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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 26, 1996)
Tuesday, March 26,1996 Page 4
Editorial Board •
University of Nebraska-ltncoln
J. Christopher Haiti.,.Editor, 472-1766
Doug Kouma. Managing Editor
Doug Peters. Opinion Page Editor
Sarah Scalet. Associate News Editor
Matt Waite.Associate News Editor
Michelle Garner.Wire Editor
Abuse of power
Stenberg uses office to condemn policy
Office-holders get all the breaks when election time rolls
around. A public office comes with a boatload of perks.
But forget the franking privilege and all that other irrelevant
stuff normally associated with incumbents and elections —
Attorney General Don Stenberg knows the real bonus of holding
an office during election season:.
A lofty perch from which to sling mud and distort issues.
The most recent example of this was Stenberg’s audacious
segue last Wednesday from law enforcement to morality.
The attorney general saw fit to use his position to criticize the
policy of allowing parolees to live with girlfriends. That move is
100 percent within Stenberg’s authority as attorney general of this
state — if there is a logical reason for the criticism.
Stenberg, however, cited only one incident when a paroled
prisoner living with a girlfriend ran afoul of the law. Does the fact
he was living with his girlfriend really have anything to do with it,
Probably not — which is why Stenberg didn’t dwell on the
case. Instead, he chose to don his preaching frock and deliver his
“The State of Nebraska ought not authorize and approve
cohabitation of unmarried men and women in this manner,”
“What kind of example does this set for our young people,” he
continued, “when the State of Nebraska gives its official approval
to the cohabitation of unmarried men and women?”
When we last checked, the approval of the state government
was not a consideration when choosing roommates. It shouldn’t
be, either — even for those on parole.
So why did Stenberg choose to bring this issue up loudly
enough to get it on the front page of Midlands News section in
last Thursday’s Omaha World-Herald?
Easy. Don Stenberg is running for the U.S. Senate—probably
against Gov. Ben Nelson. The opportunity to tiy and fool voters
into blaming Nelson for every parole board policy was just too
So Stenberg labeled the parole board policy a “Nelson adminis
tration policy”; he abused his position as attorney general in order
to muddle the issues and sling some mud Nelson’s way.
And at the same time, he got to force his code of morals down
voters’ throats, giving us a taste of things to come.
And remember: it’s only March.
Staff editorials represent the official
policy of the Spring 19% Daily Ne
braskan. Policy is set by the Daily
Nebraskan Editorial Board. Editorials
do not necessarily reflect the views of
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dents or the NU Board of Regents.
Editorial columns represent the opin
ion of the author. The regents publish
die Daily Nebraskan. They establish
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vise the daily production of the paper.
According to policy set by the regents,
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The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief letters to the
editor from all readers and interested others. Letters
will be selected for publication on the basis of clarity,
originality, timeliness and space available. The Daily
Nebraskan retains the right to edit or reject all material
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SPRING? IS WINTER,
winter is mm
WEE WEE.... ^
^ mi %my
Advertisers blast public from every angle
WASHINGTON — Five months
after my son’s birth, it was time for
some outside entertainment. First
stop was a local movie theater.
Settling in, I watched the screen
fill with a single word, “love.” No
movement, no scenes from a new
film —just “love.” After an eternity,
I learned what I was watching: an ad
for the new Beatles anthology.
Then came commercials for
Plymouth automobiles and Coca
Cola. I noticed that the popcorn that
was once sold in a tacky red bag
now came in an artsy black and
white sack — complete with a
designer jeans ad.
The next week, we attended a
Washington Bullets basketball game.
While cheering the home team on to
yet another loss, I noticed that scores
of steps at USAir Arena had been
stenciled with the words “Office
Depot.” I saw entrance portals
pushing Safeway, CVS and GEICO;
scoreboards hawking Marlboro and
Amtrak; “TOYOTA”-printed pads
wrapping the backboard supports.
Two miniature dirigibles, with
“Domino’s Pizza” and “Lays”
(potato chips) printed on them,
spouted coupons onto our heads.
Even my employer, the Washington
Post, had a blurb on the giant screen.
All told, I counted 336 surfaces
— including the uniforms of the
“Reebok Bullettcs” cheerleaders —
plastered with logos in die arena.
It didn't bother me so much that
my husband and I paid good money
to see a mediocre movie and a losing
game. What was irksome was that
we spent a combined $88 — $ 14 for
the film and $74 for two game
tickets — to have several hundred
companies hawk their wares at us.
What was bothersome was that it
took being out of the loop for
several months to poticc the
inescapability of advertising, and
how accustomed we’ve become to it.
Like other baby boomers, I grew
up with television, the medium that
years ago permanently implanted
“Does she or doesn’t she?” and “I
can’t believe I ate the whole thing”
“Don’t other folks
wonder ivhy there’s a
parade of men, women
and kids acting as
billboards for Tommy
Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren,
Nautica, DKNY and
into my brain. But in those pre-cable
days, television was always free.
Now we pay for the privilege of
being sold to.
Am I the only one who thinks
merchandising has gotten out of
hand? Don’t other folks wonder why
there’s a parade of men, women and
kids acting as unpaid human
billboards for Tommy Hilfiger,
Ralph Lauren, Nautica, DKNY and
Receipt tapes at the grocery store
now advertise the local cleaners and
oil-change establishments. Half
hour infomercials sell “essential”
hair straightcncrs and vitamins. The
Eddie Bauer model of the Ford
Explorer sports-utility vehicle offers
a few additional features for an
additional two grand.
Sporting events may be the worst.
Every phase of the proceedings is
sponsored: the building (Phoeiyx’s
America West Arena, Washington’s
coming MCI Center); the halftime
show (the “Prudential Halftime
Report'’); the states (“Dutch Boy In
The Paint”); Nike “jewelry” pinned
to the lapels of college coaches; and
messages embedded in the ice on
which hockey players skate (Bud Ice
beer). Recently, my 10-year-old
noticed that towels used by players
during an NBA game featured three
Perry Ellis insignias.
And don’t even think about ads
on the Internet.
Is this stuff merely irritating, or
has it turned us into a nation of
spending drones? Paul Farhi, a
business reporter for The Post, says
he, too, was floored by the amount
of advertising at a recent basketball
game. Farhi has written about what
he calls “over-commercialization,”
but says, “I don’t think anybody -
cares.... There’s so much of it,
people fail to notice it anymore.”
Silver Spring, Md., graduate
student Kathy Rushing dismisses the
ads we find in our mail, grocery
carts, even in school materials, as
“background noise'’ — except when
it comes to her three children.
“It’s become an important part of
parenting to make kids aware that
advertising wants to manipulate
them,” says Rushing, who recently
found herself discussing a perfume
TV commercial with her daughter,
17. “It was supposed to be sexy, but
sort of glamorized someone who
was almost like a stalker. It really
bothered Jessica at this stage of her
No wonder I became hypersensi
tive about ads after having a baby.
Merchandising, says Rushing, has
become “another piece of society
(parents) have to fight against.”
We’ll never win. Recently, my
husband bought the cutest infant
size denim jacket. I loved it —
except for the “Gap Classic” logo on
back. When I suggested to Kevin
that I would have problems with
letting our baby shill for the Gapfhe
fixed me with ah unmistakable look.
Just Do It.
(C) 19% WasMegto* Pott Writers Group
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