Saturday, December 13, 2008

Remember "Dolphin Safe" Tuna?

Few metaphors sum up how America works than "Dolphin Safe" Tuna cans.  Remember those?  Well, in case you're not that old:  Back in the 1970's and 1980's, there was an increased concern over incidental snaring of dolphins in wide cast fishing nets used to catch Tuna.  The dolphins would die in the nets due to lack of mobility and reaching the surface to get air (they are mammals after all).  Eventually, Green Peace and other groups raised enough concern and pressure on advertisers to bring pressure to bear on the Tuna industry itself.  In response, they began a huge marketing campaign focused on how they were changing their ways and would seal their promises with a stamp on every can of Tuna that said "Dolphin Safe!".

Americans bought the lie and returned to the stores to resume their insatiable apetite for the low-cost food.  Not one person you could ever meet in person could ever look you in the eye and say with confidence that fewer dolphins were being killed following this so-called "change of ways".  Nobody.  It marked a change in how big business viewed consumers as gullible and easily fooled.  It wasn't the beginning of such perceptions by any means.  It simply marked a new direction in advertising tactics.

This has nothing to do with Tuna or dolphins.  Nor does it have anything to do with environmental stewardship or ecological welfare.  I personally love Tuna salad and a good, restaurant prepared Tuna steak.  But I'll bet there's a little dolphin in every can of Tuna I've eaten.

Now we see this approach applied to news, mass media, advertising, politics, and just about every aspect of our culture which disseminates information from one source to many recipients.

Today we see the news reporting that MLB is ready to "move on" since the Mitchell Report was released.  It obviously cleaned everything up.  No more steroids in baseball.  Nope.  They're all squeaky clean now.  Thanks to Mr. Mitchell.  I had to chuckle when I heard that.  

Dolphin Safe baseball?
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