By George, Is that Racism?

Any chance you have seen The Sixth Sense (and for the record, The Sexy Sixth Sense doesn’t count and you know who you are 8^)?  I only bring this particular question up because that is one of the few movies that caught me by surprise at the end.  I usually figure out plot twists early on in movies, which believe me, is mainly due to dumb scripts and not any self proclamation of my deduction skills.  This particular movie pulled it off and caused a pleasant jolt to the system when it happened.  As it turns out, a similar jolt occurred yesterday evening.  A friend of mine (aka gamer tag Pakage) had his large screen TV go on the fritz and I was helping him get it to American in order see if they could fix it.  During the drive across town, we were discussing their policy on repairs – for the curious, it is 70 bucks to look at it and if you decide to get it fixed, they apply that money to the repair bill.  Against my best defenses, some commercials had recently made their way through my defenses.  This I will blame on my wife or the remote being more than 10 feet away and I was too exhausted to make the reach.  One of those commercials was the new Sharp Quattron offering – this being a supposed revolution in TV visuals based on adding a fourth color to the standard 3 color RGB channels.  George Takei (okay, for you non-nerds, that would be Sulu from Star Trek) was hired by Sharp to pimp this new technology.  George proceeds to tell us how much better this new breakthrough is allowing everyone to experience colors never before seen on TV.  Of course, we are then subjected to George’s alternative lifestyle flare “Oh My” statement which is sure to alienate a segment of the marketspace.  I on the other hand wound not consider purchasing it on the grounds it is being endorsed by someone related to Star Trek (note to marketers – this includes any cast member … think Priceline).  Anyway, I was busy explaining this to my friend when he stopped me and asked “What did you say they added?”  Noting the inquisitive tone, I restated that they had added “a yellow channel to the standard red green blue”.  He started chuckling and it then the jolt hit.  Figure it out yet… no problem, I’ll wait a bit.. [Jeopardy Jingle] .. pens down please.  Let me put it together for greater emphasis.   Sharp added a yellow channel and picked Takei to market it.  Somehow this had went completely unnoticed when I was watching the commercial.  Contrast that with my friend Pak (his real name revealing his Korean heritage) noticed this IMMEDIATELY.  Internal questions immediately followed.  Did Sharp miss this connection?  Did they do it intentionally? Does it seem odd there is not a Liberal outcry?  and the last two interesting introspections “Am I a racist because it didn’t disturb me when I first saw it? .. or .. does this mean I am not racist because I didn’t put two and two together?  I personally do not see myself as negatively influenced by race (note to readers, SOCIALISM is not a race).  I think part of that feeling is I have had the pleasure of having close friends and interacting with others of different backgrounds, different preferences and from all parts of the world.  Now when it comes to Talpidae.. yeah, I hate them and their entire ancestry.

By the way, we actually went to check one of these TVs out while we were there – turns out they are not available and according to the salesman there, Mitsubishi has been 4 channeling it for some time now.  It also looks like there are a lot of discussions floating around the web whether this even provides any value unless the origins of the signal are still in 3 channel mode.  To be honest, it doesn’t really matter to me since I have no interest in replacing my current TVs – oh, and this goes for the stupid 3D TVs they are trying to push on consumers now.  Sure they are cool, but I spent $3K to not  have to wear glasses, why would I want to start wearing them again.. especially when I am trying to relax.

In summary, I am not sure if Sharp intentionally did this marketing blunder, but in these days of Code of Conducts, it is all about perceptions.  In my opinion, this was NOT a very Sharp decision.


I have had an article on my desk since December 21st, 2007 just waiting for me to get time to actually comment on it.  Based on recent follow on stories, this turns out to be a perfect time to do just that.  The subject of the Entertainment Weekly article was Wesley Snipes and his pending fall from grace due to alleged (at the time) legal issues with the Internal Revenue Service.  So with Wesley all dolled up in his heritage clothes he agrees to meet with the article’s author in his “huge stucco estate with postcard views and endless lawns… identical to every other million-dollar house.”  The article points out his fall from $10M/film status down to ONLY $2M, his staff bringing them fresh fruit and the pending trial on eight counts of tax fraud that could net him 16 years in prison.  Apparently he was trying to defraud the IRS of >$11M (or a little more than one of his earlier movies) and get this… not filing a return at all from 99-04 – later in the article he blames his advisors – apparently he never expected this may be wrong – but admits “the [$11M] refunds may have been a bit aggressive” but based on a premise that income from U.S. citizens wasn’t taxable (WHAT?).

The story rambles on a bit but eventually comes to Snipes’ stardom downfall on claims of “color of his skin”, “[s]ystematic racism”, “so few guys who do action and do it well … even fewer who are African-American”, “black man is usually the culprit”.  This from the actor who was star of the movie White Man Can’t Jump and in Passenger 57 had no problem referencing race with “Always bet on black”.  Oh the hardships of a multi-millionaire, mansion living, staff serving actor who doesn’t feel he should pay as much (as in none) taxes as 99% of the rest of the American citizens. 

… but recent jury decisions has brought this into a whole new perspective.  I now have the “rest of the story” thanks to a recent AP article stating that he will serve 3 (hmmm seems someone may have benefited from his fame since it was suppose to be up to 16 years). 

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