Are What You Say You Are
by Mad Dog
Im sure this image campaign works like a
charm and people flock into the Historic Dairy Queen to buy an Historic Blizzard
just like Ponce de Leon did during those hot summer nights while he was searching for the
Fountain of Youth.
|| For years weve been told we are what we eat. I sure hope thats
not true since Id hate to think were a nation of Smores cereal, Oreos
with orange Halloween filling, and tuna jerky in plain and spicy flavors. But like
customer service, quality control, and our waistline, what defines us as people has
changed over the years. Today you are whatever you say you are.
Its all a matter of image. George W. Bush says hes
presidential material and hes managed to fool the better part of a political party.
Internet start-ups with no chance in hell of doing anything but making its principals a
lot of money are conning normally astute investors out of big bucks by putting an
e in front of their name, a dot-com at the end, and a cute character on their
website. Even Aaron Spelling does it. He told us his daughters an actor
andvoila!she gets the roles. Its true this last one doesnt always
work, but you cant say Francis Ford Coppola didnt give it his best.
A great example of being what you say you are is in St.
Augustine, Florida, which is the oldest city in the United States. True, by the standards
of the rest of the world its a recent renovation project, but theyre just
jealous because we get to see new episodes of V.I.P. before they do. St. Augustine boasts
the countrys oldest house, store, and wooden school house. They have the Historic
Dr. Peck House, the Inn of Historic Nights and, according to an ad in a tourist magazine,
the "Historic Dairy Queen." Now I drove by this Historic Dairy Queen and I have
to say it looks pretty much like any other. In fact, its not even an old one. But
Im sure this image campaign works like a charm and people flock in to buy an
Historic Blizzard just like Ponce de Leon did during those hot summer nights while he was
searching for the Fountain of Youth.
Iraq could give themselves a much more modern, high-tech image and pick up some
venture capital bucksif theyd change their name to iRAQ.com.
|| Even countries
have images to contend with. Look at Iceland. Thats not exactly a name that inspires
tourists to dream about taking their next vacation there. Greenland, on the other hand,
sounds a lot better. Unfortunately most everyone knows its technically called
Iceland West Annex so its not on many peoples vacation list either. What they
need to do is take a tip from Venezuela, which is changing its name to change its image.
Tired of being plain old Venezuela, the Constitutional Assembly voted to rename it the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. While this will ensure that no one confuses it with a
Soviet republic or Banana Republic, in the end it will probably just create more confusion
among those who cant tell the difference between Venezuela and Bolivia. You know,
like most Americans.
If this works I
expect well see a rash of countries following suit. Iraq could give themselves a
much more modern, high-tech imageand pick up some venture capital bucksif
theyd change their name to iRAQ.com. Slobodan Milosevic would have a much easier
time of it if he scrapped the name Kosovo and changed it to Kostco. Besides, think of the
revenue source hed have when he charged everyone in the country $25 for a membership
card so they could go shopping. And Ireland, boy do they need help. Imagine what a simple
hyphen in its name could do. Okay, it might not change peoples image of the country,
but calling it Ire-land would at least give them points for honesty.
Not all politicians have a bad image. In Easton, Pennsylvania, Rusandra DePaul had such a
good image that she was recently re-elected to the Borough Council despite having died a
week before the election.
|| Image is
important in science too. Take the Archaeoraptor lianoningensis, an animal which lived
about 120 million years ago and went extinct because no one could pronounce its name. Not
long ago a group of archeologists unearthed the animals fossils in China, and after
careful study figured out it was a feather-covered flying dinosaur, very possibly the
missing link between birds and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Scientists alternately
described it as a flying lizard or a fierce turkey with sharp claws and teeth. Is there
any doubt which of those images would put fear into the heart of the other dinosaurs and
which just conjures up thoughts of stuffing and cranberry sauce?
Politics, now theres something thats all image and
little substance. If you dont believe me just look at the presidential candidates.
Surprisingly, not all politicians have a bad image. In Easton, Pennsylvania, Rusandra
DePaul (whose nickname was Sandra, not RuPaul) had such a good image that she was recently
re-elected to the Borough Council despite having died a week before the election. This
wouldnt be so important if it was an isolated incident, but its not. In
Woodside, California, Peter Empey won another 4-year term as Town Councilman and he died a
full month before the election. Either his image was so good that the voters didnt
care or 333 people mistook him for Al Gore.
This being the case, I think its time for me to make an
image change and be what I say I am. So from now on Im a presidential candidate
Internet start-up company who is his own country. You know, The Republic of ePresident-
MadDog.com. Considering what I had for dinner, its better than being what I eat.
©1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them, it's good for your image.