Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Holy Geez" - APM's Marketplace Interviews Dow (Chemical) CEO

"oh man, whatever they make is probably toxic. It's chemicals, it's hydrocarbons - holy geez, I don't want any of that stuff."

"Holy geez," indeed. The above quote, Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal's (KR) opening volley from today's interview with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris (AL), really sets the tone for the whole conversation. From there, to summarize: there's some kitschy Australia jokes, and a truckload of corporate newspeak about Dow's re-branding efforts and American manufacturing readiness. Without further ado, here's some choice quotes:
KR - "...if I say "chemistry," what do you think? People in white lab coats, right? Vials full of liquids, maybe?"
Sure, if you're into stock photos. Don't forget to include beakers, jokes about social awkwardness, and references to Breaking Bad!
Source: Busplug
AL- "But these days, you may have seen our ads on TV. We are really branding Dow. The word "chemical," of course, from a heritage point of view is still in our name." [Emphasis mine]
Again, when a major multinational conglomerate says these kind of things on syndicated radio, how can we ever hope to fight chemophobia?
AL - "So we've got to go out there and really re-educate humanity, because at the end of the day, 95 percent of all products out there have chemistry in them"
Dare I ask? What's the other 5%? Dark matter? Pixie dust? Aether? (This sounds like a job for Dr. Rubidium over at JAYFK, or our old pal Deborah Blum)
AL - "The word manufacturing, you know, even the word industry just doesn't sit well. People think about it as a smokestack, environmental, yesterday's era; that everything should be services."
I'm a proud member of the chemical industry. I make things. So do most of my colleagues, family, and friends. I'd like to say it's part of today's era. Anyone else?
AL - "We're re-branding what science, technology, engineering, maths mean to this economy and how we can transfer that into American jobs for the next generation."
Perhaps the most galling quote of all. I can hear Chemjobber sharpening his linguistic knives from all the way across the internet. Keep 'em ready, because the fight against mainstream #chemophobia continues...

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