March 30, 2007

Shaming Exxon

Shame pole unveiled on anniversary of Exxon Valdez spillThe toughest part about creating a totem pole designed to mock Exxon Mobil on the anniversary of the largest oil spill in U.S. history wasn't carving the details of dying animals.

No, the toughest part was etching the words "We will make you whole again" from the trunk of yellow cedar, said Alaska Native carver Mike Webber of Cordova.

Webber and others believe Exxon broke that promise, made to Cordova residents by a top company official after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, by refusing to pay affected Alaskans billions of dollars in punitive damages.

"It made me so angry it took me a week to carve those words out," he said.
The pole's origin:He didn't balk when the Eyak Native village president in Cordova commissioned him to carve a 7-foot-tall ridicule pole last month.

Webber's Tlingit ancestors carved such poles to embarrass rich people who owed society, but such poles are rare today, he said.
Comment:  I couldn't find a picture of this pole, but here's another shame pole. "The character hanging upside down on this totem pole owes a debt to the village."

8 comments:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
But the only thing that 'shamed' Exxon was the millions of dollars they had to pay out to ostensibly right the environmental wrong they committed. A totem pole more would amuse them than add any more 'shame'. The only thing that shames the white man is if his wallet is flatter than he would like. Which says a lot more than anything else...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

Are you saying the Alaskan Natives are wasting their time with their traditional expression of moral disapproval? Funny to hear one Native dissing other Natives' culture.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
writerfella said no such thing, as Exxon itself is immune to mere protests, just as the Bushies are going to invoke executive privilege and remain immune at the upcoming Congressional hearings. All Exxon did after paying out their environmental penalties was to deduct them from their corporate taxes, then smile and gloat after getting the 'windfall profits' tax laws repealed. The white man has convenient blindnesses and even more convenient lapses in his hearing, when he so wishes. And unless your e-mail is equipped with 'typical stereo', you did not 'hear' one Native dissing other Native's culture. It could have been your radioactive imagination, or maybe you have started hearing all those little voices again...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

A shame poll is intended to shame people by definition. You said it wouldn't work. To be specific, you said, "A totem pole more would amuse them than add any more 'shame'."

Let me reiterate that. You said, "The only thing that shames the white man is if his wallet is flatter than he would like." "The only thing"--a flattened wallet--doesn't include the Alaskan shame pole. If you're too stupid to realize it, you just said the pole won't work. Only a flattened wallet will work, in your anti-Native opinion.

That's not what the people who carved the pole believe. So whether you realize it or not, you just belittled their cultural practice. Oops.

Sorry, Russ, but you're in over your head here. As I've said before, don't say stupid or contradictory things and I won't have to point them out. Do say them and I will point them out...guaranteed.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Truth or dare, spell it 'poll' or 'pole', and then say whether or not YOU'VE made any stupid or contradictory thingsup your own mind. Either ask how the Natives feel in a 'poll', or ask how they feel about a 'pole'. Then you may have found a definitive answer. writerfella already has answered the question twice, without flaw...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

I'm glad you think you've addressed the issue twice. I've pointed out how you said the pole wouldn't work twice--that only a flattened wallet would shame Exxon. Readers can judge for themselves whether you dissed another Native culture or not.

Longtime readers will note that you've dissed at least six or seven tribes that didn't meet your standard of Indian-ness. You know, the standard that you can't or won't articulate? What's one more slight after a half a dozen of them?

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Yes, indeed as writerfella 'interates' but rarely does he 'reiterate', unlike others who post here and restate themselves almost without changing a word, sort of like a voice-mail recording...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

Rob said...

There's no reason to come up with new ways to note your shortcomings when I've nailed them already. As much fun as I have pointing out your mistakes and contradictions, I have better things to do with my time.