Jewish World Review Sept. 3, 2002 / 26 Elul, 5762
Last week, the Pepsi-Cola company announced they hired the rapper Ludacris to do a commercial that would run during the MTV awards. Seemed like a good move on paper, as Ludacris sells millions of records to the young people that Pepsi wants lapping up soda.
But Ludacris is a thug rapper. His lyrics celebrate intoxication, irresponsible sex, drug dealing and violence. The man brags he has a "ho" in every area code. He raps that "I'm DUI, hardly ever sober."
In proudly announcing the acquisition of Ludacris' services, the director of "multicultural marketing" at Pepsi, Giuseppe D'Alessandro, said: "There's a new Pepsi generation. Our youth are colorblind, and very diverse."
Well, that's swell, Giuseppe, but is the "new Pepsi generation" deaf as well as color blind? Ludacris espouses illegal, anti-social and subversive conduct all over the place. So what's up with that, my multicultural friend?
Under withering criticism from me on television and radio, Pepsi promptly dumped Ludacris and pulled the ad. Good for them. Pepsi has made trillions of dollars in America, and it owes the country some sense of decency. By paying and promoting Ludacris, Pepsi-Cola was rewarding bad behavior and encouraging children to sample his tawdry wares.
The reason that Pepsi reversed itself is that thousands of Americans e-mailed the company and said they would not buy its products as long as Ludacris was endorsing them. The power of the people prevailed. Let's hope a trend has started here.
But Pepsi is not alone in enriching people that deserve to be scorned, not celebrated.
Have you seen this "The Anna Nicole Smith Show" on the E-cable network? Here is a woman who bought herself giant breasts, posed naked, married an 89-year-old millionaire and hungrily gathered up his money when he expired. That's Ms. Smith's entire resume.
Yet she is given a national television program on which she displays no talent, an incredible lack of intelligence and is snippy to boot. I watched in horror for 10 minutes as this woman wandered around aimlessly murdering the English language and sneering into the camera. I finally bailed when she decided to get a garish tattoo put on her substantial ankle. If this is entertainment, I am Michael Jackson.
And then there's Michael Irvin. The former Dallas Cowboy was constantly in trouble with drugs and other questionable stuff as a player, and now he's been hired by Fox Sports Net as a commentator. Why? Because like Anna Nicole Smith, he's notorious. Irvin has no broadcast talent and is depriving somebody who does of a job.
The list of undesirables that have prospered because of their misbehavior is long and depressing. Eminem gets a Grammy. Mike Tyson gets a boxing license. Monica Lewinsky gets a book deal. Enough already!
We need to stop celebrating awful people and start shunning them. And if giant corporations insist on hiring these pinheads, then we should shun the companies. America is becoming a giant sideshow where degenerates are in demand. What's next, a reality program featuring Michael Skakel?
Way back in the beginning, President George Washington nailed it. He said this: "Associate yourself with men of quality if you esteem your reputation, for 'tis better to be alone than in bad company."
Words to live by. And I am sending that quote to Pepsi-Cola. Perhaps they'll pass it along to the new Pepsi generation.
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08/26/02: Money makes the world go 'round