Monday, March 12, 2012

New strategy

So there's a story today announcing that Ke$ha (at about 14 minutes of her 15 of fame) has come out against the seal hunt. If I may, to save you time and brain cells, allow me to sum up the comments section to that story, and any other story involving the seal hunt as we enter March Madness.

"You suck!"
"No, you suck!"

Ta da! I have saved you literally hours of your life. You're welcome.

Look, I grew up in Newfoundland and I live in Nunavut. I have a decent education at this time in hopeless battles. Pick a maritime mammal - seal, polar bear, whale - I live, or lived, in places where people have wanted to kill them for various reasons they consider to be quite reasonable in opposition to nearly everyone else in the western world. That's the sad truth of the matter. It terms of cultural battles, these hunts are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. It's the cute seal with big eyes being slaughter, it's the beautiful polar bear, in danger from climate change, being killed by sports hunters. Or the smart, majestic whale being killed for no good reason.

This is where western culture sits at this point. This has been the fight for public perception over the last 40 years. In terms of public perception, pro-hunt people have lost. Of course they have their supporters. But for most people out there, for whom this isn't a life and death issue, the battle has been played out and won over the years. Those supporting these hunts are not on the winning side.

I'm not even getting into which side is right at this point. I'm just saying which side has lost. Pro-hunt people are backed in a deep, dark corner at this point. Maybe that's not right, and maybe that's not fair, but it is reality.

I had a discussion on Twitter last month with a very smart woman in town who argued that all it will take is really good organization and a really good communications strategy and it's entirely possible to turn around public opinion.

I agree with her on that part, although we're talking the "Hamlet" of communications strategies, all right. I've written a few of the buggers in my day. I can't wait to read the one that completely turns around decades of public perception when it comes to seals, or polar bears or whales. They're going to write books about that one. There will be courses at PR schools dedicated to the awe and wonder of that strategy.

But the one thing we disagreed on was money. She didn't think much would be needed. I argue that metric fuckloads of money is going to be required. Once, in a previous life, I joked that I could take an entire government department's budget, give to a PR company that made tobacco companies look good and you would still lose. Anti-hunt advocates are well funded, smart and they've been doing this for so many years it's like breathing for them. And, oh yes, many of them are zealots. Complain all you want about how they're wrong, or distorting the facts. It's a PR battle. The first casualty in these things is the truth.

So money. Lots of money. For advertising campaigns, social media campaigns, for contingencies I can't even think of right now. Lots and lots of it. Because it's not a one year burst of cash and you've won. Or five years. Or 10. Or 20. It's a willingness to spend as much as needed, for as long as needed. You have to shift a cultural perspective. It's going to take a long, long time. I also have no earthly idea where that money is coming from. That's the other problem with losing the culture wars. People will gladly give money to save polar bears's environment. Not so much with the fundraisers to go and kill them. Last time I checked, government's weren't exactly forking over the millions and millions needed. So yes, things are not going well.

If you need further proof, look at Ke$ha today. Of course she's an ignorant twit, but the fact that her opinion on the seal hunt actually made the news should give you an idea of how things are going. They're not going well. At all. So either figure out the strategy and where the money is coming from and starting fighting back or starting preparing for the terms of surrender. Because time is running out where pro-hunt people are going to have the option of making a choice.

Last Five
1. Cloudbursting - Kate Bush
2. The Curse - Josh Ritter*
3. This year's love - David Gray
4. The hitter - Bruce Springsteen
5. La cienega just smiled - Ryan Adams


Unknown said...

I hate it when "stars" get on a soap box for no other reason than they think they should. I'll bet Ke$ha or whatever her name is has never seen a seal unless it was in a zoo. I don't beleive we should hunt things into extinction but I dont think it should just be eliminated either. Some species need hunted to maintain healthy herd numbers. Some folks still hunt to eat. Deer hunting has declined in our area a lot from what it was 30 years ago. We are overrun with deer now. Now all those folks like Ke$ha are screaming about their landscaping being eaten by the herds of deer in their back yard.

Dave H

John, Perth AU said...

I have to admit I have no idea who Ke$ha is, I assume some celebrity, but you have to admire the honesty of putting a dollar sign in your name. Here in Australia, kangaroo culling is an accepted (if highly regulated) activity, in recognition of the harshness of the land. Maybe you need to have people watch the South Park episode "Rainforest Shmainforest", featuring Jennifer Aniston, who I'll bet is a super-Ke$ha.

Jennith said...

I've been dying to say that I think it is Ironic that Ke$ha who preaches to our youth that they should drink themselves stupid, party and sleep with strangers is concerned about baby seals.... Somehow it seems hypocritical to preach self-destruction to human kids and then worry about the plight of seals. I'm not saying that the lives of baby seals are not valuable, just that generally speaking we tend to worry about our own species first.

We live in a strange world.

Way Way Up said...

I blows my mind that people think that just because a person has some sort of celebrity status that this automatically makes them an expert on a given topic.