Monday, October 18, 2004

Remember the socialist utopia that was 1950s America?

The Times does:

"For 75 years, children in tiny blue-collar Brooklawn have attended the Alice Costello Elementary School, a simple brick building so central to the town that the morning bell can beseech a majority of students to begin their walk in from surrounding neighborhoods. If the scene is something out of the 1950's, then the seven-foot illuminated sign affixed to the outside of the school gymnasium is a clarion call to modern times. It reads 'ShopRite of Brooklawn Center,' and it is a $100,000 advertisement."

Fair enough--Beaver and Wally didn't attend the Coca Cola Junior High School, nor did Little Ricky go to Phillip Morris Elementary. But nostalgia for a simpler time simply cannot, in this case, be nostalgia for a time when America had yet to hear of capitalism. With the limited knowledge of someone who did not actually grow up in the '50s, I'd imagine that, had someone thought up the idea of corporate sponsorships for public schools, the critics of the idea would have been declared "Commies" for their denunciation of capitalism, "Are you now or were you ever," the whole deal.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

When capitalists offer cash to non-profits, like libraries, hospitals or colleges, it's often with the expectation that something--generally a building--will bear their name. What's the difference between naming a school after the head of a company and putting a billboard for the company on the side of the school? They're both forms of advertising; the second is arguably less narcissistic--and more straighforward-- than the first.

Molly said...

1) people who refer to "the good old days" are stupid and should be rendered mute. Days in which people died of things like fever and breathing are not good days.

2) this kind of sponsorship will provide good lessons for the future for these kids. Money controls everything. so better to learn it now.

thanks Phoebe.

Molly said...

I sound cynical and bitter here. Really, I am not. That is all.

Also, how amazing would it be to go to the Diet Coke Academy of Science and Math...? A Diet Coke water foundtain is one of my great fantasies. NEVER LET THE DREAM DIE!!!

Phoebe said...

Bring me the Diet Coke Fountain!

My own high school was named after who, had he not been overruled, would have prevented New York from having any Jews. Ironic, given the school's demographics...but why is "Stuyvesant" a better school name than, say, "Ryvita," like these delicious crackers I bought at the Co-op.