Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Just Do It? 

"Just Do It." The phrase that Nike built into its mega-market product hawking campaign over the last decade. At first, it is not so bad. All of the images I have seen refer directly to athletic pursuits. I have no beef with Nike.


Why not "Pure Sports" or "Get Active" as a motto? Because Nike test-marketed unknown volumes of themes and mottoes before landing on "Just Do It" as its sole market strategy. Nike, like all big corporations, paid a handsome price to a marketing firm to formulate an image. If we all had a secret peek at the wish list of Nike's corporate leadership when they commissioned the test-marketing, what do you think they wanted. Probably, the list was active, unisex, age-neutral, environmentally conscious, and not just about sports. Nike could not care less that consumers wear their clothing and products for non-athletic reasons. Actually, that is not true. Nike knew on the front end that most consumers would not wear their product for athletic purposes. Nike's goal was to sell products. That is why they had to pick a theme that was "not just about sports" in the first place.

You have used "Just Do It" and it was not in reference to sports. Yes, you have. We all have. We have taken the "do" out and replaced it with any verb that fit our purposes.

I am not writing about Nike and its very successful marketing campaign. You should read this article. There are organizations that have drawn a line and said "no more". Since before my daughter was born, I have been a vocal opponent to recent clothing trends. I am not stuck in time or out-of-date. I just do not appreciate dressing young girls like whores. For balance, I also do not want to see any young boys underwear hanging out the back of his pants. My wife and I have not been to the mall in years when we have not been confronted with an adolescent or even younger child who is foolishly dressed and oversexualized. At first, we just giggled at the wannabe Goth kids. Especially since in Mississippi, there was not a critical mass of peers. Goth kids in MS were a very lonely group. Now, the trend is overtly sexual. There have been days when I had to intentionally focus when teaching college students because nipples were all but uncovered. I can live with college-aged women doing as they wished. However, the assault goes to much younger children and that disturbs me. Corporations are making huge profits selling sex to our children. Parents need to wake up.

Barbie is no longer the standard doll. She is still popular, but she is aging and losing market share rapidly. New on the market is "Bratz" which we are told is a doll "with a passion for fashion." One look at the dolls and you realize how far off track we are. Big, pouty lips, obvious makeup, vogue names, and street-walker clothes. As a parent, my stand is to help my daughter develop values that directly combat the images society bombards us with each day. No Bratz in our home. Period. Dot. The End.

NCLB is a good thing 

You should take the time to read this article by Joanne Jacobs on the No Child Left Behind legislation.

NCLB is a good thing. The educational organizations that are opposing NCLB have issues that do not focus on the child's learning. Teachers unions are opposed to NCLB because poor instruction will be exposed. If children in a class do not show improvement, then the teacher or the methods or the curriculum must change. Teachers are not happy being labeled as "underperforming" nor do they want to have someone outside the classroom telling them what and how to teach.

Other organizations are opposed to NCLB because it comes from the Bush administration.

Why is NCLB a good thing? Because the program does not mandate that a certain test be used. NCLB allows the state and school system to choose the most appropriate test for the children and curriculum. Then, the data gained from the test can be used to compare the children's performance with peers at other schools. There are numerous examples of schools and entire systems realizing that they are underperforming or failing. The schools had a reputation of being a positive learning experience. But when compared with peer schools, they realized they had not been challenging the students. Don't believe me?

How many times have you heard or read of a student completing high school but not beling able to pass an exit exam? Most exit exams are based on 10th grade knowledge, yet many students are unable to acheive a passing grade after completing the 12th grade. Last year, a valedictorian at a New Orleans high school could not score high enough on the ACT or SAT to enter college. She was the school's valedictorian!

Without NCLB, schools would have continued to ignore the situation. Many students, especially poor and minority students, would have continued to receive a poor education. With NCLB, schools have to make changes to address these issues.

NCLB is a good thing.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

"Acting as a sperm donor" vs. "reckless intercourse" 

When I teach Child & Family Courses that cover the subject matter of cohabitation, I use the term "shacking up". At first, my students find the term offensive (especially those currently shacked up). However, as we move through the material and the deleterious effects are uncovered, they move rapidly to a new understanding of "cohabitation" vs. "shacking Up". They learn that cohabitation means to share living quarters and not necessarily beds. To shack up, well, we all know what that means. They realize that picking a new word to cover a naughty thing does not make it less naughty.

The headlines on CNN Headline News read "Sperm donor ordered to pay child support for twins." You can read the article here. At first, I thought the material would correspond to my earlier posts "Falsely Accused Fathers". However, if you read carefully, you will notice that we are not given one important piece of information. In the article, we are told that the man "acted as a sperm donor." We are not told if this means he donated a specimen that the woman gave to her physician to use for artificial insemination or if they had sexual intercourse. Biologically, the processes have the same outcome, but legally, morally, socially, and all other ways, the processes are as different as night and day.

Based on the ruling in this case, I do not think "sperm donor" is the correct term. Why would the article and the hearing include the previous relationship between the man and woman in the case. A likely and believable scenario is that the relationship was ending. She decided to get pregnant. She told him she wanted to get pregnant but did not need him to be a part of the child's life. He decided to have more sexual intercourse with her. A child was conceived. She sued him for child support and won. He is mad because his defense of being only a "sperm donor" did not work.

Using the term "sperm donor" here is misleading and wrong. It leads many to believe that the story is about the rights and responsibilities of individuals involved in artificial insemination cases. It is wrong because the correct term for the man in this case is "biological father".

I cannot find a detailed account of the case. The details in this case are very important.

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