknown.

• Former Our Gang member Robert Blake is now being accused of plotting to kill his first wife too. At this point, the only character witness willing to speak for Blake is Fred the cockatoo.

• Now DNA tests have freed Cuban-American Luis Diaz, who had wrongly served 24 years in prison. Note to convicted criminal Martha Stewart: Quit bitching about a few extra weeks of luxury home confinement.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Essay Ninety-Seven

The Art of War with SunMultiCultClassics TzuMinutes…

• adidas is executing the tactic, “If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em.” The athletic shoe company announced plans to purchase Reebok, a move designed to make them a formidable foe against world leader Nike. Or maybe they’ll just stage battles between Reebok’s 50 Cent and adidas’ Missy Elliott.

• Anheuser-Busch is executing the tactic, “If you can’t beat ‘em, bash ‘em.” The company behind the King of Beers is accused of plotting to destroy a competitor by lying about the rival’s operation. The Maris Distributing Company, owned by the family of baseball icon Roger Maris, charged in a lawsuit that A-B deliberately defamed their business to inevitably acquire them for cheap. Calls to Anheuser-Busch were answered with, “Whassuuuuuuuup!”

• The war on terror inspired a dramatic rise in religious hate crimes in the U.K. Since the July 7th bombings in London, crimes fueled by religious hatred climbed nearly 600 percent — making Charles and Camilla the second and third ugliest things in the country.

• Racial discrimination surfaced in a peculiar U.S. location — Honolulu, Hawaii. A federal court ruled against Kamehameha Schools for only admitting native Hawaiian students. The schools were established by a Hawaiian princess in 1883. Aloha, segregation.

• Fritz Pollard, the NFL’s first Black coach, will be posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame. Pollard was also the first Black player in the Rose Bowl. Plus, the Fritz Pollard Alliance grew when the late Johnnie Cochran proceeded to pressure NFL teams to hire more minorities three years ago. Recognizing the man’s accomplishments and victories is long overdue.

New Welcome for New and Old Readers

Presenting a new introduction to MultiCultClassics.blogspot.com

The blog began in March 2005. The initial goal was to initiate discussions and debates about multiculturalism in the advertising industry — including all the good, bad and ugly complexities and contradictions.

Admittedly, there wasn’t a master plan or long-term strategy. Just decided to begin typing and see where it might go.

Five months and nearly 100 essays later, the plan is no clearer. The strategy is still in the early draft stage too.

Nonetheless, the conversation continues — despite the fact that it’s more of a monologue versus dialogue.

Here’s what MultiCultClassics.blogspot.com offers you:

If you’re deep into the multicultural advertising scene, this is the place for relatable, relevant insights and more. It’s all the stuff you’d toss around the virtual water cooler.

If you’re semi-clueless to the world outside of your personal universe, this is the place for you as well. One deliberate tactic here is to expose the masses to progressive, 21st century diversity. It’s not something exclusive to the human resources department. Think of the blog as delivering a recommended daily allowance of culture.

Please read the blog starting at Essay One. You’re encouraged to agree or disagree with anything posted.

Please visit often. Admission is free. Open to the public 24 hours a day.

Finally, please share the blog with everyone you know. It works best with an inclusive spirit.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Essay Ninety-Six

Check out what’s showing during Showtime At The Apollo and beyond…

> There’s a forgettable Pampers commercial pumping lyrics from Snap’s “The Power” tune. Note to the creative team responsible: Diapers advertising should never use the line, “You go, girl.”

> Okay, so it’s a standard Black advertising tactic to feature a stand-up comic. But Bruce Bruce for Popeye’s is just wrong wrong. Damn, the dude’s one spicy wing away from a massive stroke.

> It’s easy for Daddy’s baby girl to become the next Venus Williams. Just start swinging a racket and swigging Sunny D. This commercial’s more sickly sweet than the sugary swill it’s selling.

> Wonder how long before the McDonald’s spot with everyone flashing hand signals gets pulled over concerns it depicts gang behavior.

> The Nissan Altima SE-R is the official car of Funkytown. There goes the neighborhood. From a conceptual standpoint, this idea’s in serious need of some urban renewal.

> The strategic brief showed Bounty paper towels are strong enough to handle glue spills. Therefore, present a family assembling a dinosaur with popsicle sticks for a science project. The final result? Prehistoric, of course.

> Mickey D’s new Premium Chicken Sandwiches make a brotha babble about paradigm shifts and brainless blah, blah, blah. Yeah, fried chicken does that to Black folks.

> The karaoke couple for Crest Whitening plus Scope inspires wailing and gnashing of teeth. This commercial has an unintended retro feel — that is, it looks like it was shot in the early 70s.

> Somebody please, please, please explain the BK Chicken Fries Rebel Unit. No, wait. Don’t bother.

Sandman Sims, hit the remote.

Essay Ninety-Five

Doing double takes with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Five months ago at a Congressional hearing, Baltimore Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmiero insisted, “I have never used steroids. Period.” After failing a recent drug test, Palmiero insisted, “I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period.” Who coached this guy — Bill Clinton?

• Homeland Security arrested nearly 600 alleged gang members, most of whom were in the country illegally. Officials called the punks “a threat to our homeland security and ... a very urgent law enforcement priority.” Whatever. Maybe the organization should change its name to Homieland Security.

• The pharmaceutical industry is adopting new advertising guidelines, including efforts to more clearly communicate drug side effects to consumers. Given the dense disclaimer copy already present in most of these ads, the only enhancement would have to involve photos and actual demonstrations.

• Not sure which is crazier: Jimi Hendrix allegedly pretending to be gay to avoid serving in Vietnam, or someone actually believing his ruse.

• Rumors indicate OJ Simpson may be creating his own reality TV show. Potential titles and themes:
> Desperate Ex-Wives
> Stalking Bobby Brown
> The Best Damn Sports Murderer On TV
> When Animals Attack — oops, that one’s already taken
> America’s Funniest Homicide Videos

Monday, August 01, 2005

Essay Ninety-Four

Monday morning breakfast specials served with MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Guess who’s making visible and measurable progress creating diversity in their efforts? Hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. Statistics show increased hate crimes targeting Hispanic immigrants. Apparently, some folks aren’t satisfied simply terrorizing Jews and Blacks.

• The media is attempting to make progress in its coverage of missing females. After criticism that missing White women receive national news coverage while minority women get next to nothing, the disappearance of a Black and Hispanic pregnant woman in Philadelphia is being reported by major sources. Then again, it’s disturbing that the bigger story seems to be the enhanced media attention versus the missing woman.

• Hardee’s is offering “The Girls of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Cups” with the purchase of any large drink or combo meal. Somebody tell Hardee’s they’re not Hooters.

• Rap-Up is hyped as the first hip-hop magazine for teens (although there are plenty of titles that might dispute the claim — the late YSB, Word Up! etc.). The creators are brothers Devin and Cameron Lazerine, 20-something suburban White guys. "Most of these rappers are coming out of the projects and even though we didn't come from that, we can relate," claims Devin. Well, they got the hustle part for sure.

• OJ Simpson got busted. Simpson showed up at a sport collectors convention in Illinois and proceeded to sign autographs, charging $100-$125 apiece. Unfortunately for OJ, the convention rules prohibited uninvited celebrities from participating. Simpson managed to sign over 100 autographs before being evicted. He’ll no doubt use the cash to fund his continued search for slain wife Nicole’s real killers.