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Posts Tagged ‘PETA’

The Pursuit of Happiness, Michael Vick Style

Posted by Bob Kohm on July 24, 2009

The question of just what the NFL should do with Michael Vick has been hotly pursued in many places lately, not the least of which is my favorite forum website.

One of the fundamental issues I take with those who favor Vick’s being allowed back into the NFL is the concept that Michael Vick has paid his debt to society and thus should be able to pursue reinstatement to the Commissioner. Perhaps I should restate that– I don’t have an issue with Vick having paid his societal debt or asking to be reinstated; I have an issue with the assumption that he should be granted the object of his pursuit simply for having asked after having served his time in Federal prison. Roger Goodell appears this morning to be leaning towards forsaking that duty and allowing Vick back into the league with a short suspension to be serve dat the start of the 2009 season if he signs a contract. It’s a poor decision, if it comes to pass.

Many, many people have pursued a playing career and have failed, from walk-on tryout dreamers to insufficiently talented college players to ultra-talented losers like Art Schlister. Although they failed to succeed in their pursuit for disparate reasons, they all shared one commonality– the NFL rejected them. That’s the major danger in pursuing a career in playing football– there’s only one source of good jobs in the field, and if you do something to make yourself unattractive to that entity, you will fail to make a living playing football.

For an industry as image conscious as professional sports, profiting from the intentional infliction of cruelty upon animals is not something likely to endear you to your single source employer.

Let’s take this out of the realm of the NFL for a moment to illustrate the sole employer problem. Let’s make Mr. Vick an intelligence officer in the employ of the CIA, instead, and have him arrested for the same crime, running and hosting a dog fighting operation. Would the CIA immediately hire him back as he had served his time, paid his debt to society, and asked sweetly to be rehired? The answer, obviously, is of course not. That’s a bit of a problem for Mr. Vick, as the CIA is an intelligence organ of the sole major employer in his field– the government– and the government, for various reasons, is not going to give Mr. Vick another job in his field of expertise no matter how sweetly he asks as he is a felon and could do significant damage to the employer if they took him back. This is almost precisely the same situation he potentially faces in football– he is constrained to seeking work with a limited number of franchises, all under the direct control of a central authority that may well deem Mr. Vick to be deleterious to its image. In short, he could very well be screwed.

Sadly (ahem) for Vick, there’s no other employer to really pursue this career path with.

Second chances are all well and good, but to assume that Vick is owed one or that the NFL should mindlessly take it on the chin to offer him one is a bit naive. There is a real cost to the NFL for letting Vick back in after his conviction on animal cruelty charges; whichever team hires Vick, if any one did, would be subject to protests, potential boycotts, and the continuing bad press both for the club and the league of having to put up with that sort of thing.

Yes, the NFL, MLB, and other leagues have in the past allowed criminals back into their sports despite the cost to the league. In some cases that is warranted, in others it has shown a sorry lack of convictions by the various commissioners and leagues. While people who have committed worse crimes– domestic abuse, assaults, even manslaughter or vehicular homicides– have been allowed back in, that should serve as no guide in this case nor, indeed, in any case. Each situation must be base don the the individual circumstances and potential for damage to the overall entity, not just on the severity of the initial crime. Like it or not, morally wrong or not, what Vick did excites negative public opinion much more than a domestic abuse or drug charge does and that must be a consideration in the NFL’s decision on Vick.

Were I in the Commissioner’s chair, I would view this solely through the prism of business, and that means that damage control is my primary concern. In light of that, there is no way I could countenance the reinstatement of Mr. Vick, societal debt paid or not, and subject the brand identity of the NFL to the damage that allowing this felon back into the league would entail; the duty to protect the brand’s already marred image far outweighs in my mind the questionable compassion of allowing Vick to resume a playing career in the league.

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Posted in Cultural Phenomena, NFL | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

PETA Goes Viral, STD-Style

Posted by Bob Kohm on January 29, 2009

Oh for the love of…

It never fails to amaze me when some hoary old media plan “gets it” and uses our collective stupidity against us to make their add all the buzz on the tubes. Every year at just about this time the world comes down with a nasty case of air-transmissable advertising plague featuring symptoms such as scantily clad women, FCC toe curling suggestivity, and the worst symptom of all– a desire to be run during the Superbowl.

This year’s GoDaddy.com “ban me” candidate is PETA’s “Screw Me With A Broccoli” campaign. In the flagship ad, recently rejected by NBC for Superbowl airing, a cavalcade of lingerie clad women cavort with asparagus and go down on pumpkins before one very brief shot of a totally nude woman apparently enjoying the nubbly end of a broccoli on bits of her anatomy where nubbly bits of broccoli apparently feel rather good.

So just as GoDaddy.com has used fake ads designed to be rejected by the Superbowl network to generate publicity, so too does PETA. And people still fall for this.

And here I am writing about it. I think Socrates said it best when he said, “Gack”.

Now, just for my friend ITC, here is your much asked for link to scantily clad women…

Posted in Jerks, Just Annoying | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

On the Nobility of Crustaceans

Posted by Bob Kohm on January 11, 2009

georgedalobsta1Most would say that I’m a pretty liberal person, at least on social issues (on foreign policy those same might say I’m slightly to the right of Atilla). I believe fervently in civil rights for all, that undocumented immigrants are far more scapegoat than problem, that people are inherently good unless they hail from New England and illogically choose to wear their socks on their hat. I believe that many liberal groups are in the right but that the ACLU isn’t of the left but rather a force for neutrality. Hell, I even think that PETA occasionally has a clue and I’m as carnivorous as they come.

This is not one of those occasions.

Apparently someone dropped a dime to the good folks at PETA to let them know of a travesty occurring at City Crab in Manhattan. Now I’ve eaten at City Crab and can personally attest to the fact that several humanitarian tragedies happen there every day, but this isn’t an entry about the quality of the cooking there. No, this is about a very different situation– the plight of George, the 120 Year Old Lobster.

I think that many people harbor some deep seated guilt about lobsters sitting idly in restaurant tanks, rubber bands on their claws and a date with a vessel of water somewhat less commodious than their display aquarium on the horizon. I always chuckle when my kids insist on paying a visit to the lobster tank at our local supermarket to say “Hi” to the lobsters in the same way they want to stop and say “Hi” to the rescue cats up for adoption at the pet store. Many would like to harbor that illusion; we’re societaly uncomfortable with the concept of meeting the meat.

Enter George, all 20 succulent pounds of him sitting on display at City Crab waiting for that special moment in which he can be truly appreciated by some expense account salesman trying to prove to a client that his company isn’t impacted by the economic downturn. George, as I said, is estimated to be 120 years old– he looked up at some point and saw the last of the wooden-hulled schooners pass overhead into New England’s harbors, he saw the WW II convoys form and the days of the passenger liner come to an end. He has struggled mightily to overcome the pollution of his waters, the rapacious overfishing, global warming– but was ultimately betrayed by hunger and was captured by humans, only to be eaten. It’s a tragedy… or would be if George wasn’t an ocean-going cockroach with the awareness of a brick and the brainpower of kelp.

You see, lobsters are alive by all biological tests– they respire, convert energy, reproduce– but so do dandelions, which seem to be a much cannier species as they have developed defenses to chemical warfare that would be the envy of DARPA. Yes, George is a 120 year old lobster… which I guess some think is worthy of respect? We’re not sticking Great Grandma in a tank and then steaming her up, folks– we’re talking about something more closely related to a scorpion than a cow. George can make a bluefish look like Einstein.

PETA, of course, sees things differently– they’d have us revere George and never eat anything that has a face. Upon being informed of the plight of poor old George (informing George of his plight of course being useless), PETA swung into action and talked the owners of City Crab into “liberating” George and then burned fossil fuels enough to drive him back to Maine, ship him offshore, and dump him back into the Atlantic. 10 out of 10 for style, I suppose, but minus several hundred for logically defending the planet’s resources, eh?

So George, venerable George, can now live out his days at the bottom of his Atlantic home chomping on whatever it is that lobsters chomp upon.

At least, in the end, one boon to humanity has resulted from this whole imbroglio– City Crab will screw up one fewer expensive entree. For that, PETA, I thank you.

Posted in Food, Jerks, Just Annoying, Restaurants | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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