About that Verizon/pit-bull blog post

It seems I need to make an apology . . . OK, make that two apologies.

First, I need to apologize to Buzzblog readers for writing recently that Verizon deserved praise for standing up to animal rights activists who found offensive the company's new commercial for its LG Dare cell phone. That spot featured a pair of chained, snarling junkyard dogs, pit bulls to be exact.

Praise? What could I have been thinking? How could I have been so blind as to not foresee the inevitable: that Verizon would surrender before the pixels on that post were dry. Following a reported torrent of complaints from pit-bull lovers and the ASPCA, the commercial -- which commits no greater sin than depicting junkyard dogs as junkyard dogs -- has disappeared from television. 

"The commercial was always part of a series and it is no longer in the rotation," a Verizon spokeswoman tells me. (Translation: They caved.)

I'm sorry, Buzzblog readers. You have a right to expect better from me than to expect better from Verizon . . . especially given the fact that I've made something of a journalistic fetish of chronicling Verizon foibles.

My second apology goes out to the animal rights activists. Again, I have no explanation for my lapse in judgment. After all, I have been writing, editing and/or managing opinion sections of news publications for the bulk of my 30 years as a professional journalist and if I've said it a thousand times, well, that's 7,000 in dog times: No group of advocates -- not the National Rifle Association, not Move-On.org, not Rush Limbaugh's legions, not the NAACP, not even those who oppose abortion rights, can muster the volume, vehemence and persistence of protest than can the animal-rights lobby.

As protesters go, you might call them junkyard dogs, except they are a species unto themselves. So, for me to think for even one moment that these folks would be incapable of breaking the will of a bottom-line conscious corporation, well, I can understand why they might find my lack of faith offensive.

I am truly sorry, animal rights activists. Never again will I underestimate your might.

Finally, there is a third party deserving of an apology in this episode, but I am not in a good position to offer it given that I have been on occasion (in the view of some) a member of the aggrieved class.

In addition to the pair of pit bulls, there was a third central character in that now-banished junkyard dog commercial. A young man -- twentysomething, shaggy hair, in need of a shave -- scales the junkyard's chain-link fence and sprints directly toward the animals despite the fact that they are giving off every intention of having him for lunch. Nevertheless, he snatches the LG Dare phone right out from under their noses, after which we get Verizon's message: "Dare to touch it."

Stupid white males -- Madison Avenue's all-purpose, risk-free punching bags -- take another one on the chin. Don't hold your breath waiting for anyone to apologize.

Meanwhile, Verizon doesn't understand fire

A couple's house burns virtually to the ground (they're the in-laws of Network World columnist James Gaskin). They ask Verizon to transfer their phone number to their temporary quarters during the rebuilding process. No can do, says Verizon, but they can have the number forwarded to the temporary phone as long as the request is made by the couple from a phone in the house . . . that . . . virtually . . . burned . . . to . . . the . . . ground.

You can forward your own tales of woe to me here at buzz@nww.com.

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