Let them drink Guinness
No matter how hard Coors Brewing Company tries to clean up its act, the Golden-based business just can't catch a break. Having successfully smoothed over angry unions, environmentalists, people of color and gays, Coors has now irritated the Irish -- a hard-drinking population that a brewery can't afford to alienate.
According to the current American Irish Newsletter, some Irish-Americans are upset over a Coors T-shirt that separates Ireland and Northern Ireland. "Coors Brewing Company promotes the partition of Ireland on a T-shirt that is available at the company's Web site, among other places," the front-page article reads. The $10 white Killian's Irish Map Tee pictures a map of Ireland with the Killian's logo in the middle; the 26 counties that make up Ireland are dark green, while the six northern counties that comprise British-ruled Northern Ireland are a lighter shade of green.
"Coors sells its products -- particularly its pseudo-Irish Killian's Red -- at American Irish festivals every year," the article continues. "[We] are therefore in a good position to pressure the company to accurately reflect Irish culture by presenting a map of Ireland that is not partitioned."
Sandy Carlson, editor of the newsletter and spokeswoman for the American Ireland Education Foundation, admits that the brewhaha "isn't the largest issue we face. It's -- pardon the pun -- small potatoes. But it is about promoting awareness and sensitivity...Ireland is one nation, culturally and historically, and the T-shirt should reflect that instead of an arbitrary political border. We didn't want to get too much into the Irish beer thing because of the stereotype of the Irish drunk. But they might as well get it right, because they market their products to us."
And to help Coors get it right, the article even suggested a boycott of the beer and provided the company's phone number so people could call and complain.
The tactic worked. Last week, Coors -- which has faced boycotts in the past from other segments of the population ("The Other Coors Spokesman," September 2) -- promised to discontinue the T-shirt because of the complaints.
"We are certainly not going to get involved in annoying consumers and creating ill will," says company spokesman Dave Taylor. "We are a beer company, and we are interested in marketing and selling our product. We are certainly not experts in cartography and international politics. We are experts in beer...There was no intent of a political statement on our part in the way the map of Ireland was depicted."
Taylor says that some callers even told him the T-shirt was correct in its depiction of Ireland. "They obviously have varying opinions on what is Ireland," he adds. "I assume we will have a new T-shirt that won't offend folks...if that is possible to do."
Ireland, this spud's for you.
It may make interesting reading for the Federal Aviation Administration, but the next time you're waiting in the concourse at Denver International Airport, you may want to avoid a new paperback named Decree. Written by Colorado author G.H. Spaulding, the self-published novel recounts a terrorist plot to blow up DIA. The main character is Nicolas McCayne, an assistant professor of international relations at the University of Denver who angers Iranian terrorists with a book he writes.
Spaulding's work is fiction, of course, but he purports to have uncovered a real-life weakness in the airport's security system. "[DIA] is arguably the most technologically sophisticated international airport in the world," says Spaulding's manager, Anita E. Whelchel. "As such, it could be a prime target for terrorists. Additionally, the design features that enable this state-of-the-art airport to operate efficiently make it vulnerable to a particular kind of terrorist attack." To find out more specifics, though, you'll have to read the book.
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And that's something DIA spokesman Chuck Cannon has yet to do. In fact, he says he hasn't heard of Decree or its author. "It might be interesting to see what his theory is," Cannon adds. "I suspect that the subject matter might be of interest to some security people. You can attack anything if you are willing to sacrifice life and limb in the bargain."
Spaulding, who is a former Navy pilot, intelligence officer and diplomat, says he once applied for the job of assistant division director for airport operations at DIA. His preparation for the interview (he didn't get the job) inspired the book and, no doubt, this exciting promotional line: "They know it's coming. They know precisely when it's coming. Yet they're powerless to stop it."
If only we could say the same for our baggage.