Have you ever wondered why we find the vulture distasteful? We revere lions, calling them the kings of the jungle for taking life and causing destruction, but we shun the vulture, who simply eats what has already passed.
Vultures are resourceful, making the best of a bad situation. Nothing can bring a dead animal back to life, so instead of adding bodies to the death count by killing their prey, vultures feed off what has already died.
So, why then, do we consider cashing in on the Sept. 11 tragedy immoral? The event has happened, so why not boost the economy by letting the vultures feast on the remains?
Every business in America is walking on thin ice covered with eggshells trying not to appear insensitive or as though they are trying to cash in on the situation. Companies are passing up financial opportunities - in the wake of recession - out of terror of a consumer revolt. The American public is so vigilant and violent right now they are willing to dismantle anything, and this leaves businesses petrified they will somehow incur consumer wrath.
Journalists who have voiced unpopular sentiments have been fired by their papers, which are afraid of losing their readers. TV shows that have angered Americans at the wrong time, like "Politically Incorrect," have had their advertising taken away and been pulled off certain channels. Hollywood has delayed film releases, changed endings and even called certain movies off altogether, costing themselves millions so they don't go bankrupt by crossing the rest of America. The video game industry is pulling items and changing its stance on video game violence.
However, there is a strong market for these things. "The Siege," a 1998 film about a terrorist attack on New York City, was the number one movie rental the week following Sept. 11, but films having to do with terrorism in Hollywood are being called off. When video game companies pulled some of their games, furious gamers wrote letters that openly voiced a desire to play video games with terrorist themes now more than ever.
Businesses are ignoring their market and taking gigantic losses because of a vicious faction of the American public bent on destroying companies who appear to be capitalizing on this tragedy like a group of vultures. But why do we hate the vulture so? It's because the vulture has no honor.
Many have died or made other large sacrifices in the name of honor and dignity. These are ideals and emotions America strives to uphold and principles I believe in. As an individual, one is lost without the self-worth achieved through striving to uphold these principles.
If businesses were taking these losses and making these sacrifices to uphold their integrity I would have a different viewpoint, but in reality it isn't honor or integrity that holds corporate America back, it's fear and cowardice. They are afraid to stand up to an enraged consumer because if they did, they would lose everything. It wouldn't be profitable.
Businesses in America have always been vultures and have always been driven by profits, not morality. It takes a situation as sensitive as the one we are experiencing to magnify and brighten reality, so we see the true colors of economics.
But just as vultures are an integral part of nature, businesses keep America running. Vultures perform nature's necessary but dishonorable tasks just like businesses fill the role in economics that the common man hates.
It is because of business that we are able to ensure the freedoms and liberties we enjoy today. Corporate America has made this country so affluent we have the luxury to pursue ideals. I can write whatever I want in this column without Big Brother looking over my shoulder precisely because of the security these "vultures" have granted me.
Americans don't have to like the job corporate America does, but we should be thankful they do it. I love the vultures for the balance they bring to nature, but I don't want to become one myself.
At times like these businesses need to be more sensitive because their bitter taste is hard to swallow. But as consumers, we must realize how America works, lay down the club and let nature take its course.