Tuesday, November 30, 2010

8211: Mad (Men) Professor.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Northwestern University is offering a course on AMC series Mad Men titled, “Consumerism and Social Change in Mad Men America, 1960-1963.” The instructor claimed the program spotlights social reform movements and “shows the way the 1950s and 1960s blend together and how they related to each other.” Well, sure, in a culturally clueless, revisionist history kind of way.

Northwestern offering class on ‘Mad Men’

By Kara Spak

It’s not just Sterling Cooper employees who get to study the ins and outs of “Mad Men’s” dashing Don Draper.

Sixteen Northwestern University freshmen are watching the first season of the hit AMC series for a freshman seminar titled “Consumerism and Social Change in Mad Men America, 1960-1963.”

History professor and “Mad Men” fan Michael Allen, who teaches post-1945 U.S. history, said one of the main questions of that period is the origins of social reform movements, like civil rights and feminism.

“It shows the way the 1950s and 1960s blend together and how they related to each other,” Allen said of the show.

The first season of “Mad Men” was set in 1960. Allen expects to teach the seminar next year “if the show maintains its high quality.”

8210: Party Like It’s 1621.

AdRants spotted a Thanksgiving promotion from Minnesota sports bar Station 280 that managed to offend the locals. Posters and flyers hyped booze specials with the headline, “Drink Like an Indian. Party Like a Pilgrim.” After receiving complaints, the owner ended the campaign and promised to donate money to a Native American group. Meanwhile, the bar’s marketing manager remarked, “It put some things into perspective about history. I’ve gotten a couple of comments that American Indians were already stung by the holiday in the first place, and we made it worse. I guess I didn’t realize that perspective would come out of the flyer.” These guys make the bartenders at Cheers look like Mensa members.

Monday, November 29, 2010

8209: More Schit From Schlessinger.

Advertising Age interviewed Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who will be making a move to Sirius XM. Schlessinger sparked controversy earlier in the year after repeatedly spewing the N-Word on the air. Here’s the final question and answer from the Ad Age piece:

Ad Age: Any lessons learned from the incident that prompted you to leave syndicated radio in the first place?

Dr. Schlessinger: The lesson I’ve learned is the lesson I learned a million times. Speech is only free if you agree with activist groups. To be labeled a racist when I was trying to explain how a word is used daily in a culture … I’ve had 30 years of a career where I’ve been supportive of inter-racial dating and marriage, and I’ve never ever been accused of racism. This is just politically generated concern.

Gee, doc, it would have been easier to have simply answered, “No.” In Schlessinger’s case, cultural cluelessness is like senile dementia—it sadly increases with age.

8208: White Agencies Buying Minority Workers.

From The Wall Street Journal…

Ad Firms Heed Diversity
Madison Avenue Adds Specialists, Creating a Challenge for Multicultural Firms

By Suzanne Vranica

As they seek new revenue sources, Madison Avenue firms are beefing up their multicultural offerings, posing a challenge to specialist Hispanic and African-American agencies.

Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners has hired Sandra Alfaro to lead its newly created multicultural division, dubbed Ramona, which was formed several months ago after its parent company, MDC Partners, folded a multicultural agency into Kirshenbaum.

Ms. Alfaro, a former managing partner at the independent Hispanic agency Vidal Partnership, is one of the rash of high-profile multicultural ad experts who have been wooed into joining generalist ad agencies over the past year as those firms look to take advantage of the dollars flowing to multicultural advertising.

Over the past few months, Interpublic Group’s DraftFCB and MDC’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky have both hired several high-ranking executives from multicultural firms.

Multicultural marketing is one of the “fastest growing parts” of DraftFCB’s business, says Laurence Boschetto, Draft’s chief executive. Its business in the space has “doubled in the past two years,” the agency says. Draft declined to reveal its revenue.

Mainstream ad agencies have dabbled in multicultural ads for years, but many are becoming more aggressive because, they say, some marketers are now more open to working with general ad firms for this part of their business.

Earlier this year, for example, Burger King shifted its Hispanic and African-American ad work to Crispin. The burger baron says it wanted “to create advertising that speaks with a consistent brand voice while continuing to respect and embrace the ethnically diverse population.”

Church’s Chicken, which works with Kirshenbaum, says that pooling everything at a generalist agency helps the multicultural component of the marketing campaign be part of the initial ad strategy, not just an “afterthought.”

But Andy Bonaparte, Church’s Chicken’s vice president of advertising, says the approach works only if the general agency has invested in hiring the right multicultural talent. (The fast-food chain is owned by private- equity firm Friedman, Fleischer & Lowe LLC.)

Meanwhile, having generalist firms bulk up on minority ad talent is a worrisome trend for multicultural agencies. It “might lead to the demise of this segment,” says Byron Lewis, chief executive of UniWorld Group, a multicultural ad firm. “There are so few [minorities] in the [ad] industry, so to deplete the staffing would be a major problem,” he adds.

Ad executives say they expect ad spending directed at minority audiences to jump significantly when new data emerge from the 2010 Census. Some noticed an uptick earlier this year when the Census released data suggesting that whites are on the verge of becoming a minority among newborn children in the U.S.

Mr. Lewis says it took the 2000 Census results to wake up many marketers to this segment initially.

Last year, ad spending on Spanish-language media in the U.S. fared better than the overall ad market, falling 9.3% to $5.3 billion, while ad outlays on all other media slid 13% to $121.3 billion, says Kantar Media, an ad-tracking unit of WPP PLC.

Still, marketers have a long way to go to make their advertising proportionate. Advertisers spent an average of 7.8% of their total television spending on Hispanic TV in 2009, according to Kantar. There has been a lot of “lip service,” adds Jon Swallen, senior vice president of research at Kantar.

The industries that have been creating ads for minority audiences most aggressively include fast-food companies, department stores, telecommunication companies and TV-service providers, says Kantar. Sectors that still lag include pharmaceutical companies.

Marketers such as the Subway sandwich chain and Coca-Cola say they are spending more of their ad dollars to woo minority consumers. Coke has recently made a multicultural approach part of every major ad push it launches.

“Multicultural consumers currently consume nearly three out of every 10 Coca-Cola products sold in the U.S. And in 10 years, all indications are that percentage will be closer to four out of 10,” says Bea Perez, chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola North America. Still, Coke continues to work with several agencies that specialize in the space. Ms. Perez says Coke’s general market agencies “need to partner with the agencies that have the core insights.”

Ms. Perez says Coke’s general market agencies are expected to come up with ads for multicultural audiences. For example, Wieden + Kennedy recently did an outdoor ad for the holidays that showed a young African-American boy sharing a gift-wrapped six-pack of Coke.

8207: StrawberryFrog—Truth In Advertising.

Wanted to add a brief follow-up to the StrawberryFrog fiasco involving the Director of Planning who used her blog to blacklist an ex-employee. Not surprisingly, the damning post has been removed, although the original investigative document can still be viewed at Agency Spy. It’s a safe bet that there will be no additional public announcements on the situation, as behind-the-scenes legal actions and confidential settlements will likely move forward.

The scenario did highlight a few truths in advertising:

Ad agency executives remain remarkably ignorant about basic HR-related procedures, as well as employment laws. This phenomenon is especially evident in big agencies. While StrawberryFrog brags it was founded “to challenge the domination of the legacy agency dinosaurs,” the shop ultimately showed it’s just as stupid and prehistoric as the stereotypical BDAs that George Parker regularly blasts.

Our industry’s hiring practices require serious changes. After all, the alleged “cancer” that LeFevre attempted to eliminate has worked at several prominent agencies. Another blogger admitted to recommending the guy for a different job. Regardless of the truth surrounding the man’s abilities, we continue to operate a buddy system based on cronyism, nepotism and other isms that stifles diversity while rewarding incompetent hacks. And LeFevre might be among the painfully unqualified. Hell, the ex-StrawberryFrogger she condemned will find a fresh gig in the business before an unknown minority lands an account planner role.

What makes the StrawberryFrog fiasco particularly annoying is the blatant hypocrisy and hubris at its core. Here is an agency whining about an employee who apparently did not live up to the persona presented during the interview process. Sure, just about everyone has encountered a coworker whose skills did not match his/her resume or portfolio. But these days, there are far greater instances of employers lying to interviewing candidates. Agencies mislead recruits on everything from assignments to salaries, painting images of corporate Nirvana to conceal their true dysfunctional, disorganized and corrupt enterprises. There’s much more cancer and disease in the corner offices versus the cubicles.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

8206: Twin Triplets.

Based on these spots for Slate Card from Chase and Nissan Quest, you’d think all Black couples have triplets.

8205: Dr. Margaret Burroughs Tribute.

From The Chicago Tribune…

Master of colors and canvas

By Haki R. Madhubuti

In 1962, the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art, which was the original name of The DuSable Museum of African American History, ran an ad in the Chicago Defender that captured my young mind. I was a soldier stationed at Fort Sheridan, and although I read everything “black” I could get my hands on, there was no one I could talk to who had any interest in the serious intellectual, economic, political and cultural development of African-Americans.

At the first opportunity, I found myself at the museum’s door seeking to know more about this organization and its founder, Margaret G.T. Burroughs. At that time the museum was located in her and her husband Charles “Charlie” Burroughs’ home on South Michigan Avenue. She, her husband and the museum’s curator Eugene Feldman received me with open arms and offered me support and guidance. Between 1962 and 1966, I was a volunteer in the early stages of building the DuSable Museum, and Margaret Burroughs became a mentor to me. Her wisdom and insight kept me sane and culturally grounded.

She was the unchallenged institution builder of Chicago. Not only was she a founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History, she was also instrumental in the creation of the South Side Community Arts Center and the National Conference of Artists, which recently celebrated 50 years of existence.

Margaret Burroughs was a world-class visual artist, a writer and thinker with immense extraordinary talent who mentored thousands of artists, writers, social justice workers and others throughout her long life. She will be missed.

I dedicated the following poem at a tribute for Burroughs at The Art Institute of Chicago last month. She died Nov. 21 at her Bronzeville home.

how did we arrive?
mothers as artists and seers
as earth toilers, sun consumers
workers at midnight and dawn
nurtured us with apples, bananas, open hearts, seeds,
cultural language, illustration and institutions.
lovingly cut the umbilical cord,
not the commitment or sacred findings.
you with the brushes, canvas, paint, tools and ideas
with African hair, mind and memory
instigated an uprising to change the conversation
quickening our run toward saneness, smiles and fear
out-pacing a leadership who moves
like roaches with alzheimers.
we, on jet powered roller skates
still eat your dust
still are wondrous of the measure
of your gifts.

Haki R. Madhubuti is the Ida B. Wells-Barnett professor at DePaul University and the founder and publisher of Third World Press.

8204: Buffalo Soldiers Ride Strong.

From The Los Angeles Times…

Keeping the Buffalo Soldiers on memory’s front lines

They were the first black regiments of the U.S. Army. With each passing year, as their numbers dwindle, the veterans renew their commitment to ensuring their contribution to American military history is never forgotten.

By Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times

They participated in cross-country cattle drives, escorted wagon trains and stagecoaches through often volatile territories of the Wild West and fought in the Spanish-American War and both world wars.

The first African American regiments of the U.S. Army were commonly known as Buffalo Soldiers.

Today, they are among a rapidly shrinking group of veterans who with each passing year renew their commitment to ensuring that their contribution to American military history is recognized — and never forgotten.

“Our aim is to perpetuate the memory of the Buffalo Soldiers and tell the true story of what happened,” said Bruce E. Dennis, 86, vice president of the Inglewood-based Greater Los Angeles-area chapter of the 9th and 10th (Horse) Cavalry Assn.

Authorized by an act of Congress in 1866, the 9th and 10th Cavalry, and later the 24th and 25th Infantry, formed the first African American regiments of the U.S. Army. They were initially led by white officers and constituted about 10% of troops who guarded the western frontier for more than two decades, according to the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston.

The total number of original Buffalo Soldiers still living nationwide is unclear, but there are more than two dozen chapters of 9th and 10th Cavalry associations across the country. They include branches in San Diego and the Inland Empire, where the local Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Assn. is raising funds for a memorial at Riverside National Cemetery.

In recent years, participation in the monthly meetings of the Inglewood group has waned, but the mission of the handful of original surviving members remains the same: to educate the public about their historic significance.

“We are trying to keep the legacy alive,” said Andrew Q. Isaacs, 87, who was an active member of the Inglewood group until he recently relocated to Sacramento. “We want people to remember us.”

Dennis said the men are often invited to speak at schools and to participate in holiday parades and other events.

The ex-soldiers delight in telling how the nickname Buffalo Soldiers came about. Some say it was bestowed on African American soldiers by Native American warriors, who respected their fierce fighting ability, Isaacs said. Others believe that Native Americans likened the short curly hair of black troops to that of the buffalo, or were referring to the heavy buffalo coats worn by the soldiers in winter.

“Many of the soldiers they show in the movies, when the cavalry comes riding to the rescue, they would have been black,” said Waldo E. Henderson, 86, another surviving L.A.-area Buffalo Soldier, noting that such details are often ignored.

Every year, Buffalo Soldier chapters from the around the country convene at a national convention to socialize, celebrate the association’s founding and honor veterans of past service.

The horse cavalry regiments were deactivated during World War II, and its soldiers were deployed to various service units, according to historical records. But they remained Buffalo Soldiers.

Dennis, Henderson and Isaacs acknowledged that they were little acquainted with the history of the 9th and 10th Cavalry when they enlisted — or were drafted — into the Army. The role of Buffalo Soldiers in U.S. military history was rarely acknowledged, they said.

Isaacs, who enlisted in the 10th Cavalry in 1940, received his basic training at Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., where he learned how to ride and take care of horses. He loved the Army. It fostered discipline and camaraderie. He later worked for a colonel—keeping the officer’s boots and equipment polished and his horse groomed for extra pay.

“It was better than doing regular, routine chores,” he said. “The colonel I worked for was a good man.”

Isaacs eventually spent time in Arizona, Louisiana, California and the Solomon Islands. He was discharged in 1945 with the rank of technical sergeant.

Henderson, 86, resented being drafted into the Army. He was studying English at Langston University, Oklahoma’s sole black college, and had planned to become a schoolteacher. He didn’t want to interrupt his education “to go fight somebody,” especially not in a segregated Army, he said.

Henderson still bristles when he recalls the humiliating treatment black soldiers received.

Traveling through Southern states such as Texas, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia, African American soldiers were ordered to lower the blinds on the train “because whites didn’t want to see black soldiers in uniform,” Henderson said.

“And the horses were allowed to get off the train to exercise, but the cavalrymen were not,” he added.

For Dennis, a former master sergeant who served in the same 10th Cavalry platoon as Henderson, his most memorable assignment was the two years he spent in the small Italian town of Santa Maria. His duties included checking the food and ammunition boxes and loading them onto trains bound for the front. At least 60 Italians were assigned to work for him, recalled Dennis, who even had a housekeeper, a cook and laundry service.

“It made us feel much more important,” he said. “These Italians had never seen black soldiers before. The white soldiers had told them that we had tails.”

To add insult to injury, Dennis helped build prisoner-of-war camps near the Italian town of Pisa for more than 2,000 captured German troops, who he said were treated better than the black cavalrymen.

“It was horrible,” he said. “They issued all the German POWs with brand-new fatigues. My unit got patched, used fatigues.”

In 1948, President Truman signed an executive order calling for “equality of treatment for all persons in the armed services,” regardless of race, religion or national origin.

“Truman did a very profound thing for black soldiers. We started to get the same respect,” said Henderson, who was discharged with the rank of technical engineer.

In 1992, retired Gen. Colin Powell, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, dedicated a monument to the Buffalo Soldiers at Ft. Leavenworth, where the 10th Cavalry was born.

Isaacs, Dennis and Henderson attended the celebration.

Henderson said the dedication changed his feelings about the Army.

“We had no recognition before,” he said. “It changed the whole view of black soldiers. I can proudly say now that I was a Buffalo Soldier.”

8203: Go Bo.

Seems like this spa is trying to bring back the Bo Derek look in 2011.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

8202: Short News Briefs.

Working Through The Weekend With A MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• At the Asian Games, Singapore’s men’s water polo team sparked controversy with their trunks. People are taking offense to the Singaporean flag’s design—especially the placement of the crescent moon—on the front of the briefs. Hey, water polo player, is that Singaporean pride on your trunks or are you just happy to see us?

• The FBI announced the number of reported hate crimes dramatically dropped in 2009 versus 2008, marking the lowest point in over 15 years. Maybe folks are directing their hatred at different targets—like politicians, greedy corporations and Singapore’s water polo players.

• A new World Health Organization report states secondhand smoke sickens millions and kills about 600,000 people per year worldwide. Now those figures deserve some hate.

8201: Gay Flight Activism…?

From AOL News…

German Zoo Forces Gay Vultures to Mate With Females

By Lauren Frayer

German zookeepers are forcing two male vultures who prefer nesting together to mate with females, sparking outrage from gay rights activists who accuse the zoo of discriminating against birds of a different feather.

The trouble began back in March, when Guido and Detlef, two Griffon vultures, decided to move in together. The lovebirds began crafting a two-man nest out of stray twigs in a communal birdcage at their zoo in the town of Munster, in northwest Germany.

Both birds are predatory males, but seemed to enjoy one another’s company more than that of any female. They spent their days grooming one another with their beaks and fortifying their nest—though other vultures occasionally stole their building materials, as if to spite them.

“They always sat so closely together. They defended their nest from the other vultures,” the zoo’s curator, Dirk Wewers, told The Daily Telegraph of Australia.

But Wewers explains their preference for one another as second-best. “A suitable female was missing and in such a case vultures look for companionship from the next best thing, even if it is a male,” the zookeeper said. “Detlef looked for a bird of the opposite sex but settled with Guido.”

Poor Guido.

Griffon vultures aren’t classified as endangered, but the purpose of their captivity in zoos is to allow them to reproduce in safe environments, to eventually grow their species’ numbers and release them back into the wild. Zookeepers decided that Guido and Detlef’s living arrangements weren’t helping that goal.

So last week, Guido was snatched from his partner and shipped 400 miles east to a zoo in the Czech Republic, where a new bride awaited him. In his place is a Czech temptress whom zookeepers hope can seduce Detlef.

“Detlef is reorienting himself now,” Wewers told the Telegraph. But he acknowledged that so far, Detlef and the Czech bird haven’t touched one another.

Gay rights activists held a small demonstration in front of the zoo, waving a rainbow flag and decrying the zookeepers for standing in the way of love.

“This is like in the dark middle ages, forcibly making a creature sexually re-orient itself by tearing its partner from its side,” The German Herald quoted one protester as saying. Others said they worried that what’s happened to the birds could one day happen to humans as well.

Guido and Detlef aren’t the first gay couple from the animal kingdom to make headlines.

Two gay male penguins, Harry and Pepper, started living together at the San Francisco Zoo in 2003, and five years later adopted, incubated and hatched an egg abandoned by a female penguin, Time magazine reported. But their romance didn’t last. Last year, Harry left Pepper for a recently widowed female, Linda.

8200: NBA Color Commentary.

From Salon…

Professional basketball’s new race debate
LeBron James created controversy this summer when he accused sports fans of racism. We ask an expert: Was he right?

By Ethan Sherwood Strauss

As the great David Halberstam often observed, the racial politics of professional basketball have always been rather delicate. The sport, after all, sells the talents, style and power of mostly young black men to a largely white audience — and these uncomfortable racial dynamics have a tendency to bubble to the surface in strange ways. This summer, after LeBron James left Cleveland for Miami in a showy power grab, the move unleashed a tsunami of bile. According LeBron, the backlash was at least in part caused by the “race factor,” and it spawned a heated debate about the role of racism in the NBA.

For people looking for some perspective on the issue, “The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball History,” from the people behind the FreeDarko basketball blog, is a great place to start. The book is a collectivist account of the NBA’s racial, labor and cultural reverberations — with occasional jaunts into graphic novel format. “TUGTPBH” co-author Bethlehem Shoals is a primary contributor to FreeDarko, a site with a reputation for thought-provoking takes on the basketball world. Salon spoke to Shoals over the phone, about the LeBron controversy and the changing nature of race in the NBA.

Do you think racial resentment helped fuel the LeBron James backlash?

Well, obviously, there’s a dimension to that. You can say, “Oh, it’s just a coincidence that everyone is mad at him and he’s black.” But, I’m sorry, the country hasn’t earned the luxury to say, “You know, on this one, race really isn’t an issue.” The history of sports in America is shot through with all sorts of issues of race and perceptions of “the other.” And the NBA is the worst in that respect because it’s so closely associated with not just people of different skin color, but also the entire urban culture, for lack of a better term.

Has American culture grown more receptive to hearing statements about race from black athletes?

It depends on how much stock you want to put in the very universal — with a few notable exceptions — NBA player efforts to get Obama elected. No one seemed to have a huge problem with that. But then again, that was the building story of the century. And if you’re not going to let black athletes speak in favor of a black president, that’s when it starts to get a little dicey.

As for players having opinions on things that aren’t as obvious… I don’t know. When do athletes ever speak out about anything? Big-name athletes still don’t speak on anything unless it’s a humanitarian cause. Humanitarian causes are fine, when you’re not really blaming anyone or asking anyone to change. When, recently, have you heard of an athlete supporting a senatorial candidate? Has an athlete ever made a “It gets better” video?

When LeBron said that “race was a factor” in the backlash against him, he got quickly ridiculed for playing the “race card.” The media narrative seemed to insinuate that he was using an unfair tactic — or a cowardly tactic — just by bringing up that race played a role in the hatred.

LeBron simply said that “race was a factor,” and some people said, “Oh, you’re being a wuss!” or “Why didn’t you say this before?” I think it’s weird that he could be accused of being opportunistic by bringing it up — bringing it up because people were mad about it. It was like he was either going too far and not far enough.

When people talk about playing the race card, they mean that someone is halfheartedly, noncommittally using race because it’ll help them. But that’s the thing: If it was going to help him so much, then why didn’t he bring it up earlier? So you’re getting on the guy because he’s not mad enough about race in this situation? These are the same people who are saying that race isn’t a factor!

That reminds me of how politics is often assessed in a horse-race fashion, where people don’t discuss the veracity of a politician’s claims so much as they discuss the PR impact — and whether or not they will help or hurt the politician. It just seemed odd that the sportswriters were discussing the impact in terms of “Oh, this isn’t going to help LeBron. This is going to make it worse,” as opposed to going, “Well… he’s right.”

Sports media is by and large cynical, conservative and at best apolitical. I think it’s interesting because with politics, it’s regarded as a very bad thing that brands, P.R. or spin have taken total precedence over what’s true and what’s not. Obviously, the disconnect between policy and voting is the worst thing to happen in the history of people voting on issues.

But the thing about sports is, you have two sides to being an athlete. You’ve got what you do on the field, and then you have the brand side of it. Because part of being an athlete is getting money and a big part of getting money is your brand. Athletes have a voice and a platform, and some people think it gives them an obligation to take advantage it, and to stand up for just causes — or at least not to fall victim to utter B.S. That’s another issue altogether. I’m not sure why we look to athletes on these issues, because... they’re athletes!

I actually think it’s good if our most supposedly vacuous celebrities feel the need to have social consciousness and speak out on issues. It’s sad that we’re looking to them to do so, but I think it’s reflective of a healthy society if they’re doing it.

Yeah, I agree with you. Certainly, when you look in our book at the civil rights era, many athletes had a personal investment in that. There’s something very inspiring about that time. That’s what was so great about the summer of Obama in the NBA. We know these guys aren’t idiots, and it’s good to see them engaged politically. And yes, it’s indicative of a healthy society. Now, do we want to say that an athlete who didn’t support Obama publicly is somehow lacking as a human being? That’s when I start to have problems with it.

We talked about the racial resentment that may have played a role in the LeBron summer. I’m wondering, can NBA commissioner David Stern actually benefit from this possible resentment in almost a Lee Atwater fashion? Can that anger against LeBron James be harnessed to gather support for these billionaire owners?

Look, you’re certainly right about that, but I don’t think Stern needs to do anything to capitalize. Somehow these fans think they have more in common with the owners than they do with the players. You can always sell fans on the idea that players are spoiled millionaires. That’s why what [Cleveland Cavaliers owner] Dan Gilbert did was so terrible for the owners. Because it showed that he was even more of a spoiled millionaire than anyone claimed LeBron was.

Any thoughts on the controversial Ken Jeong–Derrick Rose commercial in which Jeong acts like a crazed, decadent rap star?

It weirds me out the way the commercial is somehow both offensive to black people, and at the same time, it’s making fun of Asians who “act black.” Because, that’s what [Jeong’s] whole stupid shtick is.

Friday, November 26, 2010

8199: Black Friday Black Inventors.

If Black Friday were a Black holiday, advertisers would undoubtedly produce patronizing messages saluting two Black inventors whose contributions made the shopping day a success.

Benjamin Banneker is credited with inventing the first clock to be made in America. Without Banneker’s device, citizens would never have been able to wake up in time for the 3am store openings.

Garrett A. Morgan invented the traffic signal, which kept drivers safe and organized while they madly sped to big-box department stores. Additionally, Garrett created the gas mask, which riot squads could have used if Christmas crowds became unruly.

8198: Sorry, That Price Is Not An Error.

The actual craigslist ad below seeks writers for Internet-related assignments that range in pay from $5 to over $450. Um, no self-respecting writer should accept a job for $5—even to draft the copy for a 404 error page. Sadly, there are plenty of writers lacking self-respect out there.

Freelance Writers Wanted (Chicago)

Date: 2010-11-24, 3:46PM CST
Reply to: gigs-facvg-2078264801@craigslist.org

Looking for writers for various subject matter. Lots of internet related writing, and some ad copy. Pay varies depending on article length but can be anywhere from $5 to $450+

If you are interested let me know.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

8197: True Thanksgiving…?

The holiday would not be complete without a hearty helping of historical honesty.

8196: Thanksgiving Turkeys.

Carving up the news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was convicted of money laundering in connection with the 2002 elections—making him eligible for a sentence of five to 99 years in prison. So DeLay may soon become Big House Majority Leader.

• Wesley Snipes asked a federal judge to let him remain free on bail while pursuing an appeal of his convictions for tax evasion. Snipes is probably also receiving calls for advice from Tom DeLay.

• Kanye West is not giving thanks to Taylor Swift, Matt Lauer or George W. Bush. The recording artist apparently griped about being victimized during a recent concert, even accusing Swift of profiting from the infamous VMA moment. West complained, “Everybody needs a villain, don’t we? We need to blame someone at all times.” Um, at some point, West is going to have to blame himself.

8195: Happy Thanksgiving.

TalentZoo has been mimicking Google lately, adding illustrations to its logo. But the Thanksgiving version seems to spell TalentZo.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

8194: More Thoughts On Dr. Margaret Burroughs.

From The Chicago Sun-Times…

Arts had great champion in Margaret Burroughs

It wasn’t unusual for Margaret Burroughs to ask people, “What will your legacy be?” or “How will you make your mark on the world?”

Answering those questions for herself became the driving force in Burroughs’ life.

And Chicago is a better city for it.

Burroughs, who died Sunday at age 95, was a beloved artist, teacher, author and builder of cultural institutions.

She is perhaps best known for co-founding the nation’s first black history museum, the DuSable Museum, with her late husband Charles in 1961. Before that, she had a hand in creating the South Side Community Art Center, which serves as a haven for budding and established artists to this day.

And she was a mentor to countless Chicagoans as an art teacher at DuSable High School in Bronzeville and as a professor of humanities at Kennedy-King College.

In these and other endeavors, Burroughs made it her life’s work to educate black Chicagoans — and the city as a whole — about the accomplishments of people whose names had been left out of the history books.

In the process, she demonstrated the impact one person can have on the lives of many.

“For her, it was always about moving for social justice and social change,” DuSable Museum CEO Carol Adams told us. “If she saw a void, she stepped in to fill it.”

That’s a legacy we can all learn from.

We also can honor Burroughs’ memory by supporting the institutions she built.

Burroughs, in a 2004 interview with WLS-Channel 7, explained her life’s mission this way:

“You’re born, and you live and you ought to leave something other than just a tombstone signifying that you were here.”

Margaret Burroughs left us so much more.

8193: StrawberryFrog Has A New Wart.

Adfreak and Agency Spy spotlighted a moment of insanity perpetrated by the Director of Planning at StrawberryFrog in Amsterdam. Heather LeFevre sought to “remove a cancer from adland” by launching an online campaign to blacklist an ex-employee. MultiCultClassics will forgo rehashing the silly details, opting instead to briefly swing the microscope in LeFevre’s direction—as well as conduct an experiment in Web investigation.

First, LeFevre has only held her position since July 2010, and her previous roles were at a Senior Planner level. In other words, she’s a newbie leader. Actually, it’s clearly premature to label her a leader, especially given her actions in this scenario. So let’s call her a newbie manager.

Second, when LeFevre announced her new StrawberryFrog gig on her blog, she indicated the need to immediately hire four planners. Hence, the newbie manager was faced with having to quickly assemble a team—a daunting task even for a seasoned veteran. It’s safe to say she failed in her opening assignment.

Third, LeFevre once offered her opinion on the characteristics of a successful planner. She said, “From my perspective, I think mastering the art of conversation is one of the most important skills to develop. How to Talk to Anyone is a great book to help. You have to build rapport with surly creatives and clients that you may not see all that often. They will invite you into their inner circle if they trust you, find you interesting and want to talk to you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are if you haven’t got that.” Too bad the surly Director of Planning didn’t tap her masterful conversational skills when confronted with a challenging report. She should consider checking out a few basic books on professional leadership.

Fourth, LeFevre has obviously put StrawberryFrog in a bad spot. Forget the possible legal issues, since MultiCultClassics isn’t familiar with employment law in Amsterdam. Her immature rant has completely shifted the focus away from the agency’s work. Additionally, future candidates might think twice before pursuing a job with the place. Hell, clients might give pause before partnering with StrawberryFrog. Someone holding the title of Director of Planning should be an ambassador for her agency. She should at very least be responsible for briefs involving clients, not coworkers.

Fifth, LeFevre perpetuated a sad reality in our industry: Asshole employees are ultimately outnumbered by asshole bosses. And one has to wonder if LeFevre represents the common occurrence of an asshole employee getting elevated to become an asshole boss.

Sixth, LeFevre’s 17-page document unintentionally displays her poor planning abilities. As always, the planner compiles reams of redundant, fuzzy and irrelevant information, demands that the mess be read in its entirety and expects everyone to decipher its usefulness.

When LeFevre originally told the world that StrawberryFrog had named her Director of Planning, she joked, “They might have been smoking something, that’s still to be confirmed.” Um, looks like she just supplied the confirmation.

UPDATE: Some of the links above may be useless, as LeFevre’s blog—featuring the original condemnation—is suddenly restricting access to visitors. Perhaps the Director of Planning received a call from the Director of Human Resources.

UPDATE TWO: Well, LeFevre’s blog is accepting visitors again—but the infamous post has vanished. Perhaps LeFevre can use her keen investigative skills to unravel the mystery behind its digital disappearance.

8192: All Black Friday Spots Look Alike.

What’s with all the Black Friday spots featuring semi-insane women overacting/overreacting to the upcoming sales? From overboard training to obsessive early morning preparations, it’s just one contrived commercial after another. The economy has rendered consumers reluctant to make purchases like never before. So you’d think advertisers would try a different approach versus the traditional holiday shopping clich├ęs to inspire deadly store stampedes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

8191: Steak ‘N Shake ‘N Whatever.

Advertising Age reported that the Steak ‘n Shake account is going into review—and the trade publication could not verify if there’s an incumbent agency. Um, even the minority advertising shops might want to take a pass on this one.

Steak ‘n Shake Seeks New Creative Agency
Pitch Comes Amid a Wave of Restaurant Reviews

By Maureen Morrison

CHICAGO -- Regional restaurant chain Steak ‘n Shake is conducting an agency review, according to executives familiar with the matter. The pitch marks the fourth restaurant brand to seek new creative in recent months, including the sibling chains Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, drive-in Sonic and Arby’s.

Steak ‘n Shake’s decision to look for a new advertising partner comes nearly two years after the chain’s 18-year relationship with Indianapolis-based Young & Laramore ended. The now-defunct independent Varnson Group worked with Steak ‘n Shake briefly in 2009 following Young & Laramore, but there is believed to be no current incumbent. Representatives for Steak ‘n Shake and its parent company, Biglari Holdings, did not return calls by press time.

The casual-dining category was hard-hit by the recession, and as restaurants try to lure customers back, many are looking to change their advertising strategies. Another chain that is currently in review is Sonic Corp., which in October ended its 17-year relationship with independent agency Barkley—only to later say the agency will continue to work with Sonic, albeit in a much-reduced capacity. The bulk of the Sonic account—mainly national creative and media duties—still remains in play. CKE Restaurants’ Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants also in October put their creative accounts into review; incumbent and Hakuhodo-owned Mendelsohn Zien is defending.

The largest pitch in the category is that for Arby’s, which in August put its creative account into play, ending a six-year relationship with Omnicom Group’s Merkley & Partners. The fast-feeder’s parent company, Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, in 2009 conducted a creative review for the Wendy’s brand, awarding the $300 million marketing account to Publicis Groupe’s Kaplan Thaler Group.

Steak ‘n Shake, with nearly 500 stores in roughly 20 Midwestern and Southern states, has been incrementally upping its ad spending in recent years, according to WPP’s Kantar Media. In 2009, the company spent about $17 million in U.S. measured media, up from $13.6 million in 2008 and $12.8 million in 2007.

Monday, November 22, 2010

8190: General Mills’ General Lies.

General Mills claims to be “committed to establishing and growing our relationships with diverse suppliers…” Can General Mills name a single general-market advertising agency on its roster that might be considered diverse? As a general rule, general-market advertising agencies are generally White.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

8189: Dr. Margaret Burroughs (1917-2010).

From The Chicago Sun-Times…

DuSable Museum founder, cultural leader Margaret Burroughs dead at 93

By Mary Houlihan, Staff Reporter

Margaret Burroughs, an artist, poet, educator and founder of the DuSable Museum of African American History, died early Sunday morning at her home surrounded by her family.

Mrs. Burroughs legacy reaches across the spectrum, and is a distinctive contribution to black culture.

“Every individual wants to leave a legacy; to be remembered for something positive they have done for their community,” Mrs. Burroughs once told Ebony magazine. “Long after I’m dead and gone, the DuSable Museum will still be here.”

Mrs. Burroughs, 93, was born in St. Rose, La., and had a lifelong passion for learning. She moved with her family north to Chicago where she attended Englewood High School. She would go on to attend Chicago Normal College, Chicago Teachers College and the School of the Art Institute.

The DuSable got its start in 1961 during a meeting at Mrs. Burroughs’s home. Originally called the Ebony Museum of Negro History and Art, it was relocated in 1971 from Burroughs’ home to Washington Park and renamed for Haitian trader Jean Baptist Pointe DuSable, Chicago’s first permanent settler.

Mrs. Burroughs was the author of children’s books and volumes of poetry that spoke to the African-American experience.

Mrs. Burroughs taught art for more than 20 years at DuSable High School.

She worked in sculpture and painting but it was her skill as a printmaker that she became best known for. Her linoleum block prints featured images relevant to African-American culture.

At Mrs. Burroughs request, there will be no funeral service. A public memorial will be held after the holidays.

8188: Lost And Semi-Found.

From The New York Times…

Lost Boys of Sudan Fill in the Blanks of Their Past

By Marc Lacey

PHOENIX — It has been 10 years since Malek Deng and thousands of other young men known as the Lost Boys of Sudan left war behind for new lives in the United States. But a new digital archive of their refugee records is taking Mr. Deng and the others back to the harrowing days of their youth.

Sitting in a community center in Phoenix, where thousands of Sudanese refugees have resettled, Mr. Deng recently examined documents about his war-torn childhood that he had never seen. They were based on an interview that field workers with the Swedish branch of Save the Children International conducted with him in 1989 at a refugee camp in Ethiopia. He was just a scared boy of about 14 at the time.

The papers said he was born in a village called Thur Kuol in the Bahr al-Gazal region of southwestern Sudan. The documents listed Mr. Deng’s relatives and recounted how he tended cattle before civil war drove him from his family. He had explained to the interviewers that he fled with other Lost Boys to avoid being kidnapped by soldiers from northern Sudan.

“It’s amazing to see,” said an emotional Mr. Deng, now a medical technician in his mid-30s who lives in Phoenix. “It’s proof of my past. In my head, I knew what I went through. I can tell people verbally, but now I have some records to prove it.”

Attached to the eight pages of interview notes is a grainy photo of a young Mr. Deng at the Pinyudo refugee camp in Ethiopia, which was one stop on his long journey to a new life in the United States. It is his only photograph from that traumatic time.

“Back then, I was just living day to day,” Mr. Deng said. “I got malaria. I had diarrhea. I missed my family. I didn’t want to be suffering so much.”

The records from this childhood were nearly destroyed. But an American researcher, Kirk Felsman, recovered them in 2004 from a warehouse in Ethiopia. Eventually, the documents were scanned and turned over in digital form to the AZ Lost Boys Center in Phoenix, where about 600 of the Lost Boys now live. A group of volunteers worked to organize the documents in a way that makes them easy to search.

These personal war histories can now be ordered at a Web site (lostboysreunited.org) that has received thousands of hits from countries around the world. Requests for the records have come in by the hundreds in recent weeks.

Reading them is not easy for those involved.

“When I read it, it brings me back to that time,” said one of the Lost Boys, Diing Arok, who works as a traffic engineer and is in his early 30s, his exact birthday unknown. “I can still see the faces of the relatives I listed. I listed that I had had measles, and I remember how awful I felt.”

His records list exhaustion, injury, hunger and thirst as some of the challenges he faced on his long trek from his village.

Such reminders, although difficult, are a healthy part of addressing the trauma that has haunted the Lost Boys, say those who work with them.

“They like to keep their stories inside,” said Brenda Felldin, a board member at the AZ Lost Boys Center. “It is therapeutic for them to see their personal histories written down.”

Ann Wheat, founder of the center, added: “For these guys to recover, to heal and to make it in this new, bewildering country, they have to confront the past and also embrace their cultures. Healing comes not from ignoring the trauma, but also looking back at it and shedding tears.”

She and Ms. Felldin mentioned another potential benefit for the Lost Boys: reconnecting with their relatives. Although they have often been labeled as war orphans, some Lost Boys have been able to find their families since the fighting ended under the terms of a 2005 peace agreement, and others hope to do so now that people are rebuilding the region.

Even those whose relatives were among the staggering number who died in the war hope to return to the country one day, to see where they came from and, in some cases, to help the destitute region recover. In January, a referendum is scheduled in southern Sudan to decide whether it should secede and declare independence. Phoenix will be among the handful of voting sites in the United States for Sudanese refugees who want a say in their country’s future.

In the meantime, they are remembering their pasts.

“This photo is all I have of my childhood,” Kuol Awan, executive director of the AZ Lost Boys Center and a refugee himself, said as he gazed at a snapshot taken when he was about 15. “I can show this to my grandchildren one day when I tell them stories about my life.”

Saturday, November 20, 2010

8187: HumanKindness In Action.

In their new book, HumanKind, Leo Burnett honchos Tom Bernardin and Mark Tutssel presented the agency’s formula for success: People, Purpose, Participation and Populism. The publisher’s hype declared, “Ultimately, it’s people—not advertising agencies—who create great ‘people’s brands.’ Brands like McDonald’s, Coke, Nintendo, Fiat, Kellogg’s, and Blackberry.” OK, except Advertising Age just reported that Blackberry is going into review, and Leo Burnett is bowing out. “We have decided not to participate in Blackberry’s U.S. creative review, as we are instead moving forward with and growing our Samsung client partnership,” stated Leo Burnett representatives. Guess Blackberry wasn’t feeling the HumanKindness.

This excerpt from Ad Age is particularly interesting:

At Ad Age’s Digital Conference in April, RIM Marketing VP Brian Wallace made no apologies about being a demanding client for agencies. Unlike many marketers, the phone maker delivers a single brief to all agencies—PR, social, digital, creative, media, etc.—simultaneously, and challenges them to come up with a solution together. Additionally, agencies are compensated on how well they collaborate with one another.

Let’s see. People. Purpose. Participation. Populism. Add Pfft.

P.S. Check out the HumanKind scoop at AdPulp.

8186: Profiles Of Stupidity.

Weekend news in a MultiCultClassics Monologue…

• Sarah Palin thinks airport security should “profile away” when facing suspicious people at security gates. Via Twitter, Palin wrote, “law enforcement profiles individuals/suspects when seeking info 2 prevent or deal w/other crimes; why can’t this be done @aiport 2 prevent?” Let’s hope Palin’s next TSA patdown includes a whack 2 her empty head.

• A Florida judge ordered Wesley Snipes to start his jail sentence for a felony tax conviction. So far, Snipes has managed to avoid paying taxes and avoid paying for his crimes.

• A Los Angeles Times/USC poll showed Latinos and Asians are significantly more concerned about the environment than Whites. Probably because they’re doing a lot more of the outdoor labor.

• Pope Benedict XVI said using condoms could be justified in certain cases, like male prostitutes seeking to prevent the spread of HIV. Also, pedophile priests could… oh, never mind.

8185: Black Farmers Getting Green.

The New York Times reported the Senate approved a settlement payment for ripped-off Black farmers—which is great, as the Senate may soon be a little less friendly to Blacks.

Senate Approves Payment of Black Farmers’ Claims

By Ashley Southall

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Friday approved $4.55 billion to settle longstanding charges that the federal government had denied or underpaid aid to black farmers and mismanaged trust funds for American Indians.

The bill sets aside $1.15 billion to resolve racial bias claims brought by black farmers against the Agriculture Department and $3.4 billion to pay claims stemming from the Department of the Interior’s handling of American Indian trust funds.

The Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent on Friday evening and sent it to the House. Similar measures have passed the House twice, and President Obama has said he would sign the bill into law.

“It’s been a long time coming, and it’s the right thing to do,” said Ralph Paige, executive director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, which helps primarily African-American farmers keep their land.

The black farmers’ case is an outgrowth of Pigford v. Glickman, a federal class-action lawsuit originally settled in 1999. The Obama administration agreed in February to provide a second round of damages to people who were denied earlier payment because they had missed the deadlines for filing.

The American Indian case, Cobell v. Salazar, was settled in December after more than 13 years of litigation. The settlement creates a $1.4 billion trust fund and a $60 million scholarship fund. It also provides $2 billion for the federal government to repurchase tribal lands sold to individuals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The House has approved money for both settlements twice this year — first in a war supplemental bill, then in a tax extenders bill — but the financing was stripped in the Senate over concerns about spending and lawyers’ fees in the American Indian settlement. Until Friday, Republicans had thwarted several attempts made by Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, to consider the measure on its own.

Mr. Reid was able to appease Republicans by finding offsetting spending cuts. The legislation was also amended to include a one-year extension to a program that provides temporary benefits to poor families, and several American Indian water rights settlements, both requested by Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona.

Shortly after the bill passed, Mr. Reid said he was “heartened” that both parties had been able to reach a deal.

“This issue has been of great importance to me, and I am pleased these long-suffering Americans can now receive the closure that they deserve,” Mr. Reid said.

Members of the National Congress of American Indians, a group that advocates for tribal interests, said they were encouraged by the vote.

“The passage of the Cobell settlement in the Senate brings tribal nations and the federal government one step closer to settling this historical injustice,” said Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians. “We urge the House to pass this legislation and send it to the president’s desk for final signature.”

Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the House majority leader, said he hoped a House vote would come “very soon.”

8184: The Madison Avenue Senate.

When the 112th Congress is sworn in this coming January, there will be zero Black U.S. Senators, which inspired MultiCultClassics to create a name for the governmental body: The Madison Avenue Senate.

Look for the elected officials to do the following:

• Insist that Blacks simply aren’t interested in being senators, opting for more lucrative careers in hip hop or the NBA.

• Grumble behind closed doors, “There’s an Afro-American in the Oval Office—what more do these people want?”

• Hire a lame duck Chief Diversity Officer.

Delegate diversity to minority delegates in the U.S. House of Representatives.

• Declare, “We’ve got to do a better job with diversity.” Then do absolutely nothing for at least the next 80 years.

• Complain that all opposition is being orchestrated by Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

• Organize a Congressional Diversity Development Advisory Committee featuring lots of friendly celebrities—except Kanye West.

• Admit in a self-deprecating tone, “Hey, I’m just an Old White Guy.

• Sponsor a special U.S. Senate ADCOLOR® Award.

• Reposition themselves as having a cross-cultural agenda.

• Launch inner-city minority youth outreach programs to woo future candidates—because, doggone it, Blacks aren’t even aware that the U.S. Senate exists.

Friday, November 19, 2010

8183: The Joy Of Six.

The Chicago Sun-Times presented the 6 Black U.S. Senators in history.

Hiram Rhodes Revels, 1870-71, Mississippi

Blanche K. Bruce, 1874-81, Mississippi

Ed Brooke, 1967-79, Massachusetts

Carol Moseley Braun, 1993-1999, Illinois

Barack Obama, 2005-2009, Illinois

Roland Burris, 2009-2010, Illinois

8182: Senate Countdown To Zero.

From The Chicago Sun-Times…

U.S. Sen. Burris: ‘This is simply unacceptable’
THE ZERO EFFECT | Roland Burris is leaving as the only black U.S. senator—and in his farewell speech, he calls this fact ‘troubling’

By Lynn Sweet

There will be no African Americans in the U.S. Senate when he leaves office at the end of the month, a fact outgoing Sen. Roland Burris called “unacceptable” and “troubling” in his farewell speech Thursday.

Burris, the only African American in the Senate, will be replaced Nov. 29 by Rep. Mark Kirk, who won election earlier this month to a six-year term starting next year and also for the several weeks remaining of President Obama’s original Senate term.

Burris delivered his remarks at noon to a nearly empty Senate chamber—at the most there were four senators plus Burris and Senate staffers. The small crowd included an old friend from Illinois, Terrance Gainer, the former director of the Illinois State Police who is now the Senate sergeant at arms.

Burris did not mention the controversy surrounding his appointment by the impeached and now-convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. And while he thanked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate staff down to the waiters, Burris made no mention of Illinois’ senior senator, Dick Durbin. Because of the uproar surrounding his appointment from the tainted Blagojevich, Durbin and Burris never became close.

Durbin was not present for the speech, although he did meet with Kirk to discuss Illinois issues where they could work across the aisle together.

When Burris was done, New Mexico’s two Democratic senators gave him hugs: Tom Udall, who like Burris is a former state attorney general, and Jeff Bingaman. Burris was also embraced by Gainer and Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the Senate.

Burris wore a red tie and red handkerchief for his last Senate speech after more than 22 months in office.

“Throughout 220 years of Senate history and 111 Congresses, only six black Americans have been able to serve,” Burris said. “This is troubling in its own right.”

Of the six, three are from Illinois and Chicago Democrats: former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, Obama and Burris.

“When the 112th Congress is sworn in this coming January, there will not be a single black American who takes the oath of office in this chamber,” Burris said.

“This is simply unacceptable. We can—and we will—and we must do better.

“In this regard, and in any other, our political progress has proven less accessible—and less representative—than it ought to be, and although I have never allowed my race to define me, in a sense, it has meant that my constituency as a United States senator has stretched far beyond the boundaries of Illinois,” he said.

“Letters, e-mails, telephone calls have poured in to my office from black Americans from all across the country. And at times, as I have tried to bring their voices into this chamber, I have acutely felt the absence of any other black person to represent them,” Burris said.

Burris also took aim at the partisanship that has gridlocked the Senate.

“Our government hardly resembles the diverse country it was elected to represent. Partisan bickering has driven moderates out of both parties and made principle compromise more difficult for those who remain.

“Too often, our politics seems to have become a zero-sum game.

“It’s easy for people to feel that the best argument, or the plainest truth, won’t necessarily win the day any more. And such a destructive political environment, people are often left wondering who will speak up for them,” he said.

Burris also urged passage of the controversial “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” legislation to allow gay men and lesbians to openly serve in the military. He said he hopes he can vote for it before he leaves.

He is so in favor of the measure to let soldiers serve no matter their sexual orientation—he just might come back after his term ends, he quipped: “Don’t be surprised if I don’t come back because I’m from Chicago, and I’ll vote twice.”

8181: Big Tobaccoz N The Hood.

From MSNBC.com…

Tobacco lawsuit cites long-ago cigarette giveaways

By Denise Lavoie, AP Legal Affairs Writer

BOSTON—Marie Evans recalled she was 9 years old when she first started getting free cigarettes in the Boston housing project where she lived.

At first, she traded them for candy, but she said she started smoking them herself at age 13. Four decades later, Evans died of lung cancer.

Now, an unusual lawsuit is set to go to trial in Suffolk Superior Court, accusing the maker of those cigarettes — Lorillard Tobacco Co. — of deliberately trying to entice black children to become smokers by handing out free samples in urban neighborhoods.

Opening statements are scheduled Friday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Evans’ son against Lorillard, the nation’s third-largest tobacco company. Willie Evans alleges that the firm used an illegal marketing strategy to get his mother to begin smoking Newport cigarettes, which led to a lifelong addiction.

In 1957, when Marie Evans first began receiving the free samples, Massachusetts law prohibited giving cigarettes to children. The lawsuit alleges that Lorillard broke that law in its zeal to attract new smokers. The giveaways in urban neighborhoods were “designed to attract African-American children and teenagers and to place cigarettes in their hands,” the lawsuit states.

The company’s attorneys say there’s no evidence Lorillard gave Evans cigarettes.

The lawsuit is believed to be the first in the country to accuse a cigarette-maker of targeting black children by giving away cigarettes in urban neighborhoods, said Edward Sweda Jr., senior attorney for the Tobacco Product Liability Project at Boston’s Northeastern University School of Law.

“This case really describes the whole history of one child being exposed to a deliberate marketing campaign of putting an addictive and deadly product into the child’s hands, literally, with the foreseeable result that at some point soon thereafter she would start using that product, get addicted to it, and unfortunately, 40 years later, come down with fatal lung cancer,” Sweda said.

Cigarette giveaways were a common promotional tactic across the industry from the 1950s through the 1980s, Sweda said. The practice became more widespread after cigarette ads were taken off the air in the early 1970s before tailing off in the 1990s, he said, citing Federal Trade Commission data.

Gregg Perry, a spokesman for the Greensboro, N.C., company, said Lorillard would not comment before the trial.

During a court hearing in August, Lorillard’s attorneys said that the family had not presented enough evidence to prove that the company was responsible for Marie Evans’ addiction and the effect it had on her health. Lorillard attorney Andrew McElaney also said there is no evidence to “support the finding that Lorillard Tobacco Co. gave Marie Evans cigarettes.”

In depositions before her death in 2002, Evans recalled getting free sample packs of Newports during giveaways in or near the Orchard Park housing complex in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. She said she received samples from a “Newport van” 25 to 50 times.

“At no time during any of these giveaway events did any Lorillard agent and/or representative refuse to give Marie Evans samples of Newport cigarettes because of her age,” her son’s lawsuit states. “She started smoking Newport cigarettes in part because she had access to them at no cost on a frequent basis through the Newport cigarette giveaway events conducted by Lorillard.”

Read the full story here.

8180: Fir Of Failure?

Not sure why State Farm thinks “Fearless” is pronounced “FIR-les”—maybe it’s an Ebonics thing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

8179: McRib® McAwful McShit.

On a personal note, made the mistake of stopping into Mickey D’s for lunch and ordering a McRib® sandwich. It tasted like a ketchup-soaked sponge. Truly awful.