Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Burger King Sponge Bob and Sir Mix A Lot Roll the Dice

and figure they can stand the heat of those opposed to Burger King's latest commercial starring Sponge Bob Square Pants and Sir Mix-a-Lot.
Recently those cutting edge heart attack cats at Burger King rolled out a new commercial aimed at children. The commercial revamps Anthony Ray's, a.k.a Sir Mix-a-Lot Grammy award winning single "Baby Got Back," from the Album Mack Daddy recorded on American Recordings.
This commercial which has aired as early as 6:00pm in many areas of the country is fun until you pay attention. The original "Baby Got Back" lyrics say "Tell 'em to shake it! (Shake it!) Shake it! (Shake it!) Shake that healthy butt!" apparently "Mix-a-Lot's in trouble Beggin' for a piece of that bubble," and he reports "My anaconda don't want none Unless you've got buns, hun." Hmmm. This reptile butt thing sounds a bit kinky. Oh it's a metaphor! Got it.
Well in the Burger King version the ladies certainly shake it and true to Rap video values they get it measured and shake it some more. Burger King reports that they intend this commercial for adults who take their families to Burger King and that it is not being aired during children's shows. Thank goodness for small favors but what makes them think adults want a healthy dose of he-man female objectification without prior notice?! Whatever makes them think that seems to be correct because few adult moms and dads I've talked to are shocked at anything other than my raised eyebrow and many don't mind if their kids see it.
Well I think I'm about to yank my TV basic cable out and go rent CSI and whatever else I occasionally watch for my sake and my daughter's sake. I make sure she stays to Disney, Nickelodeon, Animal Planet and the like which are sometimes questionable unless she's watching sports with me which is where we were first introduced to the BK Sponge Bob Sir Mix-a-Lot alliance. I had no warning this commercial was queued up. I was so shocked it was one of the few times I missed a discussion of content op with my kid. I mean come on isn't that BK guy just a little creepy?
Is the content just playful fun? I think Mix-a-Lots rap promo and commentary at the end of the commercial says it best, "...a square butt with sharp angles underwater we keep it grungy cuz everybody know he spongey
now spongebob i want to get with cha cuz you makin me richa
burger king wants me to seal the the deal 99 cents get a toy and a kids meal,"and then his commentary,"Booty is Booty."

Well said Sir well said. Here are the entire lyrics from the commercial (the full video can be found on youtube so put your kids in check)and the commercial.

I like square butts and I cannot lie,
Squid and Sea Star can’t deny.
When a sponge walks in, four corners in his pants,
like he got phone book implants,
the crowd shouts, all the ladies stare.
Man those pants are square!
Swinging through the seaweed tangles
is a butt with sharp right angles.
Now, SpongeBob,
I wanna get with ya,
‘cause you’re making me richer.
Burger King wants me to seal the deal:
99 cents get a toy and a kids meal.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No Children Left By Design

In an article by Sam Dillon one day before "Tax Day" the New York Times reports "Education Standards Likely to See Toughening."

No Child Left Behind was one of the few domestic bipartisan accomplishments of the Bush administration full of Republican morality such as fighting "soft bigotry" that was as equally palatable for Democrats and Civil Rights advocates alike.

Although it upped the ante of Federal involvement to an uncomfortable level for many Republicans it was still up to individual states to set the standard and as Daniel L. Whitney says just "git 'er done." As it turns out Republicans were uncomfortable for naught since Mr. Bush failed to grease the wheels of social progress with money.

In Education Week blogger Diane Ravitch concludes that "Obama has given President George W. Bush a third term in education policy" and that "Arne Duncan is the male version of Margaret Spellings." As one may recall outgoing Ed Secretary Spelling planted big sloppy wet compliments on current Secretary Duncan at a ceremony in Chicago at the beginning of the year lauding him as a true reformer... like herself. If Mr. Obama had been interested in changing the way Education in America works this should have been his cue to drop Duncan like Silva dropped Irvin OK OK like Ali dropped Foreman.

Last November Barack Obama appointed professor of education at Stanford’s School of Education, Linda Darling-Hammond as head of his education policy transition team.
Yes! He's got he's got but then in January... he ain't got. She was supposed to develop education policy action plans and proposals for the Obama administration which begs the question what did she come up with and how much of it is in the Obama cocktail for change?
Well I'm not hating on the President. This is the first of many misfires not because of poor choices in leadership and bad decisions but because of the business as usualness of it all and the faint smell of cronyism in the air.

Some people looking at the NCLB(No Child Left Behind) Obama version wonder what all the hub hub is about. Syracuse University professor Adam Banks left a short note on Face book that said,
the problem is that data crunching and standardized testing will *never* improve the quality of education--especially not for Black students and students of color. attempting to decide which teachers are effective and which are not can never be accomplished through students' test scores either. teacher evaluation has to happen through serious in-class observation by teachers who know their pedagogy, know the students and know the communities the schools are in.
Points well taken to be sure.
In addition I suggest that to have any semblance of an informed opinion on how to address this proposed fix and the problem "Savage Inequalities" by Jonathan Kozol among others is a must read.
Many of the failures and inequalities we face are by design and much of the design is by the politics of the haves and have nots. Globalization and heated academic competition from primarily China and Indian (England France Germany, etc have always been in the mix) are causing the USA to rethink how we use, abuse, advance and handicap our human resource.
To not understand that the deplorable living conditions and the educational famine that exists in Chicago's North Lawndale and the South Side of Chicago primarily populated by people of color were created by people with power in business and politics who had and have choices is nothing less than irresponsible if you are from Chicago and the President of the United States.
To not be aware that third world conditions that existed and may still exist in East St. Louis, Illinois were contrived and carried out by businessman is to be woefully outgunned, outnumbered, naive and unprepared to lead this country toward a civil, human, equitable, healthy functioning school system for all.

Having said that there are good things in the Obama version such as putting money behind the fix that Bush didn't do. Equity in in teacher distribution is in the language, subgrants to local educational agencies and "Innovation Fund" accommodations also look pretty good to me as far as causing the education system to no longer be self contained and unconstitutional. One may remember that a number of years ago the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the way Ohio funds its schools is unconstitutional yet to date the situation still exists. Unconstitutional or not there may not be a rich suburban school that gives my kid a 20 to 1 edge in spending and opportunity if we move from a house tax based funding of schools to something else "more equitable." So tell me what's fair about that!?