Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
March 24, 2006

We Were Fam-i-ly

Youngwalmart

As a visual piece of corporate propaganda, what’s not to admire?

Maybe it’s not blaxploitation in the classic sense, but there’s ‘ole Andy Young, shaken’ it with a sea of young sisters alongside one big-ass stereo speaker.  Yep, Andy — famous for his role in the civil rights movement, labor activism, and his U.N. ambassadorship — is now whoring (when he’s not dancing) for Wal-Mart.

Obviously, WalMart intends to employ Andy in much the same way the image does.  You pair Young — cued up with all his (ever more) historical social justice credentials –  alongside young, happy go lucky looking managerial-level African-Americans (the ones behind the clutter of corporate badges and logos).  Then, you sit back and let the color and cultural associations obscure the fact Young has far less in common with these kids than he does with the white corporate types who have forked out the cash to own their very own civil rights icon.

But c’mon.  Beyond the surface, does anybody believe this company really cares more than 98¢ about health and beauty aides department manager Sabrina Taylor (left) or ladies apparel department manager Antonia Priest?

And then, what makes this Decatur grand opening “newswire worthy” in the first place … rather than just another piece of big ass corporate PR?

(image: Ric Feld/A.P. March 22, 2006.  Decatur, Ga.  Via YahooNews.)

  • blabby

    The young ladies are really giving him a thrill, and Andy’s proving he’s still up for a little romance. Just look a little below his belt!

  • mugatea

    Andy has the same nervous smile that Joe Lieberman does. Looks like he needs to drink some prune juice to loosen up that mid-section.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/aog/ Annoying Old Guy

    Here is where I just don’t understand the Leftist / Progressive point of view. TheBAG writes

    Beyond the surface, does anybody believe this company really cares more than 98¢ about health and beauty aides department manager Sabrina Taylor (left) or ladies apparel department manager Antonia Priest?

    OK, let’s presume that true. And so …? You obviously consider this a serious indictment of WalMart, but all I can think is that you if look to a corporation for human caring, you need to get more friends.

  • marysz

    It looks like Wal-Mart is using a strategy that has worked well for Microsoft over the years–buying off current (or potential) enemies. It’s like the Bush Administration trying to buy off black ministers. Wal-Mart hopes that activists will self-censor themselves in hopes of getting on the Wal-Mart gravy train. Wal-Mart, over-built in middle America, now has their sights on neglected urban areas. But chains like Save-a-Lot, which operate small stores in the inner city that are reachable by foot, are a better retail model for low-income, urban consumers.

  • crikkett

    I’m no Wal-Mart fan either, but you’re not bitter, Mr. Bag, are you?
    This is almost as nefarious as how Wal-mart’s collaboration with Second Harvest Food Bank in a marketing-cum-fundraising campaign called “Be a Part of the Solution to End Hunger.” People are encouraged to donate money at Wal-Mart counters, with the chain matching up to $5 Million in donations – when 98% of their employees qualify for the Food Bank’s assistance.
    $5 Mil in tax-deductable donations is a lot less expensive than paying their employees living wage.

  • jt from BC

    “Young’s stance reveals the one asset upon which corporate whores will always trade. That asset is our slavish and uncritical deference to elected officials, to civil rights icons, to the clergy, to established authorities. This is what Andy Young’s clients count on, and it’s what Young himself counts on.”
    http://www.alternet.org/story/33068/
    CACTUS saw vaudeville in the Bush staging, well its definitely evident here as well. Between a War Pimp and a WalMart Whore there’s little difference.

  • jt from BC

    AOG, The Corporation is a “legal” person, ( with a psychopathic personality – DSM IV ) but brownie points to you for suggesting we look elsewhere for caring, friendship or Fam-i-ly.

  • ummabdulla

    He’s almost wearing their uniform, isn’t he?

  • http://orwellsgrave.blogspot.com Stephen McArthur

    It’s so embarrassing I have a hard time expressing how much. That Andrew Young is pals with these first class oppressors and exploiters of the world’s impoverished is enough to make Martin Luther King roll over in his grave. He should be on the front line of protest against them, describing to the American people what is wrong with this corporate robber baron, rather than bending over for their cash, kidding himself and trying to make me believe he can really accomplish a damn thing. He should be ashamed. He has basically flushed whatever legacy he might have had right down the toilet.

  • Nelson…

    It seems to me that Wal-Mart spends more time, effort, and money in an attempt to APPEAR to be a responsible company, instead of using that same time, effort, and money to actually BE a responsible company.
    Instead of spending millions of dollars to improve employee wages and health care, let’s spend millions of dollars on a PR campaign showing that our way is the right way!

  • steve laudig

    The article linked to is titled: “Andrew Young goes to bat for Wal-Mart”
    how about “Andrew Young goes to whore for Wal-Mart”

  • http://profile.typekey.com/bgrothus/ bg

    I have no words to say how truly sad this picture makes me feel.

  • Thomas

    As an Atlanta citizen, I have watched the co-option of Andrew Young for many years now. He serves as a member of the boards of directors of numerous organizations and businesses including Delta Airlines, Argus, Host Marriott Corporation, Archer Daniels Midland, Cox Communications, and Thomas Nelson Publishers.
    He sells his reputation to corporations to provide cover for their egrigious business practices.
    It’s a sad, sad evolution.
    Thank God for John Lewis!

  • Karen Bierman

    BAGnewsNotes

  • Karen Bierman

    BAGnewsNotes

Refresh Archives

Random Notes