Spinmeister -- A Few Honorable Mentions

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Spinmeister -- A Few Honorable Mentions

Although the Bush White House has won this past week's Spinmeister honor far and square, I just couldn't let these other efforts at spin go unheralded.

I. A Petulant Parent -- First, on Sunday the 6th, Peter Applebome of the New York Times wrote a column about the wealthy suburban school district of Roslyn, N.Y. In the wake of a corruption scandal, the district is trying to make up for an $11 million financial hole.

Roslyn parents are planning to do for this year's 213-member high school senior class what they have done in prior years -- throw a lavish graduation party by "construct[ing] something akin to a Broadway stage set" in the gymnasium. Parents in this affluent district are dipping into their own pockets to spend over $16,000 on the party decorations, food and the like.

No high school grad needs quite this Martha Stewart-style fuss, but, hey, if that's what those parents want to fund with their own money, so be it. In prior years, the district would effectively donate thousands of dollars in overtime costs for school district employees who helped build and assemble these Broadwayesque party stages.

But given the district's financial state of affairs at the moment, Roslyn school officials have said they can't do so this year. That brought this pissy comment from Linda Scheinbach, one of the parents:
"This is a legitimate expense, that's what makes us so angry. It's not (for) building a house in the Hamptons or traveling on the Concorde or billing the district for a $1,500 (hotel) suite."
Scheinbach's warped perspective comes through when you consider that a Hamptons beachhouse or a Concorde ticket are her best examples of items that are not "legitimate" expenses for a school district.

Instead of being content to throw the kind of lavish graduation party that most inner-city parents couldn't afford, Scheinbach wants us to feel badly for her and her fellow Volvo parents because their school system will not be able to throw in free labor to construct the party stage. Go tell it someone who gives a goddamn.

II. The Blondies With Blinders -- The second "honorable mention" comes from the world of pop culture. A member of the Von Blondies, a Detroit-based punk rock band, was quoted in the current issue of Northwest Airlines' in-flight magazine offering a rather laughable observation. Said drummer Don Blum:
"I've heard people say that because Detroit is isolated, people are more free from pressures to follow trends."
Really, dude? The only people I've heard say that would be, um .... you.

Perhaps the city's tourism office -- does Detroit have one? -- should launch a new P-R campaign that capitalizes on this insightful statement. A provocative slogan comes to mind:
Detroit: The Trends Just Pass Us Right By.

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