Duke University

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Penn State website is a good place for official announcements on the story.

Penn State website is a good place for official announcements on the story.

Somewhere a new PR text book is being written following early news of the worst collegiate sports, make that collegiate, scandal of all time. Who could have predicted that Penn State University and Joe Paterno could have gone from squeaky clean to skeevy in a matter of days. Heads have rolled, arrests have been made, investigations have been launched, and the rumor mill continues to churn. After what has already been divulged, pretty much nothing is out of the realm of possibility now.

Moment of unity at first PSU football game after the story broke.

Moment of unity at first PSU football game after the story broke.

Fewer and fewer people are leaping to the defense of Joe Paterno because of his apparent lack of action in this scandal, although one who is, NFL great Franco Harris, just lost his spokesperson gig with a western PA casino for his vocal support of JoePa.

Every day, another stunner. The Bob Costas interview with Jerry Sandusky left viewers feeling slimed. Friday, Michael Smerconish’s column in the Inquirer revealed that the university had six months to prepare for this coming storm . It continues to be hard to imagine how you could possibley put any kind of positive spin on charges of pedophilia and cover-ups. As evidenced already, words like “horseplay” don’t cut it.

Only two things have given me pause about  completely rushing to judgment about this debacle. One is the way certain high profile cases, from the Duke lacrosse scandal, to the Amirault day care kangaroo court saga, have turned out far differently than initially reported.

PSU students have created a support wall on campus.

PSU students have created a support wall on campus.

The other is the brilliant Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon, in which an incident involving rape and murder is told from four different perspectives, the attacker, the two victims, and a witness. The truth in this case (and every case), when told from different perspectives, can change like shifting sands.

This 1950 world cinema classic deserves regular screenings on the State College campus in the months ahead. It is important to remember that not all that is being reported now is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We owe it to the real victims, the crumbling Second Mile foundation, and every PSU student, faculty member, administrator, alumni, and alumna affected by this outrage.

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One of the many pleasures of watching Mad Men is to get a glimpse of advertising reflective of the era’s very different but not so long ago societal viewpoints. Call it un-PC, non-diversity-trained, unsustainable, pre-regulatory, “anything goes” pitching (or sexist, racist, homophobic, capitalistic, every other variety of irresponsible or unenlightened), but it is never less than fascinating of how times have changed and changed quickly.

I was reminded of this when I came across this link on Philly.com to a collection of 72 print ads from Inquirer archives from the 1950s. It is a trip down Memory Lane just to be reminded of all the old local retailers, from John Wanamaker, to Gimbels, to Lit Brothers.

Sugar Crisp was once golden (and now renamed that) at Post. Now, it is the S word.

Sugar Crisp was once golden (and now renamed that) at Post. Now, it is the S word.

This morning, I had a bowl of Post Golden Crisp, but this ad is a reminder that Sugar was once not a dirty word. Poor Sugar Bear had to go into the witness protection program some time around 1995.

Meanwhile, at  local long-gone icon Horn & Hardart, before there was vending self-service, there was evidently white glove service for captains of industry.

 The lunchtime meeting of Ajax Inc.’s diversity committee will now come to order.

The lunchtime meeting of Ajax Inc.’s diversity committee will now come to order.

In terms of TV spots, Duke University Libraries holds a terrific archive of commercials produced for clients of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and now held in the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History collection and accessible free through ITunes University — AdViews Collection. Here is the AdViews web site.

YouTube is also a great repository of old spots that will suck you in and keep you revisiting “The Golden Age of Advertising”.  An old Bob and Ray spot for Piels Beer is a good departure point.

Finally, lots of interesting collections of old commercials are available through Amazon and eBay.

Vintage commercials collections DVDs are plentiful.

Vintage commercials collections DVDs are plentiful.

This compilation DVD of 1001 Classic Commercials kept me entertained in my man cave throughout the holidays last year. Down there, you can still swill beer, play with GI Joes, crack questionable jokes, and ogle January Jones and other Barbie-like women.

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