Not Cool, Not Warm
Phillipe & Jorge hope that in the “Cooler and Warmer” PR fiasco here in the Vo Dilun, we do not miss the irony of the fact that its head cheerleader, Governor Gigi, is neither cool nor warm. She is essentially Hillary Lite, infatuated by Wall Street and the Big Apple, icily imperious in the manner of someone who always believes they are the smartest person in the room, and oblivious and unable to recognize the truly cool talent right in front of her eyes, such as RISD designers.
What is perhaps most galling and inexplicable about this embarrassing incident is the total ignorance of PR/Marketing 101, in which you learn as much about the product you are trying to sell as you can, from people who know what they are talking about and of which they have an institutional insiders’ memory and knowledge — in this case, the state. Evidently, the RI Commerce Corporation, which was at the reins of this horse that ran off a cliff, didn’t even bother consulting with the heads of Little Rhody’s regional tourism boards, who have made their living out of illustrating why we have the Biggest Little State in the Union and drawing visitors here so we can strut our stuff.
The fact that a person like Evan Smith, CEO of Discover Newport, was not consulted boggles the mind. P&J have seen Smith in action through the years, and he is interested in all facets of tourism, well-informed and extremely knowledgeable. The sustained success of tourism in the City by the Sea would have proved invaluable to the clowns like Mr. Milton “I Heart New York” Glaser, the supposed legendary PR genius who came up with the preposterous “Cooler and Warmer” slogan and logo. Instead what Glaser delivered, for maxi-millions, was a “says nothing” design and message. His second-rate product could have been improved upon by plucking a random RISD design major off of Benefit Street and offering him or her $500 and a six-pack of a craft brew to top the creativity and relevance of what was foisted upon us.
Since RICC chief exec Stephan Pryor didn’t have the balls or decency to resign in the face of this absurd cock-up, he and Governor Gigi threw another clueless and incompetent out-of-stater, RICC marketing director Betsy Wall, under the bus. Pryor has continued to try to mealy-mouth his way out of this burning garbage dump by admitting mistakes were made (No shit? Gee, thanks for filling us in!), but at the campaign’s now total implosion, the whole things falls back into Ms. Not Cool, Not Warm’s lap.
When you are looking for directions in the future, Gigi, ask the old guy sitting on the front porch next to the highway, not the blind kid perched a few feet away playing the banjo.
Footnote: Phillipe and Jorge have a great deal of faith in Rep. Lauren Carson, who is heading up the House commission that’s looking into what went wrong with “Cooler and Warmer.” Rep. Carson and Co. have been ratcheting up the heat on Pryor and other guilty parties, in essence taking names and kicking ass, which is about the only way The Ocean State can truly recover from this display of stupidity and tone deafness that has again put our beloved Little Rhody into the national eye in a manner that only a diehard Three Stooges fan would admire.
Go get ‘em, Lauren. Spare the rod, spoil the child. Which brings us to …
Turn the Other Cheek
The video of a 5-year-old being spanked with a paddle by a teacher at a school in Monticello, Georgia, lit up the social media universe last week. Of course the fact that the mother of the child (who took the video) gave her permission for the kid to be disciplined, in a district where it is allowable with parental consent (like it or not, sports fans), became a mere sidebar to the incident.
As we Yankees all know, the Northeast is light years ahead of our peckerwood cousins in the Deep South when it comes to civility and decency. Perhaps this could be a good learning moment for the corporal punishment enthusiasts down in Dixie. All they need to do is take at look at the very best elite institutions in New England and see how they demonstrate proper, refined and couth behavior, such as the best of the prep schools that produce our future political leaders and intellectual elite.
As tales of everyday life at these pre-Ivy incubators full of privileged students suggest, such as at our own St. Groper’s School in Middletown, students are not spanked by teachers, but teachers ask to be spanked by their students. Preferably with minimal clothing.
That is simply what one does in the British boarding school tradition, eh, Miss Manners?