Top NEWSPEAK Stories of the Week #66 (fwd)

MichaelP (papadop@peak.org)
Mon, 14 Apr 1997 16:00:01 -0700 (PDT)


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---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 15:06:54 -0700 (PDT) From: Wayne Grytting <wgrytt@animal.blarg.net> To: "Undisclosed.recipients": ; Subject: Top NEWSPEAK Stories of the Week #66

AMERICAN NEWSPEAK is hoarded at http://www.scn.org/news/newspeak Celebrating cutting edge advances in the exciting field of Doublespeak! Written by Wayne Grytting

A New Leader in Fighting Sweatshops

The Eddie Bauer Co. was honored by the U.S. Department of Labor for their efforts to combat poor working conditions for garment workers. The trendy sportswear chain is now one of 34 companies on the government's "Trendsetter List" of companies battling sweatshop conditions. But somehow left unmentioned by the Labor Department and the media was one small piece of information on just how Eddy Bauer's is able to use American labor and still remain competitive. It seems they provide employment opportunities for prisoners , the same prison labor our State Department criticizes China for using. Prisoners in Washington state have the chance to learn the garment trade through the efforts of Redwood Outdoors, Inc., a major supplier to Eddie Bauer. Prisoners are paid $4.90 an hour minus deductions for room and board, leaving them between $1.80 and $2.80 an hour. Even prisoners in Tennessee get to participate, producing novelty items like rocking horses. Eddie Bauer joins a growing list of elite companies such as Microsoft and AT&T who are availing themselves of the $1.4 billion prison industry. This is "trendsetting" at its best. (Seattle P-I 4/1, Counterpunch 3/15/96)

Upholding Community Standards

A judge in New York has officially ruled that men's breasts are not as erotic as women's. Judge John S. Martin's vital discovery that women's breasts have more sex appeal came in a case challenging the city's 1995 law banning topless bars in residential areas. Attorneys for the Cozy Cabin dancing establishment argued sex discrimination because the law does not bar men from baring their chests even though "male pecs are sexually arousing," according to Psychologist Lenore Tiefer, who pointed to a popular Diet Coke commercial showing women turned on by a shirtless construction worker. But the judge ruled that "if 10 topless women were walking down Park Avenue and 10 topless men were walking down Madison Avenue, the effect on the traffic on Park Avenue would be substantially greater than Madison Avenue.'' Thus the judge established a new community standard for judging obscenity. If it stops traffic on Park Avenue it's obscene... Meanwhile the ruling would seem to leave open the status of topless women who do not stop traffic on Park Avenue. (AP 4/9, WP 4/10)

Bank of America Refuses to "Close"

After 70 years, the Bank of America branch in the small town of Pescadero, California, announced it will be closing it's doors. This is the only bank for the small town of 500 people and its surrounding farming community and the closure means very bad news for the remaining small businesses. You can imagine the relief that swept through the town when the Bank clarified the announcement of a closure. It turns out the Bank of America was not "closing" the branch after all. According to LA Times reporter Mary Curtius, "the bank doesn't use the word 'closing'." Instead, they were "consolidating". As stated by a bank official named Radin, the shutting down of the Pescadero branch (as we'd say in oldspeak) was "part of a 'fine-tuning' process at Bank of America, one that will lead to the consolidation... of 120 branches in California this year." I'm sure people in Pescadero know just where they have been "fine tuned". (LAT 4/10)

More Help for CEO's

Those of you who were out celebrating the news that pay for our CEO's rose a whopping 55% last year may have missed a smaller item about another side of executive compensation -- moving expenses. Newly hired company presidents often face tremendous expenses moving their families from one city to another. That is why they are given relocation expenses. For example, new Banker Trust CEO Frank Newman was given $1.1 million to cover expenses in moving from Washington DC to New York while Times Mirror CEO Mark Whiles was paid a "housing differential allowance" of $871,855 to cover the difference in housing costs between Minneapolis and Los Angeles. These payments have the advantage, says the Wall Street Journal, of "pumping up CEO pay without ballooning the highly visible salary." But the expense is all worthwhile, declares Sears VP Bernard Brosky, because "Making their lives pleasant and giving them what they want is a necessary situation." Words of wisdom. (WSJ 4/7)

Soul Marketing

American Demographics magazine proudly reports on a growing trend among successful churches of relying on marketing tools. The "Church Growth " movement, founded by Donald McGavran, holds that increasing church size is not just a result of spreading goodwill, but of the intelligent use of commercial marketing. Says the magazine, " Terms like 'market segment, 'niche,' and 'satisfied customer' trip easily off their tongues." Church planners, like the Methodists' Jack Heacock, use demographic research to "reach the largest market segment," while Mormon planner Kristen Goodman uses it to tap the fruitful "marriage markets." A model of this approach is the 2nd Baptist Church which has grown to 20,000 members thanks to its health club, singles group and a "vigorous entertainment schedule" designed with help from Walt Disney. Sadly, churches still confront pockets of people who decry the use of sales tools, described by Pasedena futurist, Joe Webb, as the "reactionaries." After all, what more could you want than "satisfied customers"? (AD 3/97)

Special Thanks to Don "Dante" Tenenbaum. NEWSPEAK is inflicted weekly.

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