Saturday, September 24, 2005

Martha Burk: Victim

The following story is taken from the following link:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9457272

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NEW YORK - Martha Burk is taking aim at the NHL’s newest television advertisement.

Burk, who led an unsuccessful effort to allow female members at Augusta National three years ago, called the ad “gratuitous” because it shows a scantily clad woman dressing a hockey player before he heads onto the ice.

Burk plans to send letters of protest to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. NBC is scheduled to run the ad next week.

The ad, shown Wednesday at The Museum of Television & Radio to the NHL’s corporate sponsors, is part of the “More Entertainment! More Passion! More Hockey!” campaign to launch the season that begins Oct. 5.

“Here the NHL is trying to portray itself as family entertainment,” Burk said, “and this ad doesn’t support that very well.”

The spot opens with a quote from Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu: “A clever warrior is one who not only wins, but excels at winning with ease.” A bare-chested player sits on a wooden bench in the glow of a candlelit room with a backbeat of drums and rattling sabers. He is approached by a woman in a bra and gauzy robe, who touches his shoulders, asks “Ready?” and helps him put on his shoulder pads and jersey.

She says “It’s time,” and he heads to the ice to the cheers of a man and young boy in the stands. The ad ends with “My NHL, coming 10.05.”

NHL spokeswoman Bernadette Mansur said the ad is part of a five-part “Inside the Warrior” series produced for the NHL. It also appears on the league’s Web site.

“We’re surprised that Ms. Burk would come to that interpretation,” Mansur said. “This ad is very respectful of women. The woman is a spiritual and physical trainer for the warrior, and his mentor.”

Burk sees it differently.

“That’s a major stretch,” she said. “The woman is a sexual ornament, in my view.

“It’s appealing to adult men while trying to masquerade as something for kids. That’s deeply offensive to me. As a mother of two sons, they see enough sex and violence anyway. Why put it in warrior terms? That’s offensive, let alone the sexism.”

A Toronto Star reporter brought the ad to Burk’s attention, and reported her objections in Friday’s edition.

Burk said she has already received hate mail, which she also got after she sent Augusta chairman Hootie Johnson a letter in June 2002, asking him to open the private club’s membership. She helped stage a protest during the 2003 tournament that drew about 50 people and nearly as many counter protesters.

Burk is the chairwoman of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, a network of more than 200 women’s groups that represents 10 million women.

The ad is directed by MTV Video Music Awards winner Sam Bayer. Conductor, a California-based ad agency, produced the spots, which were filmed in British Columbia.

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Attacking the right and privilege of a private organization [Augusta National] to choose its membership as it pleases isn't enough for today's honorary victim, Martha Burk.

In her publicity campaign against Augusta National [a campaign aided greatly by the New York Times, no less], Burk claimed offense on behalf of all women and on behalf of all those who were shut out of the white elite corporate power structure. Now, as I'm not a member of the Movers-And-Shakers club of the world, being an academic who is still sorting out what to do next in life, I certainly never felt offense at a group of people excluding me from their golf club. And I know plenty of women who also asserted the right of free association and the free usage of private property.

But this wasn't enough for Burk. She, in a feat of stunning narcissism, used the sympathetic left-leaning New York Times to put herself on the pedestal of speaking for ALL women, ALL people who are excluded by the corporate power structure. Her on-site protest [well, take "on-site" loosely if you remember what happened!] attracted little grass-roots attention [though the elite media with visions of their forced egalitarianism did its best], which is suprising in today's whacked-out modern culture.

And now, Martha Burk needs more attention called to herself. She has once again, in true narcissistic fashion, placed herself on the pedestal, implicitly claiming to universally speak for women and victims when she claims that the NHL ad campaign is sexually gratuitous and the warrior imagery is offensive.

Of course, in today's climate, one can't tell somebody that, if they're offended, nobody is forcing them to watch the ad or partake in the product offered by the ad. Instead, a spokesman for the NHL has to explain the ad in what appears to be an attempt to reassure poor Ms Burk that she, the center of the universe, is possibly mistaken in her assessment of it.

But, alas, the explanation still doesn't meet Martha Burk's approval. You see, Martha Burk speaks for all women, not merely the women in the various groups she heads. She is a victim --- somebody is forcing her to watch the ad at gunpoint, no less! She needs a compassionate society to protect her! She, the modern enlightened woman who is no doubt on a par with men, needs revival-by-smelling-salts when warrior imagery confronts her! You go, girl!

What we have here is the attempt of a pathetic individual to keep her name on the lips of the cultural elite so that she can continue her victimhood. It's bad enough that she can't have a golf date with Hootie and Company down in Augusta, but now, dearest Lord, she has to confront warrior imagery [gasp!] in an NHL ad broadcast on her living room television set. A league known for its rough physicality [and, let's be honest, the league is marketed in part by its goons and fights] uses warrior imagery --- what a horrible shock! Perhaps the NHL could have an ad campaign with daisies, butterflies, and cocker spaniels frolicking in green sunlit meadows instead.

However, for a victim and narcissist like Martha Burk, even that ad imagery would give her cause for offense, cause for fainting, and, ultimately, a cause for victimhood.

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