Friday, June 17, 2005

Mr. Bill: "To Shell with it"

SNL icon Sluggoed from Louisiana coastal campaign

From Yahoo! via

"Saturday Night Live" icon Mr. Bill is saying a resounding "Nooooo!" to further appearances in a public awareness campaign aimed at saving Louisiana's wetlands.

In recent months state residents have watched as Mr. Bill, the animated clay character famous for his 1970s appearances on the comedy show, lent a hand to ads for the America's Wetland campaign.

But now Mr. Bill's creator, Walter Williams, is yanking his character from the campaign, saying he believes it is selling out to big oil companies the very people accused of having a hand in destroying wetlands in the first place.

Look at the license above. What does the shape of the capitol resemble? Besides that, I mean. An oil derrick, of course, which should surprise exactly no one. In Louisiana, everything's about the oil bidness, even environmental campaigns. Have you ever seen those commercials with birds flying and other pleasant natural footage, followed by some petroleum conglomerate saying, "At Drillerxxonvron Corp., we care about what we rape?" I think they started here.

Williams said Shell Oil Co. is using the campaign to which the company donated $800,000 as a public relations move to masquerade as a green-friendly business. The last straw, he said, came when TV spots featuring Mr. Bill showed up in Shell-sponsored kiosks at tourist centers throughout Louisiana.

"If they had taken the Shell stickers and logos off that would have been fine," Williams said.

I once bought a table-hockey game that had Shell stickers on it. They're EVERYWHERE, much like Sluggo to Mr. Bill. NOOOOO!!

The campaign was kicked off two years ago by former Gov. Mike Foster to sell Americans on the idea that Louisiana's wetlands need billions of dollars in federal help.

That may be the first sentence I've ever read beginning with the words "The campaign was kicked off two years ago by former Gov. Mike Foster" that didn't make me want to tear out my hair.

Louisiana should be happy when it can get such a visible name and face for its most serious environmental issue, a character that can reach across demographics to send such an important message. From all accounts, the promotion was successful and will continue with existing Mr. Bill material. Still, I applaud Walter Williams for taking a bold stand against the co-opting of his campaign by oil interests. If only the state would do the same.

When even Mr. Bill snubs you, that's not good.


Brookelina said...

Mr. Bill is an organ donor! I just knew he would be!

Nick said...

Well, this weekend I'll get to spend quality time with one of Lafayette most promenent Dem. and/or Lib. families, the Bowens. I'll be sure to ask them how Dean is working out for them. It should be fun, especially with my new sticker for my new truck, "Freedom of RELIGION, Not Freedom From."

Ian McGibboney said...

Actually, Nick, that bumper sticker is wrong. We DO have freedom from religion--freedom from government-imposed religion, freedom from religious tests for public office and freedom from government encroachment into our own private beliefs, to name a few. This freedom of religion thing is a pretty flexible thing, and only helps to keep both religion and government uncorrupted (that is, if anyone actually tried it).

Michael said...

Noooo! Having seen Mr. Bill on original SNL shows from the 70's, this makes me sad...I see Williams' point though. No sense in shilling for Sluggo oil drilling.

Nick said...

And for laughs: