I have been somewhat preoccupied, lately, with matters deeply personal. Also, I don't have regular television, so I miss such trifles such as State of the Union addresses, the latest political scandals, and the unveiling of new ad campaigns (via The Super Bowl or otherwise).
I have not, however, managed to miss Mike Rowe's newest foray into the tangled web of the advertising world.
Below, please find a letter I composed entirely in my head, because really? It's the only way I can pretend he would read it!
I hope I may be so familiar as to call you Mike. I have been a fan since just after the beginning of forever. I have admitted in public that I have a ridiculous fan-girl crush on you and, when asked what famous person I would like to have with me if I was trapped on a deserted island, I didn't have to think twice before speaking your name. Call me selfish, but if I must spend time as a castaway, I would prefer it be with an intelligent, witty, and talented person.
I have claimed that I would listen to you read the phone book or The President's memoir. Of the two, I would prefer the phone book. I abhor politics and politicians, but if you ran for public office I would vote for you in a heartbeat.
I've had the good fortune to hear a few brief snatches of your singing. There is a quality to your voice that triggers a response deep in my brain and soothes me, makes me smile. I'd consider myself well and truly blessed to sing with you, and die a happy woman having done so. I often laugh at the astonishment of people who don't know that you can actually carry a tune in a bucket when they first hear you singing.
I was an avid viewer of Dirty Jobs until I lost my connection to the televised world, and even after that sad day I still watched what I could on the Internet and on others' televisions. I will listen to advertisements just to hear your voice and experience that delicious little shiver that inevitably comes with hearing you speak.
Which brings me to the meat of the matter.
You recently unveiled a new advertising campaign for WalMart.
Good for you.
Wait, what? You were expecting another in a long line of chastisements or outright attacks?
No, sir, not from me.
You see, you have integrity.
Integrity - adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
I don't much care for Wal Mart. I don't like their corporate ethic, the way they treat their employees, their hugely negative environmental impact. I don't like that they bully local governments into giving them huge tax breaks and incentives to build by threatening to build elsewhere and destroy the local economy anyway. I don't like that they actively seek to close small businesses and encourage their representatives to wager as to how long it will take before small town business areas are as devoid of life as a politician's conscience.
I have had occasion to opine that Wal Mart is a prime example of greed and corruption run rampant and is an incarnation of evil in its current state, second only to Congress. In fact, I rarely refer to it by name, preferring to call it The Evil Empire.
I found it deeply saddening that they strayed so far from Sam Walton's ethic.
So why congratulate you for working with them?
Mike, you are about jobs. Specifically blue collar type jobs. You have been a staunch advocate for the working class, a voice in the wilderness concerning the folly of enforcing the idea that college is the only way. You have not been shy about speaking of the need for blue collar workers, skilled labor, the underpinnings of our society.
The ad for Wal Mart isn't about Wal Mart. It is about awakening the slumbering giant of our once proud manufacturing system. Opening factories. Creating jobs.
I don't see an ad for the Evil Empire. I see a man well within his integrity helping to push the button that will once more start the great machine.
If Wal Mart keeps their word, follows through, freshens our economy and employs our workforce, then more power to them. I have my doubts as to their integrity, but that's not a reflection on you, Mike.
Thank you for being so bold as to act according to your values despite risk of disapprobation from others. I find it refreshing.
Shade and Sweetwater,
In case anyone hasn't seen it and is wondering: