Friday, November 11, 2005

"We're unclear whether there is a direct connection."

That is the depressingly comical response of a Loews executive regarding the shooting death of a patron at a Loews theater in Pittsburgh after a showing of 50 Cent's new movie.Nah, a movie that depicts unabashed deregard for human life in pursuit of fleeting and superficial goals could NEVER inspire actual unbashed disregard for human life. As a pretty uptight honkey myself, I will refrain from addressing the movie itself and the role of gansta' culture in our society, but I will take this doofus corporate executive to task for saying something so stupid (that is defintely my bailiwick). Even though Loews pulled the movie, it is clear from this statement that the company will reinstate it and make some lame excuse that they have determined that there was no connection between the movie's subject matter and the murder in their theater. Reinstate the movie, fine. But have some integrity and be honest with the public. Say something like, "it's a difficult issue, struggling with the influence that movies have on people's behavior and incidents like this may seem to make a case for censorship, but there are much more powerful arguments against censorship as well and we hope that the public understands that we do not support censorship...yadayadayada." Very easy and straightforward. You display honesty, let reasonable people decide for themselves and you don't insult the public. That's pretty good PR in my book. "We're unclear whether there is a connection" are weasel words and this guy is a weasel and that is why so many people think corporations are run by a bunch of weasels (because often they are, more so with entertainment related businesses). The supreme irony is that while denying that "Get Rich or Die Tryin'" has any influence on society, this Loews executive has fully embraced its 'money above all else' and 'business without honor' ethos. He has suppressed his good sense and desire to deal forthrightly with this customers in the pursuit to cover his ass and get back to business. The thought probably never occurred to him to take a principled stand and then get back to business. Sad.

I had been meaning to do a post on Wellington Mara, the recently departed owner of the New York Football Giants, but I couldn't come up with the right angle. Clearly I needed a gangsta' rap movie and a doofus movie theater exec to hit upon that angle. Wellington Mara was the opposite of this weasel executive. Wellington Mara stood for and ran his business with integrity and principle. He believed in dealing fairly and honestly and that the rest would take care of itself. He always sought to do the right thing first. As a result he built one of the most successful sports franshises in history, and not just measured by success on the field. On the contrary, the Giants had long periods of mediocrity; but, even during those periods of mediocrity fans filled the seats and the waiting list for season tickets remained decades long. The players, even without the tangible success to bind them to the organization, developed nothing but love for the Giants organization. Why? Because Well Mara believed in doing business with honor and for he and the Giants organization money was not the guiding signpost (btw, Mara died a very wealthy man). There are too many awful business/management books out there by self-appointed gurus and most of them are awful. Unfortunately, one of the best management books that could possibly be written will never be written, because Well Mara would have to write it. Even if Duke was still with us, it wouldn't have been his style to write a book on business, and more importantly, what Well had to teach us about business, you simply can't pick up by reading it in a book anyway. Rest in peace and thank you, Well Mara.


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