I am dating myself here, but there was a time when the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl was just the Fiesta Bowl and the Rose Bowl was just the Rose Bowl and not “The Rose Bowl game presented by Citi”. In the apparent ancient times, a stadium was just a stadium and not privately financed and named by and after a mega home office/supply chain. There was a time when athletes didn’t have logos slapped on every exposed inch of skin and tennis courts weren’t ringed by teleprompting machines constantly reminding us of corporate sponsorship. But that time, I regret to say, has disappeared.
So why, then, am I surprised to read that the commonwealth of Virginia is selling naming rights to all of their rest stops and welcome centers? Ostensibly this move will enable the state to help pay for the $20 million of necessary upkeep in an economic climate unfriendly to government involvement.
It’s not just you who are strapped for cash – it’s your state too! Okay, I get that. I get that the federal government is wrestling with a congressional resolution in order NOT to shut itself down, a skyrocketing deficit, trillions of dollars of debt and that many states are perpetually harassed by their own constitutions to have balanced budgets. I just have to wonder – at what point do we stop?
In the not so distant future will we, while swimming in amniotic fluid, have chips implanted in our developing limbs that set us apart as Microsoft or Apple babies? Will my great-great grandchildren be subject to discrimination because their great-great grandmother didn’t make allowances for them to be trustees of the Nikon-Audi Harvard School of Business? And what about the low and middle income nations? Will Ghanaians be sponsored by the entire country of China???
At what point do we realize that money can not and will not solve all of our problems? Are we now defining ourselves only as financial entities?
As long as we are fiscally irresponsible, caught up in an economic paradigm that encourages debt through such fallacies as “having good credit” (hogwash, why do I need to show you I can pay back money I’ve borrowed when I can just give you the money?? Why can’t I just spend what I have rather than be dinged for never having been in debt? Idiotic!) then I doubt we will ever get a hold of ourselves. We run amok trying to attain that elusive American Dream instead of creating a new dream for ourselves — one that allows us good financial stewardship and a freedom from “needing to have the…”
At multiple points during my miserly medical school years, I thought of putting ads on my car to subsidize my existence but I could never go through with it. There was just something demeaning about me zipping around da burgh in a heavily tattooed Toyota – showing to all how poor I was. Maybe it was my pride that kept me from following through. Maybe it was my inherent paranoia that I could be easily identified by cops. Or maybe, somewhere, deep inside, I knew that somehow God would provide and that I wouldn’t have to sell my soul.