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Thursday, July 22, 2004

Convention Inferiority Complex

This morning I find in my inbox the following:

Have some free time this Friday, July 23, 2004? Boston 2004, Inc. needs your help! Ever wonder what winds up in those gift bags that delegates and members of the media receive? Come find out first hand! We will be stuffing media gift bags at Boston's brand new Convention and Exposition Center on the South Boston Waterfront.

In fact, there's no need to wonder what's in those gift bags since there's an article in today's Globe about how dull the gifts are:

If the Democratic National Convention is supposed to give 30,000 delegates, media and assorted dignitaries a new image of Boston, it isn't in the bags.

The red, white, and blue canvas totes, courtesy of Boston sneaker maker New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., are filled with ho-hum freebies: razors from Gillette Co., subway maps from CVS Corp., Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in the shape of donkeys, Ocean Spray Craisins and juice, among other things.

"What does Craisins or mac and cheese say?" said Evangelia D. Souris, president of Boston image-consulting firm Optimum International Center for Image Management." These are not things that will move people."

This is especially bad when compared with the treatment awaiting media members in New York at the Republican Convention. Howard Kurtz is already looking forward to that:

My plans for the Republican convention have just changed. I may be packing for Boston, but I'm dreaming about Madison Square Garden, at least, now that I know that I can get a free shave and hit the spa.

Apparently I, as part of the 15,000-strong press invasion, will be able to dine in the press center on bagels, lox, whitefish, summer corn, peaches and croque monsieur (though the administration usually has a distaste for anything French, even ham and cheese sandwiches.) ...

I'm sure the Fleet Center will be very nice, especially after the Dems read this article, but the Republicans--or, more precisely, their Big Apple hosts--plan to treat me in the style to which I've never become accustomed (because other than at a convention, I'd have to pay for it myself).

There's going to be a concierge (!) to deal with my last-minute needs, such as new shoes (which Barneys New York will shine for free) or camera parts or maybe even psychotherapy (given the high proportion of practitioners there).

Here's the NYT piece Kurtz is referring to.

So to sum up, in Boston we're giving visitors free mac and cheese, while in New York they're giving visitors free massages. Hopefully we can at least show people a good time at these events written up in today's Calendar.