January 21, 2005

FOUR FOR FRIDAY

Q1: Last week's published pictures of England's Prince Harry wearing a Nazi uniform at a costume party caused outrage around the world. In the days and weeks following the uproar, a poll published in a London newspaper showed that while 70 percent of those interviewed thought Harry was wrong to sport the uniform and accompanying swastika armband, more than half of those between the ages of 18 and 24 said the choice of outfit was acceptable. What's your take on all of this? Was young Harry in the wrong on this one or do you feel the outrage reported in the media was blown out of proportion? If you were offended, upset, or disappointed by Harry's choice of costume, would your opinion change if you learned that for thousands of years Hindus from across the world have regarded the swastika as a highly-sacred sign of wisdom?

Q2: In a move that many see as an admission that marketers do share blame for the childhood obesity epidemic in the U.S., Kraft Foods last week announced that it would stop advertising snacks such as Oreo cookies and Kool-Aid, and instead shift its advertising budget to new lines of healthier "Sensible Solution" food products for children. Many food industry observers fear that Kraft's strategy bolsters the position of consumer advocates who favor a ban on the business of marketing junk food to children. How long do you think Kraft's new childhood obesity-sensitive advertising strategy will last, and how do you feel about vending machines placed in schools that dole out candy and soda?

Q3: Assuming you've never done any of the following, which would you pick to do this winter if forced to pick one: Learn to ice fish and spend a week with anyone you wanted doing so? Travel with anyone of your choosing to the town of Jukkasjarn, in northern Sweden, for a week's stay at the Ice Hotel, a palatial facility built each winter entirely out of ice? Or, attend a fantasy figure skating camp which culminated in your mandatory participating in a public performance in front 1,000 people, some of whom you know and work with?

Q4: Much has been made over the last month or so about the $40-$50 million price-tag for yesterday's Presidential Inauguration here in the U.S., paid almost entirely from non-governmental sources, i.e., private donations. Former Enron executive, Rich Kinder and his wife Nancy, donated $250,000 to the inauguration, while Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens--who put $2.5 million of his own money behind the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads that ran during the 2004 election--also donated $250,000 to the inaugural event. On the corporate side of the equation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Goldman Sachs, Sallie Mae, Time Warner, SBC, Home Depot, Northrop Grumman, the National Association of Realtors, Morgan Stanley's PAC, Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, Bank of America, BlueCross BlueShield of Florida, and Cisco Systems, just to name a few, each donated $100,000 or more. How do you feel about the amount of private money raised and spent on these inaugural events?

Posted by Mikal at January 21, 2005 12:15 AM | TrackBack


Comments:

Q1: In my opinion wearing the Nazi uniform was in very poor taste, especially for a prince. Young Harry is old enough to have read about the extermination of the 6 million or so Jews in death camps, the starvation and torture in the concentration camps, all in the name of biological cleansing. His choice of costume was no more appropriate than if he had donned a KKK robe and carried a burning cross.

Q2: Vending machines in schools, are one of the biggest reasons why childhood obesity is so prevalent today. When we were young, we did not have the luxury of grabbing a candy bar and coke between classes. Kraft is trying to do the right thing by pulling their commercials, but as long as all of this junk is still on the store shelves, there will be stupid parents who buy it for the children. And now that video game sports are more popular than physically going outside and playing said sport, we are creating a society of obese adults with a magnitude of health problems.

Q3: I would travel to the town of Jukkasjarn, in northern Sweden, for a week's stay at the Ice Hotel, and snuggle on the fur rug in front of the fireplace with my honey, drinking lots of hot chocolate and trying not to freeze to death.

Q4: The dude has earned the party, lets cut him some slack already. He will be out in 4 years and then the Democrats can come back in and do the same exact thing with their "private donations" from their big money supporters.

Posted by: at January 21, 2005 8:12 AM

1. Ironically, the Swastika is the oldest emblem in the world today. It is actually comprised of 4 L's. Together they mean Love, Light, Luck, and Life. It has a been used in many forms by ancient Rome, Buddhists, Chinese, and the Indian tribes (N. America) used it to drive away evil forces. It is unfortunate that this beautiful symbol has been stripped of all good by one monster alone. Since the late 1930's, the Swastika will never carry it's true meaning. It will always be a symbol of the holicaust. I doubt the Price was wearing it for its former meaning because he specifically chose to wear Hitler's armband. He is a representative of his country and therefore should be respectful of the battles and all the lives lost because of what that armband means. To wear the actual historical emblem of the Swastika is VERY different to wearing Hitler's arm band. Therefore, the Price was wrong.
2.I think this is a positive move in the right direction for Kraft. I highly recommend reading "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser. It really touches this subject and gives great insight of the history of Junk Food.
3. Ugh, Mikal!! I absolutely HATE the cold! However, since I love to travel, I would pick Sweden.
4.This is donated money...not tax payers. People have the right to chose how to spend money. Don't even try to say the Democrats wouldn't do the same thing....

Posted by: Christina at January 21, 2005 8:59 AM

1. Since I'm in that age group, I can sort of understand why he did it--after all young people do stupid things all the time due to the fact that they don't have any experience and often have poor judgement. There is also the fact that older people are more sensitive to this issue because they actually lived through it. And, he should have definitely rethought his actions because he *knows* he's a high profile person and the media will dissect his actions no matter what he does.

2. I suppose this is a positive move in a nation facing rising obesity, but I also think it is sad. Are we really that passive and impressionable that a mighty marketing force can convince us to do something, just like sticking programming into a computer? Parents should start being parents instead of letting the television do their jobs.

3. Ice hotel in Sweden. I think it'll be hilarious to navigate through a country where I don't know the language.

4. This isn't anything new. Rich people are always throwing money around in a wasteful and extravagant manner simply because they can.

Posted by: sya at January 21, 2005 9:30 AM

A1: As Christina mentioned, the swastika predates its use by the Nazi's. However, the important distinction between the two is that Tibetan Buddism, Yungdrung Bonism (indigenous religion of Tibet, prior to Buddhism), Navajo, Vedics (Hindu), and Jainism all use the original form of the swastika, but the "L's" or arms are reveresed (right-handed) from the Nazi swastika (left-handed).

Posted by: Brad at January 21, 2005 2:45 PM

I tend to agree. Childhood obesity, while contributed to by the junk-food industry, is a problem perpetuated by parents not regulating thier child's food intake. I posted my answers on my page.

Posted by: Khali at January 21, 2005 6:09 PM

1. Poor taste as usual. Prince Harry seems to be doing everything he can to prove that he can do what he wants. I think he is also trying to find his own place out from under the shadow of his older brother (& everyone else in the family). Because of this, he does really stupid things without thinking them through. I would imagine that for him the Holicaust is just something that happened in history. Like the Civil War, few people of his age would think about wearing things that too others might be a slap in the face.
2. Kraft is going the right direction but would they have done so if they didn't see the writing on the wall that tells them this is another Marketing technique to get people to buy their products. It is sad that we have vending machines with junk food in them anywhere. But, from what I have seen of the menus for school lunches, no matter what you eat, unless you bring it from home, it won't be good for you.
3. As much as I hate the cold, it sounds better than skating in front of a crowd. I have a friend in Finland who has done the Ice Hotel thing and said it isn't as bad as it sounds. She sent me pictures and it looks pretty neat. They have all of these furry looking wraps and bed covers that look really warm. I got a kick out of seeing their bar and the dining room. The most used room there? The Hot Tub Room!! ;-)
4. In some things, like this, you could put Republicans and Democrats in a bag, shake it up and either one would come out. They all seem to be caught up in spending money extravagantly. I think of all that money and then I think of the tsunami victims. How soon we forget. But, I feel the same way about all the money that is spent on elections and all the party wrangling that goes on at that time. Wonder what would happen if everyone was given a certain amount to spend all from the same coffers and told they could only use it to present their platform and say nothing about their opponent. They would actually have to tell you what they think and what they plan. What a concept. Oh, yes! They would also have to put this all together, send them in and both articles be published at the same time so they can't try to show each other up. HA!! That will be the day.

Posted by: Debbie at January 23, 2005 3:55 PM

1: I agree is was of poor taste, especially because as part of the English Royal family, he is in a position of high visibility and other youngsters might want to imitate him. I hope the whole media outrage, although maybe exagerated, brings awareness and discussion so young people understand what the holocaust was and meant.

2: I'm kind of skeptic about Kraft's 'good intentions'. This is just an strategy to differentiate from competitors and sell more products, although there's at least the benefit of them being healthier... but they are just heeding a trend and working on some PR. In regards to candies in school vending machines, I think they are bad, but responsibility ultimately is on parents, teaching kids to eat healthy and taking on the job to demand schools to offer healthier choices..

3: Ice Hotel... don't know if I would stand the cold, but I like to travel and will have the experience at least once.

4: this is one of the things I don't understand and don't like about politics: private donations. It is so clear to me that what they want (the donors, of either party) is some kind of gain out of it, politically or monetary ultimately. I don't understand why it is not regulated.

Posted by: mei at January 23, 2005 6:48 PM

1. I think we may be missing the point here. What Harry did was wrong, but not just because of the uniform. What he did was wrong because he wore the uniform of a regime his country had fought a war against; and a regime that was brutal and murderous, and one that should not be glorified in any way.
The swastika is not important in this context. The swastika has existed thousands of years before Hitler and will survive thousands more. In any case the Hindu/Buddhist symbol is angled differently (read, like a square) from Hitler's, which is more like a diamond (as in playing cards). But I wonder if the furore would be as strong is an American, say one of Bush's infamous daughters wore a Vietnamese uniform!!!

2. Personally, from a complete outsider's point of view, I feel that the US is too much into apportioning and accepting blame. Everyone knows that some foods, when ingested beyond reasonable control are bad for health. So why eat beyond control? Why allow your children to eat beyond control? And most importantly, why blame the manufacturers? I love McDonald's food, but I also know, as do children around me in India, that we are not supposed to eat there more than once a month! I feel it is rather ridiculous to overeat and then blame Kraft or anyone to have the products on the market!!!

3. Learn to ice fish, accompanied by whiskey and good company!

4. Hey it's their money and their conscience. They are celebrating the election of their lobbyist as president. Let them enjoy! Remember as Bush said, they are the "haves and the have more-s"...and that while some people call them the super-rich, he calls them "his base"!!

Posted by: Shantanu at January 24, 2005 6:53 AM

Q1. I have no problem with Harry did. If Harry would like to walk around wearing a Nazi symbol on his arm, more to him, I say, so long as I'm allowed to wear a shirt that reads, Prince Harry is an Asshole. It's all about the right to free speech. I might not like what the young royal did, but I'd defend his right to do so with my last breath.

Q2. I think Kraft's advertising strategy will remain in place until such time that it no longer makes financial sense to do so. Kraft, as a publicly held company, answers to its shareholders, who care about one thing and one thing only: increasing shareholder value. If Kraft's managers do not increase the value of the company's stock, management will scrap the strategy in favor of something else that promises more upside for investors. As for vending machines that dispense candy and soda in schools, I think they need to go.

Q3: This one's easy... The Ice Hotel. From everything I've read and seen on television, it's a lot warmer than people think.

Q4: I feel that the amount of money raised and spent on these events--by both political parties over the years--is utterly outrageous; and the fact that private citizens and publicly held corporations play along is profoundly disturbing. I wouldn't donate one dollar to support these supposed 'celebrations.' Campaign finance reform should address the inaugurations as well. It's complete transparent what's going on here... access to the powers that be in being purchased, and its being done right in front of our very eyes. The money raised to support these sorts of events compromises the entire foundation upon which our legislative process is built upon even further.

Posted by: Mikal at February 5, 2005 3:31 PM

In 1941 the foundation of Belzet's Execution Camp was started, near Lebov. At the end of Febuary 1942 the huts and other buildings were ready for action. Here were transported and exterminated the Jews of Galizia and also Jews from all over Europe.

The extermination process was a standard at the four of the Execution camps, Chelmno near Lodge, Maidanek, Treblinke, Sobibour, and Belzets. The rules of camouflage were kept even at the extermination point itself. False railway stations were build, sign-posts were placed telling "refreshment room" so to speak, "Terminal", and so, and other signs, everything to manipulate and deceive the prisoners, that were coming in masses, compressed in closed expulsion wagons, with no food nor water. Many could not stand the horror trip and died inside the wagons.The stay alive have been ordered getting out and turn to a barbed wired fenced passage. S.S officer was turning to the new arrivals with a loud speaker telling them that they would pointed to a farming labor and that they have to come through a purification process first. They were demand to take their clothes off, to fix their stuff and bring it for custody. Sometimes there was placed an orchestra band to play funny music. When they were compressed between the wired fences they were guided to run, while already being fledged by the guards, to a fenced piazza with signs, "to the bathes". Children, Eldies, and disabled were separated from the others, so they wouldn't disturb the right flow of people, and been led to a place where was a big sign placed far to see, "Millitary Hospital", there they have been shot just in place.

The others been led in front of the Gaz Chambers. The hair of the women was cut off and been thrown to big bags. The hair have been used to fill mattresses and other use. The gourd were walking between them suggesting them to get in quietly to the bathes and to take in there a long breath because it would strengthen their longs.

The naked people were compressed into a narrow path, In Treblinke the Germans were calling it "the heavens road" (Himelsstrasse), that was leading into a chamber 7x7 m' by size. To this chamber were pushed hundreds of people. The chamber doors were shot, and a poisoning gas was streamed into it.

The last stage, as been seen in Belzets, was described by a witness, an S.S officer Dr' Curt Gerstein, that was joining the S.S to find out the truth behind the rumors about the Extermination Camps:

"Men, Women, Young girls, Children, babies, everybody naked, totally naked passing along us... They are hesitating but still get into the death chambers, most of them wordless, being pushed by the ones behind, while the fledging whips of the S.S keeping them running. A Jew woman by her 40s stopped, her eyes like fires crying, that her children's blood would be on the head of the murderers. S.S officer Wirt is fledging personally five times on her face and she is vanishing in the gas chamber. Many are praying, others say: "who will clean our bodies after death?". The S.S compress the people into the chambers. "Fill it to full" said officer Wirt. The naked people standing on each other's feet, 700 to 800 on a 25 square m' in 45 square m' in volume. The doors are being shot. Others from that transport, naked, waiting telling me: "but they can die"

The answer been given "So should be". Turning on the Disel, the engine which will lead the gas into the chamber so it would kill them..." 2 hours they stayed waiting for death.

Posted by: Amir at March 8, 2005 6:22 PM

When sombody put a Nazi uniform on, he means: I wish you all die! It is not stupid. It is not stupid. It is hatred! It is hatred! every stupid person in that world knows it. Prince Harry just hate! Have big hate!

Posted by: Amir at March 8, 2005 7:20 PM

I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS ICE HOTEL FOR MY CLASSROOM. IT IS MENTIONED IN OUR GEOGRAPHY BOOKS BUT ALL IT MENTIONS IS WHERE IT IS AND THAT IT IS MADE OF ICE. COULD YOU PLEASE EMAIL ME BACK WITH A WEBSITE OR TWO, I HAVE SEARCHED EVERYWHERE I CAN POSSIBLE THINK OF SO FAR... THANKS A MILLION!!!!

Posted by: JUDITH at October 3, 2005 10:29 AM



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