Takes

MIXED BLESSINGS
I Gave at the Office, The Enduring Word, Lionizing Zoowear, Etc.
By the time the influx of corporate holiday cards was stanched, I’d begun to flinch at the words: “A donation has been made in your name .” Seeking to demonstrate that “corporate philanthropy” is not an oxymoron, many companies now make a donation to one cause or another and then divvy up the credit among the people to whom they send cards. No doubt this practice is a good thing on the whole. But one person’s idea of a worthy cause can be another person’s idea of a crackpot scheme–particularly at a time when civic life is so intensely politicized. Thus, you can easily find yourself having made a vicarious donation to an outfit you’d personally cross the street to avoid. Of the causes to which I involuntarily contributed this season, some were unambiguously good and others sounded harmless. But that left a couple to which I’d not have given a cent of my own money. Can I ask the companies that made these donations to retrieve the portions prorated to my name? Too churlish. Or ask the beneficiaries to allot no credit to me and proportionally more to everyone else in whose names the gifts were made? Too much trouble for all concerned. Given the lack of practical alternatives, I must simply reconcile myself to the role of muddle-headed benefactor. But it makes me wonder whether it really is better to give than to receive.

Top honors this week in the To Each His Own category go to an ad for an American Cyanamid insecticide that kills root maggots–grand creatures in their own way, but a nuisance for farmers. “Dead root maggots leave such a sweet taste in a sugar beet grower’s mouth,” copy reports. It’s not every ad that dares to adopt the reader’s point of view with such gusto. Farmers will also appreciate the photo’s use of a decapitated sugar beet as garnish for the sundae. Food styling at its finest! WestWayne of Atlanta created the ad.

Why make a fool of yourself trying to parrot the newest hip-hop slang when you can stick with vocabulary that’s got staying power? Thanks to a reader poll by The Source, we now have an official list of the “most enduring hip-hop slang.” Atop the roster is “word,” with “dope” as runner-up. Filling out the top five are “fresh,” “phat” and “yo.” Quite so.

If you’re going to be a fashion victim, at least try to avoid getting eaten alive. The fashion tip for zoo visitors comes via Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston. Maybe they’re just trying to discourage kids from showing up in Yankees shirts.