Saturday, February 28, 2009

And, in the category of 'Worst Damage Control PR Campaign Ever Conceived...'

SOME OF YOU know that from time to time, I have dabbled in the unpredictable but highly compensated sideline known as "damage control," often (if not quite accurately) described by laypeople as spin.

The damage-control specialist is the kind of person who would write, of a nuclear blast that vaporized Manhattan, "Many species of rodent pests that have harassed New York residents for decades were finally eliminated yesterday when..."

Well, the U.S. Department of State has issued one of its occasional travel advisories, this one pertaining to vacationers who'd planned to visit Mexico, which is lately beset by serious street crime on the part of druglords and their marauding gangs.* Though the State Department doesn't mention it here, this crime sometimes has included not-quite-random acts of violence directed pointedly at visiting U.S. citizens (carjackings, a now-and-then rape and/or murder, etc. Although in fairness, these are more likely to occur in places like Haiti).

The Mexican government, intent on defending its honor, has released a statement in which it says there's no need to worry, because "innocent bystanders aren't usually affected." Now there's a line that's bound to inspire confidence in would-be travelers! I can hear the conversation already:

Wife: "Honey, didn't I hear something about how it's dangerous to go to Mexico now?

Husband: "Nah, I wouldn't worry about it. The Mexican government says the automatic-weapons fire usually misses bystanders, or only hits them in non-life-threatening areas of the body."

Wife: "OK then, I'll get the suitcases out. Oh, don't let me forget to pack the snorkles for the kids!"
I also got a kick out of the "tips" that one helpful TV station gives to spring break-minded college students who may head south of the border, particularly this:
"Don't stay out after dark."
Riiight. Also: "Avoid alcohol at all costs."

By the way, if you're a serious thrill-seeker and you're looking to plan a getaway that might include the chance of, say, a beheading or the explosion of a nearby car bomb, here are some destinations that are sure to get the juices flowing.


And here, also, is a press release from Mexico's Board of Tourism regarding the construction of a half-billion-dollar beachfront resort. You'll note the release makes no mention of rumors that the new property will be bulletproof and will include, in its basement, a morgue...

* Does anyone else maraud besides gangs? You always seem to see those two words used in combination.


atillafan said...

I always maraud alone, just personal preference really.

Neuroskeptic said...

I believe bands have been known to maraud. They also rampage, which gangs are less known for. Although when it comes to rampaging you can't beat a horde, really.

Steve Salerno said...

Oh, it's hordes. Funny, I always thought it was rampaging whores.

(Relax, people. It's a joke. A bad one, I grant you. But a joke nevertheless.)

Elizabeth said...

Happy birthday, Steve. (From a tumor-free Elizabeth, whose b-day is the day after yours. :)s

Anonymous said...

I've seen retirees maraud the all-you-can-eat buffet at the Sizzler and Golden Corral at 4:00 PM, in Pompano Beach, FL. It's a scene best described as "disturbing". And the Tuesday morning tourist buses that unload in front of an Atlantic City, NJ casino?? That's certainly more marauding of the artificial hip set.

Along these lines - how come only the president gets to embark or disembark? The Obama family was never described as embarking or disembarking until they received access to Air force One and Marine One (the helicopter). Even Hillary Clinton doesn't "embark" on trips now that she is Secretary of State; she only got to embark when Bill was POTUS.

Steve Salerno said...

I always thought POTUS had an especially apt ring to it when Bill was prez. Sort of onomatopoeic somehow?

Steve Salerno said...

That also reminds me of Carlin's timeless line, "Why do we always say 'without further ado' when there hasn't been any previous ado?"

Dimension Skipper said...

That's great news, Elizabeth! (At least I'm assuming that means that tests were negative on tumors, not that you had any removed.) Hope you're feeling OK, and probably at least greatly relieved.

Happy birthday to both you and Steve!

(Sorry, I got nothin' topical with regard to the post. I know 60 Minutes did a piece on the Mexican situation tonight, but I didn't watch it.)

Elizabeth said...

I had the tumor removed on Friday by a remarkable neurosurgeon, Dr. Maciej Lesniak (who happens to be Polish, btw). He managed to save my hair in the process! An amazing guy, what can I say... Now we are awaiting the pathology reports to make sure the thing was benign as expected. I'm not feeling that great -- the recovery is harder than I thought it would be, mostly because of massive headaches, nausea and vomiting. No fun, but it'll go away, I expect.

John said...

Happy birthday folks!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Steve. (From a tumor-free Elizabeth, whose b-day is the day after yours. :)s

Happy and Healthy Birthdays to both of you too.


PS - we have also heard about scary news about Mexico recently

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for the b-day wishes guys.

Dimension Skipper said...

Well, that's still great news, Elizabeth! I guess I just assumed that had you had anything like that done you would have been absent longer for whatever recovery period.

Of course, you have my best wishes for a smooth speedy recovery and my hope for a good pathology report.