Proud Sponsors

“Proud Sponsors? …. Nay, Rowdy Sponsors”

My memory, which may be faulty here, is that there is a description of a press conference with some Apollo astronauts in Norman Mailer’s “Of a Fire on the Moon” in which he takes note of a phalanx of microphones, all of them extruding logos such as CBS and NBC. Mailer’s sardonic wit turned proleptic with a simile: he compared them to branding irons. Instantly, its searing truth into the evolution of American corporate culture seemed of an order that very few of my college professors had provided. By now, forty years later, we are so inured to the lariats of rodeo neon twirling around the peripheries of stadiums that we don’t regard it with any incredulity whatsoever.

Given this anesthetized environment in which no objection is possible, where are the corporations now that we face a world health crisis? Don’t they see a marketing opportunity when it’s vomiting right in their faces? They certainly know the predictable: it’s mid-October, 2014, so you can be certain that here we are, in the U.S.A., watching Sunday afternoon football, Sunday night playoff baseball, followed by more of the same on Monday. And wasn’t it just a while ago that we endured an endless calliope of “proud sponsors” at various Olympic games?

Bring it on!

Dyspeptic Cola– Proud Sponsor of the U.S. Ebola Response Team
Poca-Cola – Proud Sponsor of the U.S. Ebola Response Team

Why aren’t the dueling banjos of one-upmanship at play here in being the first to secure sponsorship rights? Maybe the corporations are afraid of a rhyme turning into “shame by association.” If so, I’d recommend that they opt for an acronym:

Dyspeptic Cola – Proud Sponsor of the U.S. ERT
Poca-Cola – Proud Sponsor of the U.S. ERT

The problem is the usual corporate proclivity to act expeditiously only if it generates an immediate spike in the profit column. A few weeks of nothing happening would leave the sponsors open to the feedback of a slightly bulkier acronym. ERT would soon become INERT.

Dyspeptic-Cola – Proud Sponsor
of INERT (Inactive Ebola Response Team)
Poca-Cola – Proud Sponsor
of INERT (Inactive Ebola Response Team)

The above brand names are for purposes of illustration only and are meant to be fictitious entities, not to be associated with any real product sold within capitalist countries or consumed on the sly in such outliers as North Korea. Any similarities to any real products are completely coincidental.

Once again, I suspect that it will be the poets who first respond to the Ebola Epidemic, just as it was the poets who first responded to the Vietnam War, the AIDS crisis, and the invasion of Iraq.

— Bill Mohr