Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Superdome: "Lord won't you buy me, Mercedes Benz"

I've tried to shy away from pure punditry in the past year or so on AZ.  I made up my mind that unless I had some bits of information to share, I should forego the time it takes to post.  That, of course, doesn't mean I don't gleefully inject my own opinion into everything but I do try to make sure I'm being informative without just being another asshole with an opinion.  I aspire to be another asshole with an opinion and some good information to boot.

On this matter, I have no new information but I would like to share my opinion.

Here's what I think....in the grand scheme of things I think this could be a really good thing for the city.

Now, I am no fan of mega-corporations and I am definitely not a fan of Tom Bentsen.  I also love the fact that the dome is called the "Louisiana Superdome".  Yes...it is ours....it's sacred ground in ways that not even Wrigley Field is to Chicago.  It will always be a metaphorical anchor in most New Orleanians' subconscious.  Nowhere else in the city has there been so much joy and misery under one roof (unless you remember Monaco Bob's but that's another discussion altogether).

The dome has survived attempts to destroy it and subsequently became a beacon of the city's palingenesis after the storm.  It harbored our citizens in a moment of crisis and then became a prison for our citizens in that same moment of crisis.  It's generated millions and millions of dollars for our city and state and many of those millions were doled out as graft and slush funds.

It is, at once, old and new...loved and controversial...iconic and tragic.  Its history and the emotions it invokes are as complicated as the city itself.  Explaining what the edifice means to the city is like trying to explain "Creole" to a tourist.

It has come to define New Orleans as much as St. Louis Cathedral, Congo Square, Bourbon Street, St. Charles Avenue, etc.  The dome is us.

The idea that it is now about to be branded with a corporate logo, from a non-Louisiana corporation, is unsettling to say the least.  For me, it conjures up stomach turning images of "Capital One Superdome", "Bank of America Superdome", or Legba forbid, "BP Superdome".  That would no doubt end up in an "Occupy the Dome" protest movement or much worse.

But here's the thing...looking past the moral argument of "Is it OK to rename the dome with a corporate logo?", let's look at who the actual corporation is.  It's Mercedes Benz.  It's a company that's been in existence since 1926...a company that is associated with the pursuit of perfection.  It's a little pretentious, especially for New Orleans, but in the grand scheme of things I don't think I could pick too many other companies I would feel comfortable with having their name on the dome.  At least companies that could afford to do it.

Apple...yes.  Google...maybe.  Entergy....never.  I would love to see Abita, Tabasco...Dirty Coast :)....but that's just not feasible.

My point is...looking past the moral argument and looking at the qualifier...who the corporate sponsor actually is....I'm OK with this.  I'm especially OK if it relieves a financial burden on the state.  Especially if MB takes an active role in our city and hopefully our education system.  Especially if MB considers building infrastructure in the state.  Especially if it turns Germans on to the Saints and we expand our fan base across the ocean blue.

Maybe MB will build a new Deutsches Haus next to the dome.

Maybe I'm deluded and pipe dreaming.  I don't know but I see the potential and in respect to the modern corporation, Mercedes Benz seems to be one of integrity.  Maybe I'm wrong and if I am, please educate me.

If the byline to this development would not have included the qualifier, MB, I would probably feel completely different.  Especially if the corporation was a Goldman Sacs, Halliburton, etc.  But putting a face on the sponsor, for me, makes all the difference.  I'm not saying I'm ecstatic about this but I see the potential and I'm willing to accept it because I somewhat trust the face I'm looking at.  I hope I'm right.


Anonymous said...

fourth reich rising.

Jason Brad Berry said...

Hah! Right and the first step in world domination is to take over the Superdome.

Golfhack said...

Benson thought it was Maison Blanche!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Dambala, but I can't be the only one who doesn't think "the dome is us." I don't care about the Saints, Benson's a real jerk, and after Katrina, I'm half-surprised it wasn't torn down. At the same time, Mercedes Benz is so not in line with the typical Who Dat as to make the decision ridiculous. Get ready for a hybrid fleur de lys/Mercedes Benz logo.

whitmergate said...

Mercedes Benz kept the Nazis rolling ... for me their logos are synonymous ... and both are unacceptable.

bruthas_back said...

Benson owns the (s)aints not the dome so I don't really know if he can be blamed for the deal. I have heard that it will end state subsidies that the team gets. but I'm definitely just another asshole with an opinion, so what do I know?

Jason Brad Berry said...

Whit, do you feel the same way about the Ford logo? He helped keep the Nazis rolling as well. What about the Bush family? Prescott Bush was an ardent Nazi supporter.

I'm just curious where you draw the line. I'm not trying to be contentious. I guess I'm just curious at what point do children stop atoning for the sins of the father.

My great, great grandfather was a Lt. in the Confederate army. Should I be held responsible for his beliefs or actions?

I'm asking that question with the utmost sincerity....I'm not being facetious.

Nancy said...

Interesting. And your maternal 3rd gr-grandfather (a German immigrant) lay wounded in a field in MO for 2 days while fighting for the Union.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps is is a sign of who is left holding the bag($). Where did all the $ go anyway after a managed financial crisis. Hey, its a One World Bank World; just sayin..not to point a finger at MB /its just a symbol. IE,The World Bank is gladly stepping in to help bail out Greece. Generous they are!
Personally I wouldn't mind seeing the big sign on the top ;although I did like the idea of a bowl or Cheerios(more surreal) the best.
Just me/ I watch too many c-span re-runs . The BP thing put me over the edge/ its seems I will never return.
Anyway, maybe the aliens will mistake it for a landing spot.

Anonymous said...

According to historian Bernard Bellon (Mercedes in Peace and War, 1990), at least eight Jews were murdered by DB managers or SS men at a plant in occupied Poland.

That's a little different than the involvement of Ford or the Bush family.

Post Turtle said...

After the Hornets leave, we can turn the Arena into the new Deutsches Haus! That would kick it up a notch.

Jason Brad Berry said...

- That's a little different than the involvement of Ford or the Bush family.

Not so much.

And what about American companies that are killing people in the present? Blackwater (Xe)? Halliburton?

I just don't buy this argument. I don't hold the human beings who comprise 2011 Mercedes Benz company responsible for crimes which took place over half a century ago. If you want to so be it but you should probably add a host of Japanese and American companies to your list. And with that logic , if you regress back to the Civil War, you've really got a lot of grudges to live with.

In this city alone, the sins of the United Fruit Company would taint some of the current businesses which are staples in New Orleans.

Anonymous said...

@Brutha -- actually the Saints are entirely responsible for the naming rights, according to the TP article. part of their contract with the state: no more corporate welfare subsidies, but they get to sell the naming rights.

whitmergate said...


For me the discussion is not about the “comparative sins of our fathers”...

The issue at hand is the ‘branding’ of Mercedes Benz in the present. I’ll get back to you, if and when Ford, Bush or the Confederacy should ever come to the forefront of partnering with ‘the Dome’ ...

Jason Brad Berry said...


Jason Brad Berry said...

- " Ford, Bush or the Confederacy"

And all 3 of them are potential partners for the NFL.

We just saw the confederacy partner excommunicated from the NFL in the flesh...Hank, jr.

You're playing a chronocentric game and I'm willing to play but I'm asking you to bring the fucking record with you. Do you have it?

Because after you finish with MB, you're going to have to move on to Toyota, Nissan, Honda....and I'm curious how you're going to paint that picture.

Show me the history, man.

And yes...I made up chronocentric...that's a word that only I use.

whitmergate said...

Chronocentric strawman ... as an insult, it's certainly original ...

Possibly our difference in heritage may have something to do about my PERSONAL feelings regarding MB ...

I appologize for not agreeing with you on this subject matter ...

Jason Brad Berry said...

Never apologize to me, sir. Please.

I understand your heritage and I undertand your passion.

I would just propose that .....that thing....which was "Nazi"....was a mixture of Jingoism, Religion, Fear...and a lot of other shit which those of us in the modern world hope to avoid.

And I think we have avoided since the 1940's.

You know what it is? It's a zombie. Nazi's are zombies. They couldn't possibly live in the present because they just don't make sense in the past.


It works in video games, fo' real.

Anonymous said...

Hey it takes a big burden off the state's back. It is what it is. Little trivia for the techies who love football. Do you know that Apple was the first million dollar advertiser for a Super Bowl. Just thought it was neat that there is not much Steve Jobs did not touch in some way.