When I see a corporation attaching its name to a public building or meeting place I can’t help but feel we have lost a bit of who we are as a community. The Civic Arena here in
Pittsburgh became the Mellon Arena overnight, and no one said a word. How ironic; we built it, we pay the mortgage with tax dollars and when the sports organizations using it get tired of it, we will be the ones to pay to have it torn down! Shawn McCarthy, director of League of Fans explains that, “Wealthy team owners and corporations want the public and media to say their name every time they talk sports, even though these sports venues may be owned by the public. The naming rights fees almost always go straight into the team owners’ overstuffed wallets – further reducing sports to the constant pursuit of commercialized profit.” But the naming of our world by Corporations is only the tip of the iceberg.
How would you like to equate your freedom with a corporation tag line? Try this one; “You are now free to move about the country!” Wait a minute my freedom comes from being an American and from all of the people that have died to preserve our way of life here in the
United States. I’d never equate freedom with a corporation? Well if you read that tag line and thought of Southwest Airlines, then they win. Have you done any, “Thinking outside of the Box lately?” Thank you Taco Bell. I guess, I could, “ Have it my way,” if I really wanted to; thank you Burger King, I mean after all, “ I deserve a break today,” thank you MacDonald’s! The line between who we are and what they are selling is getting thinner and thinner and not one person is saying a word about it. Well maybe one! Ever so slowly we are loosing who we are to the fast ad slogans of Corporate America, until we will not be able to tell the difference between pitch and spin, no matter how hard we try. And when the companies go bad; “ The naming rights trend becomes all the more embarrassing,” said Ralph Nader, “as corporate names like Enron, TWA, CMGi, Adelphia and PSI Net have fallen off of stadiums over the past two years due to bankruptcies and misdeeds.”
But never fear, John Q is still here to pick up the pieces. Need I remind you to, “Be the Best you can be,” you’re in the Army now. I will leave you this dialogue from the 1989 movie, Say Anything. At one time we Americans of the Boomer generation felt this way. What happened? “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that….My dad is in the army but I can’t work for that corporation.”