Tuesday, April 04, 2006

What's an overdog?

One of the things that has always impressed Spot about Katie is her willingness to stick up for the overdog.

What’s a overdog, Spotty?

Well an overdog, grasshopper, is the opposite of an underdog. Underdogs are like the plucky George Mason basketball team in the Final Four. Regrettably, underdogs usually get knocked off right away, as did George Mason. Underdogs have the potential, though, to upset the Established Order of Things. They feel a little revolutionary, which is why some people – and some dogs, too – root for them. But not Katie. Katie prefers things Just The Way They Are.

So Monday, Katie defends the Coca-Cola Company in a column titled Coke’s real sin is being a big U.S. corporation. With Katie in its corner, how could Coke lose? Anyway, there have been protests around the country, and around the world, really, over alleged human rights abuses (the death of several labor activists) by, apparently, a Coke franchisee in Colombia. And now the students as Macalester College are joining the ranks, tut tuts Katie, of places like Carlton College in Northfield and the University of Michigan. The students are trying to organize a boycott of Coke products. (Spot says, boys and girls, you should avoid them because they rot your teeth, but that’s for another day.)

Like some Asian food, Katie’s columns often leave the consumer hungry – hungry for some more information in the case of Katie, that is. Spot put his figital digitals to work on Google, and got over 400,000 hits for the search string coca cola protests Colombia. Allowing for duplicates, that probably leaves, oh, several at least!

A perusal of the links is interesting. In addition to the aforementioned callow fools, the Teamsters have joined the call for a Coke boycott.
In January the University of Michigan joined the universities of New York and Rutgers in banning all Coke products, bringing the number of bans to 21 in North America. The University of Michigan said it implemented the ban after the company missed a 31 December deadline to set up third party investigations and protocols to assess events in Colombia and India.

Another 130 colleges and universities are thought to be considering their options, according to the Center for Informed Food Choices.

With the Teamsters joining in the protests Coca-Cola is finding itself on the receiving end of snowballing protests. Teamsters members on Tuesday unanimously endorsed a resolution authorizing its leadership to seek a resolution to the dispute between Coca-Cola and student, labor and human rights groups.

Here’s an article about the NYU boycott in the lefty publication Business Week Online. It also seems that those pesky Irish – always a revolutionary bunch – are in on it, too!

What are the students’ demands? The liquidation of Coke? The crucifixion of Coke executives? Nah. The boycott is directed at obtaining an independent third-party investigation of these deaths. From the Business Week Online article:
That summer [2003], Coca-Cola declined to meet with concerned students from several universities. "At the time, we thought individual meetings [with individual schools] would be more helpful, because we could have more in-depth discussions," explains Coca-Cola spokesperson Kari Bjorhus.

In response, CKC [a student organization at NYU] members stepped up their demands, calling for an immediate ban of Coke products unless the company agreed to a third-party investigation. During the fall, CKC members talked up student senators and collected more than 1,500 student signatures on a petition, which was adopted as a formal proposal by the senate's student-life committee. In November, 2004, the student senate voted 16-4 to ban Coke products from the school unless Coke O.K.'d an investigation.

Katie thinks that’s rilly, rilly radical, although she doesn’t describe the students’ objective in her column. How hard would that have been?

The thing that really frosted Spot, though, was Katie’s gratuitous swipe at Vietnam War-era protests by students. It’s all part of the silly romanticism of liberal students, she says. Spot doesn’t remember it that way, Katie. It was college students, of course, that got the anti-war movement started against the Vietnam War. A lot of the same bunch, now grayer and rounder, are the activists against the rumble in Iraq. And no, Katie, Kent State – Four Dead in O – HI – O was not the least romantic.

One thing for sure. Spotty isn’t going to be buying any Coke until we get this thing sorted out.

Tags: tut tuts over the

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