Confusion Corner: Selling out to rise above the crash

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November 4, 2008

1:59 AM

Just the other day, I was shocked to discover that the United States (and thus the state of Virginia, and thus the College of William and Mary) has run into a significant budgetary crisis.
Forgive me for being behind the times — I promise that as a responsible journalist I flip back and forth between “The Daily Show” and “Jeopardy” on most Tuesday and Thursday nights, so as to keep up with current events. But it’s been tough lately, what with the “Kids’ Tournament” being so good for my self esteem.

It’s also tough for those of us who earn the lavish salaries of the unpaid college columnist. We spend most of our time yachting, indulging in a steady flow of sex and drugs, and burning hundred-dollar bills by the bucketful. (You have to lose money to make money, or so I’ve been told.)

But hearing about the financial crisis disturbed me; I felt for those students who — lacking free access to columnist-only Swedish massage parlors and reputation-crushing secrets about a majority of the College’s Bursar’s Office personnel (through astounding feats of journalistic skill) — would have to cut corners in these tough times. Intending to act out of great compassion (and then brag about it in this column) I decided to solve this crisis that looms ever so irritatingly over our heads. And so I did.

The answer, my dear friends, is simple: product placement.

For the first 315 years of this institution’s existence, we have worked to maintain a certain level of stateliness and decorum in the face of such trying hardships as the Civil War and ’80s music. We now know all we need to about this approach: it was wrong. Such a stance put us exactly where we are now: on our knees, begging the state to continue our funding (and who knows what they’ll make Board of Visitors Rector Michael Powell ’85 do in return). That, however, cannot be our answer. The answer is to sell out, shamelessly.

At a time such as this, it is important to remember that dignity is only a word, while money can be spent on goods and services.

On this front, I have many ideas. Most sports teams around the country name their stadiums after corporations in return for large sums of money. To my mind, that move falls far short. It would provide us with a good start, but I think that a big financial crisis deserves big ideas — solutions for the 21st century. Why can’t I be late for my biology class in McDonald’s Hall because my American politics class (GOV 301: The Tylenol-Advil Debate) ran late due to mandatory weekly consumer polls?

Not only that, but we could vastly extend a company’s traditional markets, in addition to the way in which those markets are reached, by actually placing ads within newspaper articles. Take the following, for instance:

“Cialis: Because Drinking Too Much Happens.”

I’m giving Cialis that one for free, but just think of the possibilities for the future. I’m dreaming of the day when ads separate every newspaper paragraph, and classes are preceded by movie trailers.

Now, before you blame me for coming to the table with nothing real to offer, I’ll inform you that I just closed the deal on a particularly lucrative contract. Thanks to my impressive entrepreneurial skills, as well as the expensively clad elbows I rub while dining at the club (a very awkward moment if the act is not reciprocated) the following is now a done deal, barring the signatures of just a few key people: the Wren cross, brought to you by the Sex Workers Art Show.

A concept so simple, I don’t know why they didn’t think of it last year — maybe I should be made president. And all we need are the signatures of a few state senators — mere formalities, really.

Hell, if the crisis gets bad enough, we could even change the name of Campus Drive to Ukrop Way.

_Brad “Tampax” Clark is a Confusion Corner columnist. He will do anything for your money. Literally anything._

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