Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Wir fahrn, fahrn, fahrn auf der Superbahn

What this country needs is a good, old-fashioned socialist revolution that's not on behalf of investment banks, multinational corporations or professional sports franchises.

We've had enough of the other socialist revolution -- the one that brought us accountability-free Wall Street bailouts, the military-industrial complex and states fighting over corporations like whores fighting over a john with a big . . . wallet. The one that ushered in the members-only welfare state. The one that treats corporations like people and people like trash. The one that socializes risk and privatizes reward.

You can have that socialist revolution. No . . . wait.
I want that socialist revolution. I'll bet you would enjoy it, too.

But if you promise not to blab it all over, I'd probably settle for something as simple as the American Dream . . . which we all thought well within reach back when we still dared to dream.

OK, here's my bottom line, which still might be a bridge too far in this age of country-club kleptomaniacs and the best government campaign donations can buy: Is it too much to ask that if taxpayers are going to shell out major dollars for giant public-works projects, that government at least maintains the
pretense the work was on the public's behalf?

Take sports arenas and stadiums, for example.
Remember when you could remember their names?

Plastichrome- Superdome  sign 1975

REMEMBER when you could remember which ballpark was in which city?

Remember when you could remember what the one you helped pay for is being called this week?

In this age of steel-and-concrete commercials for corporate interests, we were down to just a handful of stadiums you could figure out. One was the Louisiana Superdome.

The Superdome opened in 1975, when I was in ninth grade. Building it was a stretch for a poor state like Louisiana, and we still didn't have too much we could hang our civic-pride hats on even after the Dome opened. But, by God, we had that.

And what a "that" we had.

It was a marvel in 1975 -- about the only thing you could say was world-class about the Gret Stet back then, other than the food and the music -- and it's a marvel today. And still, it's about the only thing you can say is world-class about the Gret Stet, other than the food and the music.

And it was the LOUISIANA Superdome.
Take that, Mississippi. And did you know you could fit the Houston Astrodome inside the thing?

Take that, Texas.

But the Houston Astrodome is now the vacant and dilapidated Reliant Astrodome.

And the Louisiana Superdome -- the pride of a state, the landmark whose ground was hallowed by great suffering during Katrina and which rose from the muck like a swamp phoenix -- is about to become the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Take that, Louisiana. At least you can take small comfort in knowing that German money will be paying billionaire Tom Benson to keep the Saints in New Orleans, and not the cash-strapped state government.

WHAT I WANT to know is this: If a German car company will pay the New Orleans Saints craploads of money to rename the domed stadium built by the people of the Gret Stet of Louisiana, thus keeping the NFL team fat, happy and in town . . .
what else could we get the world's corporate titans to pay for?

For instance, New Orleans is a mess. If any city in America needs a bailout, a makeover and a little domestic nation-building, it's New Orleans. Well, Detroit, too . . . but that's not important now.

Trouble is, Louisiana is still a poor state. And one not particularly inclined, or able, to pull off an urban-renewal project of that magnitude -- especially since Katrina trashed the place.
So, what if we sold naming rights to it?

I don't know about you, but I think Exxon-Mobil, La., has a certain
je ne sais quoi. You think the advertising value is worth, say, $10 billion for 10 years?

C'mon down! And don't forget to visit the Exxon Extra French Quarter and put a tiger in your tank!

Or how about Apple? The hip factor alone should make Crescent City naming rights attractive to the ubercool tech colossus.
Apple, La. Short . . . sweet . . . has pizazz.

Wait! Wait! Three words:
The Drunken Apple. Now, that's a good 30-percent funner than the Big Apple.

PERHAPS I could get used to this selling-your-soul thing.

Maybe Corporate America
even could be persuaded to help out Louisiana with its finances. I think that if we could come up with the perfect naming-rights deal, it just might give the ol' coffers quite the stimulus package.

By jove . . .
I think I've got it!

The Trojan Magnum State Capitol

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