We're from Minnesota. We're here for your women. Plus: the skyway effect, the agony of defeat at Crashed Ice, a deadly 'whoops' in Chicago, and a toilet-paper-folding record.
Posted at 11:44 AM on January 13, 2012
by Paul Tosto
North Dakota, I sympathize with your tourism anguish. I come from a state where "Better Yet Connecticut" was the best we could come up with to draw tourists away from New York and Boston. Might as well have made it: "Connecticut: Hey, we're over here!"
Yes, that North Dakota "Legendary" ad with the two goofy guys leering through the bar window at three giggling women -- "Drinks, dinner, decisions" -- was a bit creepy.
But a quick Googling turns up some tourism campaigns nearly as tone deaf. My favorites:
Toronto: We don't stink anymore! Hoping to draw crowds after a 2009 garbage strike, city promoters wanted to let tourists know that the city was not a cesspool, so they tried: Toronto Never Smelled So Good.
Rhode Island is for...people who like anthropomorphic food. The state that spawned toy giant Hasbro hoped to leverage that corporate mirth in 1999 when it declared Hasbro's Mr. Potato Head the state's official "ambassador" of fun.
The thing is Rhode Island is not the first state that comes to mind when you think, "potato."
The effort led to public art (think Peanuts statues in St. Paul) that seemed like a good idea until one of the potato heads was deemed racially insensitive.
Where are you, you idiot? Australians dig their edgy vibe. So it's natural that ads to promote the wonders of their nation and the earthiness of their people would be a little salty.
"Shrimp on the barbie" started to sound a little stuffy, so in 2006, Australia unveiled a new ad packed with beautiful people saying stuff like, "We saved you a spot on the beach," and "We bought you a beer."
The tag line, though, caused much squirming: "Where the bloody hell are you?"
North Dakota seems like Victorian England by comparison!
What's the worst tourism promotion you've seen?(3 Comments)
Posted at 10:20 AM on January 13, 2012
by Michael Olson
Filed under: Tech
I remember being rather excited when Facebook authorization came along. I wasn't alone in thinking that if people have to use their Facebook accounts to make comments on blogs and news stories they would naturally be better behaved because they wouldn't want to look like a fool in front of their 500 closest friends and family members. It wasn't the panacea many had hoped for. Ultimately jerks are jerks.
ReadWriteWeb unearthed a study from the University of Texas Psychology Department that puts some meat on this feeling. Researchers found that the way people behave on Facebook mirrors how they are in real life.
"The study determined that online social networks are not an escape from reality, but rather a microcosm of peoples' larger social worlds and an extension of offline behaviors," writes RWW's Alicia Eler.
Professor Samuel D. Gosling and his team focused on the Big Five personality traits that include openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
Two separate stories in the news today link teenagers and cooked meat. Has that ever happened before?
First, the Associated Press reports, teenagers in South Dakota are being taught how to cook -- and develop a taste for -- bison:
One of more than 30 students from the Flandreau Indian School to take part in cooking workshops with bison as the main ingredient, Blackbird said he now knows how to whip up his own dishes with bison, which has less fat and fewer calories than beef.
"I make basic stuff: tacos, enchiladas, spaghetti, lasagna," Blackbird said.
SDSU researchers want other teenagers to follow Blackbird's lead, creating a market within the tribe for the next 40 to 50 years and changing the way members think about the animal.
The second unrelated story, however, offers this warning: Don't make bison kabobs, or any other kabob, apparently.
NPR's food blog is carrying the story of 29 teenagers in Minnesota, who got sick after they hunted, processed and cooked white-tailed deer, as part of an an outdoor recreation and environmental science class. The problem? They made kabobs:
Unusual as this tale sounds, it carries a food safety lesson for those of us who have not once butchered a deer for homework. The epidemiologists who investigated the outbreak think the teens may have been more likely to be infected with E. coli because they cooked the venison as kabobs.
"One of the risk factors was consuming undercooked meat, or if they reported the interior of the venison kabob being pink," Josh Rounds, an epidemiologist who investigated the outbreak for the Minnesota Department of Health, told The Salt. "We theorize that piercing the meat with the kabob skewer would be a way to introduce bacteria from the exterior of the meat to the interior."
The incident happened last November, but is being reported as a case study this month in a medical journal.
Richard Threlkeld was killed in a car crash in New York this morning. A few people -- news junkies, mostly -- will recognize him as a former network news correspondent for CBS and ABC News. He cut his journalistic teeth as a TV reporter in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
More than likely, though, few people will remember that it was Threlkeld who made fact-checking political candidates a standard of network news. He started doing so with the famous Dukakis "tank" ad in the 1988 presidential election.
Very little of the ad was actually true, Threlkeld pointed out in a piece that took the assertions apart one by one. But it didn't matter, because it was enough that Dukakis simply looked silly,.
Threlkeld and journalism expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson discussed the technique during a seminar at Jamieson's Annenberg School for Communications in 1992. You can find a copy of the presentation here and it's worth watching again.
During it, he lamented his company's definition of balance: that if he found falsehoods in a campaign ad for then (vice) president George Bush, he had to find falsehoods in challenger Mike Dukakis. "The problem ... you always want to find two sides of a story. In this case there was only one side of the story, and I was unsuccessful in convincing them that sometimes there's only one side of a story."
Coincidentally, Threlkeld's death came on the same day that the New York Times, which sees itself as the defining standard of journalism, caused a ruckus in the journalism community by asking whether it's OK in 2012 to point out the falsehoods of political candidates.
Also coincidentally, his death came the week that his former company, CBS, launched a new morning TV news show that it claimed -- mostly, incorrectly -- would put the "news back in morning news shows." He and Leslie Stahl were the anchors of the CBS morning news show from 1977 to 1979. It tanked in the ratings.(2 Comments)
Of the many stories percolating in NewsCutland this week, the one that never seemed to make much of a blip outside of Hollywood and a few others places was filmmaker George Lucas' revelation that Hollywood was skittish about his Red Tails film project because (a) it's a mostly black cast and (b) there's not a foreign market for it.
"It's one of the first-all black action pictures ever made," Lucas told Jon Stewart this week.
Lucas might be playing it straight, or he might be a genius businessman, reminding the country that anyone interested in civil rights and equal acting opportunity, should drop what they're doing and buy a ticket to his film, even if people don't like action movies.
That puts people in a bad spot because the film might not be very good, and who's deserving of movie charity?
The website Shadow and Act calls it a likely "castor oil movie."
The simple fact, and I've said this several times before, is that NO ONE sees a film out of duty or obligation. People see a movie because they WANT to.
People went in droves to see The Devil Inside last weekend despite horrible word of mouth and terrible reviews because they wanted to.
When Tambay asked a few weeks ago what films people were most anxious to see in 2012, films like The Hunger Games, Django Unchanged, Prometheus and The Hobbit were named by all the commenters. I can't really recall anyone saying Red Tails.
And from what I've always seen, even the most ardent "castor oil" supporters encouraging people to go out and see the films never even watch the films themselves. They always seem to find some sort of excuse.
Lucas hints that if the movie flops, black actors not named Cuba Gooding Jr., might never get another shot in Hollywood.
Writing on his Facebook page this week, Kemp Powers, a senior news producer at Yahoo!, takes the Lucas interview with Stewart apart, and finds plenty of evidence that it's simply a bad film:
The most annoying part of the entire interview is when Lucas calls the film "one of the first all-black action films ever made." Even Jon Stewart seemed genuinely surprised when he made this assertion. That's probably because it was simply false, and it shows that Lucas doesn't watch movies that have black casts. Did Ice-T and Wesley Snipes duking it out in "New Jack City" back in 1991 simply pass over his head? How about Reggie Rock Bythewood's "Biker Boyz"? "Rosewood"? "Black Dynamite"?? Did Spike Lee's "Miracle at St. Ana" (which I didn't like) not count? Or the Ice-Cube/Sam Jackson actioner "xXx: State of the Union," because it was a flop? And what about the increasing number of impressive films being made outside of the Hollywood studio system starring all-black casts? Brazil's "City of God." Zaire's "Viva Riva!" Was "I Am Legend" a black action film, since Will Smith was the only human being in three-quarters of the movie? I don't know the answer to this question, because what really even constitutes a "black" film is open to debate. And while I'm sure many would love to just accept any extra admitted oppression a benevolent billionaire is willing to admit to, the reality is that black people inside and outside of Hollywood have been getting some things done. And as any person of any race in Hollywood can tell you, getting any little thing done in this town is a big deal. Times are still tough, but don't dismiss those achievements as nonexistent.
I hope my ranting doesn't come across as sour grapes. As I said at the start, I am going to see "Red Tails." On opening night. It's what I do for most black films not directed by Tyler Perry, regardless of the positive or negative buzz. I saw "Bamboozled" on opening night in a theater with no more than 12 people total, and was proud to do so. The makers of "Red Tails" have my support already. However, my support is not enough, and I can't in good conscious champion to anyone who isn't black what seems to be nothing more than a derivative, cut-rate, effects-driven action film. I hope with all of my heart that it surprises me and defies my every expectation. And if it is a great film, I hope the word of mouth will help the film generate some success. But that success will have to be despite the fact that everything about the trailer, marketing and promotion of the film points to another case of cinematic mediocrity being sold to an audience that feels guilted into rather than genuinely excited about seeing it. You don't sell action films to a wide audience based on moral obligation. And if it really is important, we deserve better. I should be excited to visit the cinema on the 20th, not grudgingly shelling out my money with the same disdain as when I took my son to see "Garfield." And I definitely shouldn't be wondering how much fun the audience watching "Haywire" in the next theater is having.
Kemp, an African American, says "you don't sell an action movie to a wide audience based on moral obligation."(5 Comments)