April 13, 2010

The Slaughter-Housed Five


MadAve Zeitgeist: In light of today's news, we call attention to the brilliant current Coke Zero campaign theme which suggests that, "The company's executives were so angry over the drinks' similarities they are considering suing their coworkers for "taste infringement". It features company executives talking to actual lawyers who were not let in on the conceit, and solicited customers as possible plaintiffs"! [according to Wikipedia].

It is an outstanding achievement in branding a relatively new product with contemporary cultural overtones, produced in a break-through and humorous way! It popped into our minds over coffee for two reasons:

A. The heady lines from today's headlines as reported in FT, NYT and WSJ about the five stories which relate to the "taste infringement" conceited on us from several individuals... one is well-known, especially in the morning!

B. How all this punctuated the news that Mr. Kurt Vonnegut passed away.


5. Financial Times: Pressure Grows on Wolfowitz to Resign.
Paul Wolfowitz came under pressure to resign as president of the World Bank [no less] yesterday after admitting that he was personally involved in securing a large pay rise and promotion for a bank official with whom he was romantically involved (As info: Mr. Wolfowitz was the primary propeller and architect of the White House's policy to invade Iraq, which "celebrated" its 4-year anniversary this week).


4. New York Times: College Administrator Is Put on Leave Amid Inquiry on Ties to Lenders
Walter C. Cathie, a vice president at Widener University, spent years working his way up the ranks of various colleges and forging a reputation as a nationally known financial aid administrator. Then he made a business out of it.


3. SHOULD BE FIRED/SENT TO JAIL: Wall Street Journal: Did Revolving Door Lead To Student Loan Mess?
Excerpts: Despite the inspector general's report, the Education Department announced this past January that it would let Nelnet keep the bonanza [$278 million], though not future payments. ...the settlement was in "the best interests of taxpayers and students" because seeking repayment could have jeopardized a source of aid in some markets.


2. Financial Times: Dow Fires Executives Over Talks on "Deal".
Dow Chemical fired two high-level employees for holding "unauthorized" discussions about a purchase of the $44bn industrial group, highlighting the conflicts emerging within companies emerging within companies amid the private equity buy-out boom.


1. REPORTED BY All THREE: This version from WSJ.com:
CBS canceled the "Imus in the Morning Show" amid an escalating outcry over his remark about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Watchdogs, blogs and emails helped spur the firing.


Counterculture Nihilist

New York Times: Kurt Vonnegut, Counterculture's Novelist, Dies.
His novels became classics of the American counterculture. Called "Counterculture's Novelist", one must consider that anybody who is counter to today's culture is someone who will surely be missed.


New York Times: ...Like Mark Twain, Mr. Vonnegut used humor to tackle the basic questions of human existence: "Why are we in this world? Is there a presiding figure to make sense of all this, a god who in the end, despite making people suffer, wishes them well"....


IMDB: A memorable quote from the Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) advertisement of main character Billy Pilgrim: "And so it goes".

God bless you Mr Vonnegut.

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