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July 13, 1976 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-07-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The selling of a scandal

By JEFF RISTINE
W ASIILNGTON - BACK IN TIlE DAYS when
one could mention the space program with-
out eliciting a yawn or a scowl from most Amer-
icans, every business with any connection to the
man-in-space projects, no matter how tenuous,
tried to claim a slice of credit for the success of
NASA's moon landings. Advertisements in news-
papers and magazines heralded the companies'
role in the missions ("Write with the pen used by
the Apollo 11 astronauts;"), as orange drink mak-
ers and wrist watch manufacturers all tried to
boost sales by linking themselves to a popular
milestone in U.S. history.
It may have worked. I remember eating Pills-
bury's Space Food Sticks, probably the most vile,
distasteful concoction of calories outside of saw-
dust and water, for no better reason than their
name and the rather dubious impression that
Armstrong and Aldrin gobbled 'em down like
popcorn at a movie.
It's not just celebrity endorsement, a fairly
common phenomenon of the Madison Avenue
scene. It's the feeling that you're enjoying a
product that made a Great Event possible, and
that through some after-the-fact transference,
you've helped make that event take place, too.
It boosts your ego, maybe. Thus, it's only natur-
al that the advertisers set their beady little sights
on another newsmaking target for commercial
exploitation: Watergate.
'N A SPECIAL MAGAZINE published by The
Washington Post in honor of our 200th birth-
day, nestled between a tribute to the transistor's
role in the Bicentennial and a discussion of the
atomic bomb's impact on U. S. scientists' public
image, there's a half-page ad for the "Report-
er's Note Book," an indispensible item of the
journalist's trade, as any cub who ever pounded
the police beat will tell you.
The notebook, says the ad, has been "the ac-
cepted standard for The Washington Post for
many years" (a celebrity endorsement if I've
ever heard one) and "played a supporting role

in the movie 'All The President's Men'."
There it is, folks. Now you can write in the
the same spiral - bound notebooks Woodward
and Bernstein needed to topple the Nixon admin-
istration. Put pencil to pad with the same con-
fidence and air of authority Robert Redford has
assumed. You're using a notebook that helped
change the course of modern history. And lest
there be any doubt about it, right there on the
cover is the official seal: "Reporter's Note
Book". Can't beat that.
With only a minor stretch of the imagination,
one can envision the ways other businesses could
exploit their favorable relationship to the na-
tion's most embarrassing political scandal. The
makers of the masking tape which the Cubans
used to cover -the door lock at Watergate could
claim they helped start the whole investigation
-for what would have happened if there hadn't
been enough tape to cover the edge of the door
twice, the clue that brought the police in?
A ND IF ONLY BOB Woodward would reveal
where his midnight conversations with his
mysterious source took place, the management
could rename its structure "The Deep Throat
Underground Parking Garage," and business
would boom.
Watergate - watchers would wallow without
end if the makers of the carpet in the Lincoln
Sitting Room of the White House would point out
that you can kneel on it, pound your fists on it,
and cry on it til your face turns blue. I've even
got a motto for them: "Please don't ever tell
anyone that we are not strong."
It could all become rather tasteless, of course,
but most commercials and advertisements are
already insulting beyond comprehension. And
until Richard Nixon hits the talk show circuit
to plug his memoirs, it may be the only Water-
gate we have to kick around.
Daily Managing Editor Jeff Ristine is a Wasi-
ington based intern for the Knight News'pair
chain.

The Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Tuesday, July 13, 1976
News Phone: 764-0552
Stalling toward a strike
IT IS HIGH TIME that the University and the Gradu-
ate Employes' Organization (GEO) get down to the
business of serious bargaining and resolve their contract
dispute before the beginning of the fall term. The cam-
pus hardly needs another convulsion like the strike of
February, 1975.
The sides have quibbled all summer long like two
neighbors trying to decide who had the right to sit in
the shade of whose tree. Trading salty language, neither
side has shown willingness to approach the compromise
it knows will be the inevitable result.
The GEO. of course, would like nothing better than
to stall the summer away until its rank-and-file returns
to town to put pressure on the administraton. The longer
it waits, the better its position. But the University has
dragged its feel as well, playing its cards cautiously. Both
sides are maneuvering for the best possible advantage,
while ignoring tie fact that the fa ncy footwork, if con-
tinued, will soon leave the undergraduates out in the
cold.
The GEC mist think of its members as well. A strike
is the supreme tactic, no doubt, and the one most likely
to win a favorable settlement. But the University's GSAs
are paid little enouih now to get along in inflationary
Ann Arbor: a strike several weeks long would be crip-
pling for many.
On the affirmative action dispute. the University is
refusinz to put into the contract a matter it agreed to in
the 1975 contract. It areues it does not want its hiring
practices dictated by a labor contract. But why was Rob-
ben Fleming willing to sign the 1975 Memorandum of Un-
derstanding that agreed to exactly that sixteen months
ago?
On non-discrimination, the GEO claims to be hold-
ing ot for a widening of the contracts's sexual prefer-
ence clause. The clause s:ems sufficient already, and it
is likely that the maneuver is a "bargaining chip," a
token which the GEO will later give up with apparent
great sacrifice when it had never counted it as very im-
portant in the first place.
Come now; move on to constructive bargaining be-
fore the students suffer.

A r y'~
*
:lsi u{r9' (
w 0
141
uL
1HMILWAUKEEJOIUR Al
'Yoo hoe., evervbody.! Look at the starting; new
:> discovery I just made~'
-- - - - - ' .-,. - - - - - -

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