Tag Archives: culture

Romney: Cultural Warrior

2 Aug

Mitt Romney thinks that the Palestinian people are culturally inferior to the Israeli people because Israel economically outperforms the Palestinian territories. Romney writes

“During my recent trip to Israel, I had suggested that the choices a society makes about its culture play a role in creating prosperity, and that the significant disparity between Israeli and Palestinian living standards was powerfully influenced by it. In some quarters, that comment became the subject of controversy. But what exactly accounts for prosperity if not culture?”

Well that’s an interesting assertion. It ignores the 64 year history of epic conflict in the territory formerly known as the Palestinian Mandate, not to mention millenia of ethnic and religious strife between people of different nationalities, and among the three major monotheistic faiths. To simply denigrate Palestinians as ethnically or culturally inferior to any other culture is, simply put, chauvinism. 

Germany is currently economically outperforming the United States, despite Europe’s sovereign debt crisis. By Romney’s logic, Germany’s culture is superior to America’s. 

tl;dr, Mitt Romney is a cheap chauvinist idiot. 

Standing in Line

25 Jun

In the long long ago, people would stay up all night to wait for the release of record albums and concert tickets.

Now, we download from iTunes in the comfort of our homes, whenever we want.

Now, we hit “refresh” on our computers until the tickets go on sale online, or else we join the band’s fanclub to get a super-secret password enabling us to get the tickets a few days earlier than they go on general sale.

Instead, people wait hours for iPhones and iPads. I can’t think of another consumer product of any type that prompts people to wait literally hours in the heat to get it on day one. Clearly, those people could have waited until, for instance, today to get the phone without a wait, but part of the appeal is being the first, I suppose. When the very first iPhone came out in 2007, Apple stores shut down for the day and opened at 5pm. I showed up without a reservation or anything, and waited a mere hour.

Apple’s products have transcended being mere computers or phones. It’s like it’s a movement. Practically a religion. And to think less than 20 years ago, Apple was barely surviving.

The only other cultural phenomenon that I can think of that prompts folks to queue up like that involves not specific products, but the time of year – namely, Black Friday.

The Story of The Broadway Market

12 Apr

Back in 2007, we did a series of videos on the history of Buffalo’s beloved Broadway Market and discussed the current state and the possibilities for sustainability and growth of this local cultural landmark.  As our audience has evolved over the past two years, I wanted to post those videos again.

It would appear that this was a tremendously successful Easter season at The Broadway Market and with new leadership, there are plans to make the market a year round regional destination once again.  I was especially impressed with the events that expanded attendance during the holiday season.  If you haven’t seen the video we shot of the “Peep-Off“, you’re missing out.  Congratulations to all those involved with making Easter at The Market a special memory for hundreds of thousands of visitors and I hope that things continue to move forward positively.

Anyhow, here are the videos featuring local author, blogger, radio host and all-around fantastic person Christina Abt of Buffalo Style.

In her unique style, Christina explores what makes the Broadway Market such a vital component of the rich cultural tapestry of Buffalo and Western New York.

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She also explores how we can keep the Market busy throughout the year…

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In the final chapter of the series, Christina interviews the matriarch of The Broadway Market, Dorothy Malczewski.  Dorothy is Buffalo…the kind of Buffalo that I want to live in and the kind of Buffalo that I want to maintain.

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Avenue Q's Billboard

16 Mar

On the 33, right before the Jefferson exit going westbound, there’s a billboard advertising Avenue Q, which is coming to Shea’s in April.

The image on the billboard is best described as puppet cleavage.

Better still, the character shown is “Lucy the Slut“.

I might actually go to this show when it comes around. The point of this post, however, is – how long before someone complains about Lucy’s puppet cleavage? I can just see the local TV get all over that.

The Bed Tax

18 Dec

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It is one of the most common refrains at the end of every year during the Erie County budget process.

“Fully fund the Buffalo Convention and Visitor’s Bureau with their full share of the bed tax”

Since I don’t like to hear a problem restated over and over again without the proposition of a creative solution, I’m going to offer one…because that’s how I roll.

Why should the CVB be funded out of a tax that is collected by Erie County? The revenue stream sources from the hotels themselves and the County simply acts as a pass through, while taking a piece of the revenue as a vig.

Why not abolish the bed tax altogether?

Poking around the CVB’s website, I came across a series of videos that were recently completed which help tell the story of Buffalo-Niagara. By the way, if you want people to actually watch these videos, shorten up the vignettes and post them on sites around the web, not just on your own.  The only people who will find these videos will be people who were looking for them in the first place, viral marketing 101.   I digress…

At the end of the videos, the message “funding provided by the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo” appears. This got me to thinking…clearly, there are other funding sources available that can be utilized to market the region. Reading through the Buffalo CVB 2006 Annual Business Review and their Form 990, the CVB accepted money from all the large foundations in Buffalo.

Rather than a lobbying effort centered on realizing a full share of the bed tax, why not argue to abolish the bed tax and move to a community funded marketing model?

The CVB is a 501c6 non-profit corporation and thus donations to the organization are not tax deductible. So, as a quasi Chamber of Commerce, they can move to a membership model that draws dues directly from the hoteliers and local arts institutions as the official marketing agency for the region. Require as part of membership that the hotels set aside the same percentage as they do today in taxes and give them directly to the CVB. Of course, the hoteliers will require transparent accounting and performance based budgeting to ensure their money is being spent properly. Something the County Legislature claims the CVB does not do currently.

Once the funding stream is in place, the CVB can continue to work with local partners to market the region. The percentage of revenue that will come into CVB coffers will be directly proportionate to the amount of revenue they are able to bring into the region as a result of their marketing efforts.

The CVB can enlist membership and support from local marketing companies like Crowley Webb, Eric Mower, and Stand Advertising to put together comprehensive plans for the region. They could also solicit small business membership and partner with BNE/BNP for funding from the business community. If we can get everyone pulling in the same direction, perhaps we’ll stop going in circles.

They can utilize local web/media talent from our universities to create viral marketing campaigns that create a people powered picture of Buffalo. Why use the county as a passthrough when a much more efficient model is available for implementation?

How will we pay for maintenance and operations of the Convention Center that currently comes from bed tax revenue? That’s the fly in my solution ointment. Erie County would have to move it into the general fund or work out a cooperative funding arrangement with the CVB wherein the County comes to the CVB for funding. See how I flipped it? Let’s talk about it.

Think differently.