When BP announced earlier this month that it's sending chefs and musicians from the Gulf Coast to the 2012 Olympics in London, which officially kicks off this week, there was mostly positive press from Gulf papers proud to send their hallmark chefs and cuisines to thousands of potential future tourists as part of the oil giant's "Spirit of the Gulf" promotion.
But last week, U.K.'s The Guardian, under the headline "BP's 'spirit of the Gulf' Olympics hospitality is hard to swallow," didn't exactly roll out the welcome mat: "BP has co-opted the phrase 'spirit of the Gulf' as a promotional device to position itself as the gatekeeper to the region's culture and cuisine," and quotes frequent oil disaster source and shrimper Dean Blanchard. Writer Laurie Tuffrey writes:
In the light of the Louisiana memorial's litany of loss, it's hard to say exactly how BP has promoted the Gulf Coast. Ravaging ecosystems and destroying community livelihoods, though, probably wouldn't make the list.
This Olympic marketing move looks, at best, horrifically ironic and, at worst, like rubbing salt (or should I say oil?) in the wound.
Mother Jones, which points back to this blog, writes that BP is sending a message that "Everything's fine in the post-spill Gulf; the 2010 spill and any ill effects from it are dead and gone."
Meanwhile, the Deepwater Horizon disaster will get its big screen treatment, courtesy of the Twilight producers — Deadline reports that Matthew Sand's script (based on a The New York Times article by David Barstow, David Rohde and Stephanie Saul) got picked up.
As I speculated last year: "the producers are looking to score with a big budget hero-faces-disaster tale, along the lines of World Trade Center or Armageddon. Or a disaster epic, a Towering Inferno-type on the high seas."
This is terrifying enough, thanks.
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