Larry Harnisch reflects on Los Angeles history
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Yanqui Go Home – After Touring Cuba (NEWS ITEM)- Cuba's push to receive tourist travel to the island has blossomed into a full day for free. The Cuban Tourist Commission is now offering hotel accommodations, a drink, dinner, floor show, golfing privileges and race track admission free for one day to all Americans vacationing in Havana.
I cite you the above as just one of the little paradoxes of the world in which we live.
While Fidel Castro flexes his minuscule muscles in front of TV cameras and rages that he could, by the hair of his chinny-chin-chin, blow all us yanquis in, his tourist department, a few blocks down the street, is bending every effort to lure us to the romantic isle that fought and won a rebellion against Burma-Shave ads.
The headlines quote Fidel's "Yankee Go Home" fury. But a few pages back, in the travel section, there is the ad copy of a Cuban Avenida de Madison type coaxing us to come play in Caribbean sunshine.
It's an interesting example, not unique to Cuba, of the vast separation that exists in the world between state and chamber of commerce.
While the neurotic heads of government fume and fuss at each other, their respective promoters of tourist trade go blithely along pretending, perhaps actually believing, that every thing is just fine and the welcome mat is out.
Even with that free drink, it's hard to imagine that any American in Cuba could relax knowing that any moment there might be a burst of machine-gun fire down the street.
But maybe I've got this thing figured all wrong. Maybe the idea has what we in the ad game call negative appeal. And if that's the point, I'd like to offer some copy which we can throw into the mill and see if it turns up grist.
TAKE THAT ONCE IN A LIFETIME HOLIDAY
Visit the exotic Cuba while the WAR CRIME PURGE is still in season. Matinees daily, including Sunday. Special excursion buses and free balcony seats for the tourists. Guaranteed three death sentences daily. Watch the defectors squirm!
The Russian Intourist Bureau has worn out the pitch about co-operative farms, Lenin's tomb and the Bolshoi ballet. You know? It's got no zing.
Why not something like this:
WINTER IN CARNIVAL TIME IN SIBERIA
Sleigh bells ring, are you listenin'? Walk in a winter wonderland. Or, better still, go by droshky.
For a never-to-be-forgotten, off-the-beaten-track vacation, take our specially priced budget tour and spend two glorious weeks in the Siberian wastes. Itinerary includes an authentic chase by hungry wolves and a visit to a genuine salt mine. See the slave laborers filling shakers!
Even our good neighbor to the south could go along with the idea. The Departmento de Turismo of Mexico has, I think, overdone the bit about the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco. I mean, I've been there. And they're stagnant.
If they want to entice the Yankee dollar, why not a half-page ad in, say, the Christian Science Monitor, reading:
LOOKING FOR A CONVERSATION STARTER?
Overcome those dreadful lags in dinner table small talk. Rise above the rut of cocktail party chitchat. Be the center of attention.
Spend a THRILL-PACKED, ALL-INCLUSIVE week end in the TIJUANA JAIL.
Or, a quarter-page in the Police Gazette:
SEE THE WILD TRIBES OF MEXICO COME TO UNTAMED ACAPULCO
Mingle with the natives in their natural habitat -- lying in front of their quaint, candy-striped, Abercrombie & Fitch cabanas, sipping their mystical tribal potion. Gordon's ginebra y Schweppes tonic, and cavorting unashamedly on the sun-bleached sands in their Rose-Marie Reid bikinis.
Of course, if every body else is going to do it, we might as well. We could offer foreign tourists a holiday trip to such landmarks as Jimmy Hoffa's birthplace, a public audience with Gov. Faubus and a guided tour of the Chicago police department.
Then we could whisk them by air-conditioned bus to Washington and the Harris Committee hearings on payola, to which I will undoubtedly be invited because, you know, Burma-Shave, Gordon's ginebra and Schweppes tonic.
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