Two cents on the latest PR stunt from OSU

Posted October 4, 2010 by Dennis
Categories: Uncategorized

Last week, there was a 3-months in the making flash mob on the MU Quad at OSU:

While the title music from the Bollywood film “Salaam-E-Ishq” boomed through the air, first one, and then another dancer stepped out of the crowd to join in the energetic choreography.

In all, more than 70 Oregon State University students and staff — co-conspirators in the surprise event, which had been months in the making — shed jackets and sweatshirts to reveal bright orange T-shirts and join in the synchronized dance moves.

Except that, you know, an event three months in the making and run by an intern who is working for OSU University Marketing and planned the event as part of OSU’s multi-year Powered by Orange campaign isn’t a flash mob.  It’s a PR stunt.  One GT commenter says as much:

But this wasn’t a flash mob — this was a PR stunt, months in the making, with details planned right down to having photographers and video cameras. Planned buy the folks who are charged with using social “new media” to advance the OSU brand and make folks feel good about being on campus.

A second commenter disagrees about the motivation of the person who organized things:

I feel that you’re being disrespectful to her in suggesting that she had an agenda beyond that of bringing together a diverse group of people to share in her love of dance.

Unfortunately, the most charitable explanation I think is viable is that even if her intention was pure – and frankly, as an intern at OSU Marketing, I have trouble believing that – it just means that the organizer of the event was used by OSU’s Powered by Orange campaign to advance the university’s image.  After all, flash mobs don’t usually happen with such buy-in from on high – and nor do they result in everyone wearing a T-shirt made just for the event.

This actually reminds me a bit of coolhunting, which is not a good thing.  I know a few people involved in this PR stunt, and they don’t seem to realize that one more activity that could have been filed under ‘play’ has now been subsumed under the Society of the Spectacle.  The lack of critical thinking/awareness is really depressing.


Blast from the Past: Hering Writes a Shitty Editorial and I Get Annoyed

Posted July 19, 2010 by Dennis
Categories: Hasso Hering

I’ve long wondered what it would take for the Gazette-Times to stop printing material from nearby Democrat-Herald Editor Hasso Hering.  Given his latest, I suspect the answer is ‘nothing.’  Hering:

“Plastic trash is said to be accumulating in the oceans, causing trouble for fish and other creatures. So it’s easy to have sympathy for banning especially those flimsy bags, which supposedly blow around in the wind and end up in the water.”

Hering uses the phrase “is said” to imply that someone – someone unknown – says this is true but it might not be; however, five seconds of research will make it clear that there is a lot of plastic trash in the ocean.  As one of the commenter suggests, maybe Hering should do some basic research.  Hering’s attempt to cast doubt on the existence of the patch is, well, about as assholish as he usually is, and sort of cheap besides; any semblance of charity would have included some kind of sourcing for that claim.

Hering, again:

“But just as serious as those hazards — in a different vein and in the long run — is government meddling in how people live and what they must and must not do.”

Nope.  Not even close.  Government meddling in peoples’ lives?  Terrible.  Terrible, I say!  People destroying the planet’s ecosystem?  Infinitely worse, since without an ecosystem there will be no place for people to gather and form that meddlesome government in the first place.

It’s almost like Hering doesn’t think people should have to cooperate at all, despite living in relatively close proximity and sharing a rather limited pool of resources.  Must be nice to live in such a fantasy world.  Hering:

“Maybe they will want stores to start selling milk in bulk so we can quit losing sleep over all those containers of plastic or coated cardboard.”

Or maybe they’ll just sell milk in recyclable and reusable glass containers, like some companies do now.  Come on. Was this editorial written by a fucking moron? [Don’t answer that. – Ed.]

“…nobody would have believed that early in the 21st century a state government would consider passing a law that governs how you carry your groceries home.”

Nobody?  I bet there are more than a thousand people in Corvallis who would believe that, and for good reason, too.  Here, Hering makes the mistake of assuming that just because he didn’t think of something, no one else would either.  What arrogance – to say nothing of the fact that a ban on plastic bags doesn’t dictate how you carry them home, unless such a ban included outlawing owning plastic bags.  If he’s so attached to them, he could just get his groceries to his car, then transfer them to plastic bags.  Otherwise maybe he should stick to making claims that are relevant to the point he’s trying to make.  Hering:

“How about this: You go in for a pound of cherries, but there’s no bag to put them in? Do they want you to carry them to the check stand in your cupped hands, then put them on the conveyor belt one by one or in a heap?  They’re not talking about banning those kind of plastic bags now. But who knows what’s next?”

This is a textbook example of a slippery slope argument.  Hering brings up an unrelated point for which there is no evidence and tries to shoehorn it into the topic he’s talking about.  Sorry, but like the glass containers, what if people used recyclable cardboard to carry fruit – you know, like many of us do now?

“But going to a store and expecting to get a bag in which to carry out your purchases — that ranks pretty low on the scale of consumer foolishness. Merchants have been wrapping up people’s purchases for a hundred years or more. It is not a crime against nature to rely on that traditional service that commerce provides.”

Let’s see – is it possible that bags are a hidden cost?  That stores already charge consumers for them?  Sure it is.  So we can still expect to get a bag to carry purchases, but the cost could now be separated out from the items we put in the bag.  In fact, I can imagine an editorial in which Hering clamors for exactly this kind of transparency in costs, as it’s good for the consumer.  Oh, and it might not be a crime against nature to want one’s goods bagged, but insofar as crimes against nature exist, creating patches of garbage in the ocean that measure in the hundreds of square miles kind of counts, y’know?

I swear, the Gazette-Times must think their readers are idiots.  Well, that or they’re trying to make us that way by printing this dreck.

The Gulf

Posted June 4, 2010 by Dennis
Categories: Uncategorized

From’s The Big Picture.

I recently posted on Facebook that I’ve picked a career:  That I want someone to pay me to document and explain the fall of the American Empire.

I wasn’t really joking.

New Blog about the LCSD?

Posted April 22, 2010 by Dennis
Categories: Uncategorized


A comment on this post points me to this story in the Express, and in the comments section I find this link:

I find it appalling that there is even a single member on this board who would not only consider Mr. Martin’s behavior to be acceptable, but would actively encourage it. In order to ensure a functional society, we have a system of rules in place which are designed to encourage civil, polite discourse and to allow that every voice is heard. In my opinion, to see board members actively encourage members of the community to participate in bullying behavior and act outside of established school board procedures is an ethical violation of the highest order.

That’s regarding the Christmas program kerfluffle at Pioneer.  I’ve got to say that I think Tim’s got a point:  How the community handled it created a really unwelcome environment for non-Christian students and their families.  At the least, Martin, as a school board member, should know better than to condone that, at least in public.

Also, does this mean we have a new LCSD blogger in town?

Earlier school day for LHS students?

Posted April 15, 2010 by Dennis
Categories: Uncategorized


From the Lebanon Express:

Lebanon High School will start earlier — 35 minutes earlier — and get out earlier, running 7:40 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. next year rather than 8:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.

As soon as I read this I got confused, because there’s been research in the news recently suggesting that earlier start times are not actually good for high school students.  And lo, someone else is on the ball:

But a movement is afoot in protest of the earlier start time for the high school.

Sophomore Misa Smith started the Facebook fan page “Stop LHS from starting early!” The page has 87 members.

I would love to hear from Rob Hess and Bo Yates why they are pushing for an earlier start time, given the tendency for teens to have sleep cycles that run later.  And I assume both are well beyond the “it’s better for them to grow up!” rhetoric, since the evidence suggests otherwise.   At least I hope they are – I expect to hear that from commenters and some parents, but not LCSD officials.

Also, the FB page is now over 100 members.

What’s up with Sansom?

Posted April 3, 2010 by Dennis
Categories: Uncategorized

The Lebanon Express had a story recently on all the administrator changes going on in the LCSD (yes, I am still sort of following everything…..).  From the story:

Seven Oak Middle School principal Ed Sansom said he put in a request for transfer to the high school “some time ago.”

“We’ve done a pretty good job at Seven Oak,” Sansom said. “Having worked with Bo Yates, it will be a good transition to provide a quality curriculum.”

Sansom said he would try and help create a seamless transition from sixth through 12th grades.

Sansom has worked as principal of Seven Oak for seven years, the longest he’s stayed in one building for his entire career, he said.

I laughed a little when I heard this, because Yates used to work for Sansom and now the situation is reversed.  The transfer also raises the question of why the LCSD is keeping Sansom on at all, since from what I hear, he’s not fit the district very well.

When I read the story, I also looked up administrator licensure info for the people who are moving.  One thing, again about Sansom, caught my eye:  There is activity on his account pending March 15th, 2010.  That means he’s applying for a license…. or that someone has filed a complaint against him.  Given his recent past in the LCSD, I dug a tiny bit and found that yes, there are rumors that there’s a pending complaint against Sansom.

If this is true, then it raises a question of why he’s being transferred becomes even more interesting.  Paging the Lebanon Express.

Editorial Cartoon on the LCSD School Board

Posted March 11, 2010 by Dennis
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

From the LE’s Jeff Smith (click to embiggen):

Jeff is awesome.  All hail Jeff!