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Abiding, Part IX

The Dude on Corporate Activism



 

After explaining that the BP gusher is too big a problem to be solved by celebrity telethons, Jeff Dowd, the inspiration for The Dude in "The Big Lebowski," encourages corporate activism.

 

 

JD: I think [celebrities] mention it all the time, it's not a focus, I mean, you got Kevin Costner and his thing and of course, he was telling everybody this for years. Whether the thing works so well or not, the point is, and I hope it does, the point is, he gets the history, he's been saying for years here's a solution, here's a solution and p.s. my thing'll scoop up the oil and you won't even lose it, so it's like a win-win, like who wouldn't to have those things? 

 

There is no consideration, it's very simple, everything is quarterly, short-term. Just like in sports team management. So, if you don't do that, you're not in the game. The game is all wrong. It's like, my friend John (Kern? Caron?), when they were trying to get dolphin-free tuna, right? And, remember, they were killing dolphins.

 

LC: Right.

 

JD: He was an activist, publicist, that guy, and they went to StarKist and the point was they would say, oh we'll never do this thing, never do this and he made the point of well, wait a second, if you did this, everybody else, you know 'cause kids are going to be saying don't kill the dolphins and all that stuff and these moms that shop are going to kill the dolphins and everything like that, who doesn't like Flipper, blah, blah, blah. 

 

And so what happens is, actually, I work with Sam Johnson of  S.C. Johnson & Co., by the way, a great company that was first to get rid of fluorocarbons and stuff, not to be confused with Johnson & Johnson baby powder, and they got rid of fluorocarbons and they led the way, so Sam's on the board of StarKist, it turns out. So all the guys on the board are like we can't do that and Sam's like, bullshit, that's exactly what you should do, exactly what you should do is set a standard and it'll be a win - win for you too.

 

 

LC: Like in "Heaven Can Wait." See, "Heaven Can Wait" imagined it and then you can have it in real life.

 

 

JD: And then, guess what, they got much more business and every other company had to follow suit. I mean, you still got the problem with the Japanese and stuff, but that's a whole other thing. But the companies here all followed suit. You know, you can't buy anything but dolphin-free tuna anymore. That's the point, so you just raise the standard and if we don't, we're gonna perish.

 

 

LC: Yeah.

 

 

JD: Every way, of disease and cancer, boy that thing I saw today, I don't know if

you saw it, I saw it on Keith Olbermann or someplace, where they had the guy who was flying over the Gulf, showing how much oil is really out there? And they have the fires (this was when we were still burning oil off of the well), and these fires are unbelievable pollution in the atmosphere now, killing birds and who knows where that shit's going, and he says, it's like a tea cup in the ocean, the fires. There's an unbelievable amount of smoke but they're doing like one millionth of what they'd have to burn and they continue to burn it. It's like the stupidest thing in the world to do. It's like insane. 

 

So, the point is we've got to do modeling. Companies gotta do modeling. Big companies gotta do modeling. You know, they do to a certain extent, they've done it with health things and stopping abuse and things like that. Big companies gotta do it, entrepreneurs gotta do it, communities gotta do it, families have to do it, you know, they have to model better for their kids sometimes. I certainly do and so my parents shoulda done and all that kind of stuff. 

 

So, that's where we're sitting in history right now. My book is - is it the best of times or the worst of times? You know, it's one of the things I talk about on college speaking tours. You know, it could be the worst of times or we could make it the best of times.

 

Next week, The Dude explains why "The Big Lebowski" abides and how it saved a life.


www.lauracayouette.com

www.latonola.com

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