The Unfortunate Corporate Naming of your Literary Prize
November 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
[sent via email Nov 16th 2011]
Who exactly do I address this letter to? The Giller Prize? Scotiabank?
I was listening to CBC Radio last week and heard Jian Ghomeshi mention the Scotiabank Giller Prize. I cringed and, as he mentioned Scotiabank several times in the blurb, quickly changed the station. I only listen to non-commercial radio for a reason. And you know what else should be non-commercial? That’s right: your literary prize.
You tarnish the reputation and water down the importance of your prize by associating it with a major bank. I don’t feel like this should be news to you. In case you haven’t heard: banks create debt and inflation by creating money out of thin air. They multiply your money by 100 and use it to “invest”, ie. exploiting people and resources around the world and fueling rampant consumerism. I could go on about this but I wont, because I also have to mention how offensive affixing corporate sponsorship to a literary award is, and how awful corporate naming is period.
The arts are where society reflects upon itself. The arts are where we become truly human. When you affix the name of a corporation to your arts related award you diminish the importance of that award. Artists around the world have been some of the first people to call for justice. Artists frame injustice in their work and influence people towards change and justice. You have affixed a label to your award that is synonymous with injustice. Obviously any works being submitted to your prize that highlight the injustices created by the major banks and related corporations will go to the bottom of the stack when you’re coming up with your shortlist, or at least that’s what one assumes. This is now the good corporate-approved book list.
Furthermore, corporate naming is the most insidious form of advertising because it colonizes your speech. Even me, a person who loathes mobile phone companies for obvious reasons, even I can’t tell someone where the Canucks play without uttering the name of a mobile phone company. It’s not okay. These are not things that should be named after whichever monstrous international entity is willing to pay the most.
Please do let me know how it all works out,