Is it just me or is television advertising going off the deep end with the wild claims? Yesterday alone I saw ads for Subaru telling us their plant in Indiana—Indiana!—is a “wildlife preserve” and for Oral-B’s new toothbrush that cleans your teeth better because it has a computer built into the handle. Thank goodness for the National Advertising Division (NAD), which is part of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. NAD checks out questionable advertising claims so we don’t have to. When everyone else just shrugs their shoulders and falls into Madison Avenue’s latest glitzy campaign, NAD is there to wag their finger and stand up for the truth. Like they did yesterday when they stuck it to Starbucks. Yeah, Starbucks—the biggest coffee shop in the galaxy, which operates 54 stores in Hawai‘i, including eight on our island. See, NAD’s got nads, man! And they’re not afraid to swing ‘em in the face of false advertising, no matter the perp. The press release they put out yesterday puts it in plain English: “[NAD] has recommended that Starbucks Corporation modify its advertising for ‘Caramel Apple Cider,’ a steamed apple beverage,” the NAD release thundered. “The company has agreed to do so.” Damn right they did, because they knew what a monster they were dealing with! See, as NAD pointed out, Starbuck’s Caramel Apple Cider is actually made with apple juice, not apple cider. Of course, Starbucks tried to argue that “there is no single consumer point-of-view as to what constitutes ‘cider’ and what distinguishes it from ‘juice’”—I mean, who among us hasn’t. And Starbucks had the temerity to point out that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration “has not established a legal or regulatory distinction between apple ‘juice’ and apple ‘cider.’” Still, NAD was unmoved: “NAD appreciates Starbucks’ participation in the self-regulatory process and the challenges of marketing products uniformly in light of regional differences in the United States… However, to avoid the potential for consumer confusion, NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue use of the descriptor ‘cider’ in advertising this product.” If that isn’t a clear-cut victory for Joe Consumer, then I don’t what is.
THURSDAY, May 31
Defense Secretary Robert Gates flew all the way out here to Hawai‘i to say U.S. combat troops will be in Iraq for a “protracted period of time?” Aww, he shouldn’t have. No, really—I mean it. He shouldn’t have done that.
FRIDAY, June 1
Here’s a shocker: according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), Hawai‘i is the nation’s most expensive vacation destination. That makes eight years in a row, according to today’s Honolulu Advertiser! Woohoo! We Rock!Who wouldn’t be proud to hear that our state is finally tops in the nation in something besides low test scores?
SATURDAY, June 2
The Advertiser has a big story today on some surprising opposition that’s building against the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s proposed 143-foot Advanced Technology Solar Telescope (ATST) that will sit atop Haleakala. “I’m not opposed to science, but I do think the size and scale of this immediately adjacent to a major national park is wrong,” Haleakala National Park Superintendent Marilyn H. Parris said in the paper. “You’re giving away too much when you look at the impacts that it will have on park resources and values, but also the impact that it will have on Native Hawaiian culture and values.” In response, NSF spokesman Josh Chamot refused to respond, saying, “The biggest thing that we’re concerned with is the science.” Now I don’t know about you, but that’s an awful lot of irony to deal with on a Saturday. First off, you’ve got two arms—weak and malnourished, though they are—of the federal government swatting at each other over a telescope, of all things. What happened—did a nerds convention open on Maui and no one bothered to send me an invite? How rude! And that line about how the NSF is only interested in “science”—since when? Since George W. Bush first took the oath of office back in 2001, he and his flat-earth minions have done more to squeeze science out of the NSF than all his predecessors put together. A few months ago the papers were full of stories about how White House officials were pressuring scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to remove phrases like “global warming” and “climate change” from reports to Congress and the American people. And they want to build a solar telescope atop one of most sacred sites in all of Hawai‘i? God only knows what the White House thinks it’s for.
SUNDAY, June 3
Seriously, are we as a nation becoming too dumb to live?
MONDAY, June 4
No matter what you people say about Lt. Governor James “Duke” Aiona, you have to admit that he knows what he wants. And he wants to be governor. In fact, he wants it so, soooooo bad that he just filed papers with the state’s Campaign Spending Commission saying that he’s running and intends to start raising money. Never mind that the election doesn’t take place for another three and a half years. Given Hawai‘i’s hyper-saturated political environment, Aiona has to run now or he’ll just disappear into the crowd of people who want to succeed current Governor Linda Lingle. Hey, just because that crowd of candidates may only total a few individuals few regular working people have heard of doesn’t mean Aiona should coast on the by-then eight years he will have spent as Lingle’s official horse-holder. And according to today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Aiona’s even got a head start on his campaign bullshit. When reporter Richard Borreca asked him about his rather early candidacy filing, Aiona waved him off, “saying he was too busy with his job as lieutenant governor.”
TUESDAY, June 5
This just in: we are, in fact, too dumb to live. Carry on.
Anthony Pignataro somehow sympathized for Paris Hilton when he saw her at the MTV Movie Awards as the audience cheered for her imprisonment. MTW