Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Against the Nintendo Wii: Back to the Primordial Ooze (Bah! Humbug!)

Despite my protests, Auntie Shalee gave my children a Nintendo Wii for Christmas this year.

I don't like it.

Yes, it is cool that you can swing the remote like a bat and break the vase on the coffee table. And yes, Wii tennis is kind of nifty if you don't mind moving all your furniture out of the way before you play.

But it is a huge evolutionary step backwards.

Opposable thumbs were one of the major factors that allowed humans to gain an advantage over their thumbless relatives (or so I learned in second grade). And while Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's X-Box have allowed us to exploit and develop this evolutionary advantage, the Wii represents a step back to our primitive, club wielding days...

And so this Christmas time I say let us maintain our evolutionary advantage and stick to our thumbs.

Plus, I do not want to have to leave the couch when I'm in front of the TV.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Tiger Woods Improves Corporate Image

After it was discovered that Tiger Woods had engaged in numerous extra-marital affairs, his once loyal sponsors began dropping him or at least reducing his visibility with their companies. His sponsoring corporations apparently hold to this mantra: Bad morals do not a good spokesman make. Here is a brief run down of Woods' highly ethical sponsors:

Accenture has dropped Woods; a company with a record of "corrupt business practices" in its middle eastern offices and a company that was once part of Arthur Andersen (the company that did Enron's books). Cutting ties has worked for them before...

PepsiCo, the parent company of Gatorade has announced it will no longer pursue a line of drinks for which Woods was to be the primary spokesperson (they contend the decision was made before the recent revelations about Woods' personal life came to light... sure...). This from a company who lobbied congress to kill scientifically based guidelines on healthy eating because they would rather see obesity, diabetes, and corresponding mortality rates climb than hurt their bottom line.

AT&T is "reevaluating" their relationship with the world's #1 golfer. This company is worried about how it will look to have a philanderer among their shills. They were less concerned about the right thing when it came to illegally eavesdropping on their customers' conversations and unethically routing all their customers' emails through government servers.

Tag Heuer has decided to keep Woods but will downgrade his status. Not suprising since Tag Heuer's parent compnay, LVMH, was downgraded all the way off "the FTSE4Good index earlier this year as a result of poor compliance with supply chain requirements" (this is code that typically means LVMH have sub-contractors do manufacturing and these sub-contractors do not pay their employees a living wage; see also: sweatshops).

Of course we can accuse Woods of hypocrisy and hold him up as a symbol of the last decade where superficial morality passed as substance. But Woods did little more than convey the "squeaky clean" image his sponsors themselves attempt to communicate. Their hypocrisy should be the focus of our attention. But instead Tiger's personal infidelity has become a convenient scapegoat for corporate corruption.

The recent revelations about Woods' behavior instead suggest he is a better mirror of his corporate partners than was thought.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sporting Academics?

I received the following from Alf:

Dear Corry,

I am preparing a proposal for improving the academic component within a major sports academy. I should like to be able to point to men and women who have not only been to the pinnacle of achievement in their sports, but are also very strong academics – professors (Neils Bohr, Atomic physicist played football for Denmark), lawyers, doctors (example, Ken Dryden, goalie, Montreal Canadiens NHL team), scientists, etc., etc. There must be many.

I cannot find a compilation, likely because one doesn’t exist. Can you help?

Can any of you help add to Alf's list?