Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Episode 4: Tools and Their Boxes

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Episode 4: Tools and Their Boxes Concerns what happens when advertising dogma creeps into civic life. We've seen all too much of this corruption of our common spaces, what with our stadia and arenas branded not by the names of their builders as was traditional, but with names reflecting whomever bid the highest on the name and only the name, leaving the bulk of construction and maintenance for someone else to worry about.

Sadly, it could be—and might just become—quite a bit worse. In this episode, I examine one such so far failed attempt shove commercial branding onto my home state's transportation infrastructure, and my dream esprit de escalier response to the committee who proposed it.

Bear in mind, folks, that this bill was reintroduced without amendment in January of 2014. Head here to follow its "progress." If they dare reopen public comment, I will be there.

Other voices from the record of the House Transportation Committee from Tuesday, January 22, 2013.

Music backing my rebuttal speech: "Bomb Run" from the Dr. Strangelove soundtrack, and the unforgettable conclusion to Leonard Nimoy's extraordinary rendition of "If I Had A Hammer."

PS. This episode was recorded before Mr. Adams' unlikely scenario involving a fictional Johnny actually played out, at least in part. I was somewhat surprised at that.


  1. Pretty sure listening to Mr. Adams' speech gave me cancer, so thanks for that.

    Cash-strapped governments want to fire-sale everything. (For some politicians, that's even if they have to set the fires themselves.) It's a buyers market for dignity these days.

    Still, I'm not always opposed to such naming deals. When the Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Association got Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals to jointly pay $12M to have the Euclid Avenue bus corridor named the HealthLine, that did seem like a reasonably good deal for Clevelanders (for context, RTA's annual operating budget is about $230M, the construction project in question was about $200M). We know what politics is, but jokes aside, the specifics and the price matter quite a bit, dignity-wise.

  2. Yes, Mr. Adams did go for the fully treacle laden sappy appeal, didn't he? I don't know about cancer, but I'm pretty sure I got at least a bit of diabetic shock through the editing phase.

    And while I agree that there might be some good matches when it comes to sponsored namings, I'm right now of the opinion that the over-abundance of them is reason to halt the practice for a time, if only to give people a chance to clear the fog of reasons that have been swallowed to allow the cognitive dissonance to pass. After a recovery period, perhaps they could be reconsidered.

    Then again, that is my default position throughout this project, so I'm biased.