(en) Top NEWSPEAK Stories of the Week #88 (fwd)

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Thu, 30 Oct 1997 23:52:51 +0000

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 22:47:25 -0800 (PST) From: MichaelP <papadop@peak.org> Subject: Top NEWSPEAK Stories of the Week #88 (fwd)

AMERICAN NEWSPEAK. Hoarded at http://www.scn.org/newspeak Celebrating cutting edge advances in the Doublethink of the 90's Written by Wayne Grytting

Major Insurance Savings

Sport utility vehicles have been taking their lumps in the press what with mounting evidence of their tendencies to roll over taking turns and kill all the occupants. This has lead extremists to demand that insurance companies charge higher rates to owners of the larger vehicles to cover the greater damage they cause. But a major firm, State Farm Insurance, has stepped forward to challenge this conventional wisdom. Dale Nelson, a State Farm actuary says the company's own research shows sports utility vehicles do not have higher bodily injury and property damage liability costs. In fact, reports Mr. Nelson, "Sport utility vehicles may actually save insurers money in a few accidents, by killing people who might otherwise have survived with serious injuries. Severe injuries tend to produce larger settlements than deaths." Rumor has it that Jeep Cherokee will receive State Farm's Public Service Award for reducing costly insurance claims. (NYT 10/17)

Help for Our Aluminum Companies

The Bonneville Power Administration has come to the aid of our beleaguered aluminum industry. Alcoa and their friends will receive a $447 million cut in their electric rates over the next four years thanks to the generosity of Northwest taxpayers who were clamoring to pay higher rates themselves. The BPA, which by law is supposed to "fairly apportion" the electricity from the Columbia River's 29 dams, decided on a new policy when faced with threats from aluminum companies to pack up and move. But shouldn't industrial users pay the same as regular ratepayers? If you are asking that question, welcome to the nineties. BPA Administrator Randy Hardy lays it out succinctly. "It may not be fair. I'm not paid to make equity judgments in this job. I'm paid to try to keep the agency financially stable so we can deliver the public benefits.... I don't think it was at all equitable." I guess the moral is that quibblers seeking fairness from their public officials should go buy their own. (Portland Oregonian 9/14)

Avid Magazine Readers

Literary interest has been flowering among the executives of our nation's major chain stores. Big discount centers like Winn-Dixie and Wal-Mart are now demanding advance copies of magazines carried by their stores. Not only do they get the pleasure of reading articles first, they can also protect their customers from unwanted material. For example, the Winn-Dixie chain banned the March issue of Cosmopolitan for a headline about "His and Her Orgasms." Winn-Dixie regularly bans not only questionable photos, but also articles on topics like abortion, homosexuality and religion. Says spokesman G.E. Clerc, Jr., "We would prefer that their publications didn't offend anyone." And at Wal-Mart, manager Teresa Stanton reports, "every other week I pull something off the shelf that I don't think is of Wal-Mart quality." Fortunately, publishers are becoming attuned to difficult concepts like "Wal-Mart quality." The Wall Street Journal reports "Publishers are increasingly anticipating retail chains concerns." So we needn't lose sleep worrying about censorship, right? (WSJ 10/22)

Advertisers Face a Challenge

A shocking research finding was presented at the 88th convention of the Association of National Advertisers devoted to "Branding the Future." Scott Bedberry, a marketing v-p with Starbuck's, told the assembled ad executives that today, "Consumers don't truly believe there's a huge difference between products (!)" How to respond to such traitorous notions? Make significant changes in products? No. The key, says Mr. Bedberry, is to "establish emotional ties" between brands and consumers. Fortunately, this is a mounting trend. Carl Pascarella, CEO of VISA USA, proclaimed the good news that "name-brand products have recaptured the hearts and minds of consumers." Now that we are all breathing a sigh of relief, there is this advice from American Express' John Haynes on how to solidify the all-important brand-customer bond. Using a new definition of the word "dialogue" better fit for the mass media, Haynes tells advertisers to "create and sustain a dialogue with your customer." (NYT 10/20)

A Rise in Nudity

The city council in Laramie, Wyoming, is considering a new ordinance that would expand the definition of the "nudity " to be banned in public places. The first addition will be applauded by all right thinking persons who have ever had to view the posterior of a certain type of beer-bellied construction worker. This part of the ordinance prohibits showing the cleft of the buttocks. But the next section of the original law is a truly important advance that covers a part of male bodies that may be clothed yet exposed. The ordinance defined nudity to include "male genitals in a discernibly turgid state." The law did not spell out the duties of police officers, but we're sure Laramie's finest would have been vigilant in seeking out "discernibly turgid" genitals on males. But alas, that reasonable addition was dropped, probably due to politics. (ACLU Press Release, 10/22)

Special thanks this week to Sara Patton and Maarten Ultee. NEWSPEAK is posted weekly and their is a mailing list for the adventurous at wgrytt@blarg.net.

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