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Celebrating cutting edge advances in the Doublethink of the 90's
Written by Wayne Grytting #111

War of the Week

NATO admitted to having mistakenly bombed "a civilian vehicle" after Serbian television broadcast film of civilian corpses amidst burnt out tractors (plural). Sixty-four refugees reportedly died when a convoy of what appeared to be about 100 cars and tractors was bombed. NATO spokesman General Giuseppe Moroni made a crucial advance in military logic when he announced he could not account for the Serbian video. " I understand that tractors were filmed," he said. "Nevertheless, what I want to say is that when the pilot attacked the vehicles they were military vehicles. If they turned out to be tractors, that is a different issue." Obviously the responsibility of a another department. General Moroni (that's spelled with an "i") did not say if Divine Intervention was involved in this sudden conversion, but at a minimum it would appear we have a new criteria for what constitutes military targets. (Reuters 4/15/99)

Friendly Firearms

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has launched an ad campaign to get Americans to think of guns as sporting equipment. Doug Painter, of the ad firm Porter Novelli, points out that for many urban Americans, guns are associated with "crime and violence as opposed to hunting and skeet shooting." (I was shocked to find among the inner city youth I surveyed, not only an ignorance of skeet shooting, but of polo and cricket as well). To correct this abysmal lack of knowledge, the NSSF has come up with a thought provoking slogan to explain why guns are so safe when used properly. Shown in its ad against the backdrop of a Ruger shotgun are the words "The very fact that it can be dangerous is what makes it safe." Great slogan. We can only wonder if this will be extended to help promote other seemingly dangerous activities like doing heroin, jumping from 20 story buildings or wrestling rattlesnakes. (WSJ 4/5/99)

Help Wanted

The State of Florida has officially been advertising for exotic dancers thanks to the dedication of some often maligned state bureaucrats. Recently the pages of the Palm Beach Post were graced with a call for "Exotic Dancer 40 hours per week. Send resume to Department of Labor/Bureau of Workforce Program Support." The ads appeared because the state faithfully followed the regulations of the U.S. Alien Labor Certification Program after a club owner in the town of Stuart complained he could not find local dancers and wanted to import foreign talent. Federal regulations required Florida to determine there are no qualified applicants in-state before looking abroad. For those of you interested in the position, the state says the job entails performing "modern and acrobatic dances, coordinating body movements to musical accompaniment." To maintain Florida's high standards, they also require four years experience. (Reuters 4/15/99)

Power to the Little People

Public school districts are discovering they can raise money not only by accepting corporate sponsors, but also by offering their pupils up for market research. Children are being given the opportunity in numerous schools to participate in taste tests on cereals and focus groups right in their own classrooms. Robert Reynolds, president of Education Market Resources, says "the education marketplace" (formerly known as schools in Oldspeak) "offers tremendous potential to sell products, and to gain access to the youth market." In return, students lives are enriched by the addition of another "educational process" to their curriculum. Mr. Reynolds explains that "Kids these days love the feeling of empowerment, and we are empowering them, but we are doing it in a proper way." So be careful when driving to avoid hitting any children newly empowered by their choice of Kellog's sugar over Post's. (NYT 4/5)

New Ad Space

Video production engineers have finally solved a problem that has plagued the broadcasting of old reruns on TV. Classic shows like I Love Lucy, Gilligan's Island or All in the Family were produced before advertisers had mastered the art of product placement. This means that valuable film footage on TV is being commercially wasted. Now engineers for companies like Princeton Video and DeWitt Media can insert brand name beer cans and potato chip packages into old shows and even give them the look of the original production. This exciting advance has raised concerns about a possible backlash by consumers to obvious commercials wandering into the programs. That's why Gene DeWitt, chairman of DeWitt Media, adds a cautionary note: "I'm big on exploitation," he says (aren't we all), "but not to the point where it is self defeating." Maybe someday in a better world, we'll be ready for the real thing. (NYT 4/6/99)

Special thanks to Tony Thomas and Cynthia Bock-Goodner for spotting quality Newspeak. If you'd like to send in some or subscribe to the mailing list, e-mail