A Pepper Spray Present

Every year, the nominees for the Oscars get a lavish gift bag with all kinds of special items donated by companies that are looking for a little big of PR.  The bags are not officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but they’ve become a kind of tradition and are loaded with goodies like plane tickets, high-end cosmetics, and new, uber cool gizmos.

So, what’s in this year’s swag bag?

promo343614230Well, among other things there’s a 12-day trip to Tanzania, something called a “24 carat gold facial” — that sounds like it will fit right in with the Hollywood tradition of wretched excess — and a “conflict-free” diamond necklace.  Oh, and multiple kinds of pepper spray, now that the Harvey Weinstein horror story and the exposure of many other producers, directors, agents, and actors have revealed Hollywood to be a place of rampant sexual harassment, gross sexual imposition, and outright rape.

It’s therefore not surprising that this year’s Oscar swag bag has a decided personal safety and security element to it.  It includes at least three different pepper spray options — including a key ring-sized device — two personal body alarms, and a kit that allows you to determine whether your drink has been drugged that no doubt will immediately come in handy at one of those Oscars after-parties.

It tells you something about what it must be like to be a part of the oversexed, overprotected, underinvestigated, and underbrained world of the Hollywood glitterati.  Normally I would object to the idea of Oscar nominees getting thousands of dollars in freebies on “rich get richer” grounds, but this year maybe the swag bags offer some hope and some perspective on what a wretched place Hollywood really is.  Maybe at least one of the nominees will grab their pepper spray and spiked drink kit, don the personal body alarms, sell the “24-karat gold facial” and the “conflict-free” diamond necklace for a little ready cash, jet off to Tanzania for that 12-day holiday — and wisely decide to never come back to the lewd and lecherous land of Oscar.

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Pepper Spray – Really ?

I suppose I am behind the curve on this since the video supposedly came out on Saturday, but I caught the full video on Headline News this morning. This article contains the full video from start to finish of the University of California Davis – Occupy Movement incident. From what Headline News reported these students were carrying on a peaceful demonstration because the University of California Davis recently announced they plan to increase tuition 16% each of the next four years. I have to admit I was shocked !

I guess what always surprises me about incidents like this one is didn’t the security police/administration do some preliminary planning and run through the different scenarios that might play out when the police confronted the students. Did they expect the students to just get up and leave ? And if the students didn’t leave did they decide that one of the security officers was going to nonchalantly walk in front of the protestors and spray pepper spray directly into the faces ?

If the facts are as reported the students have every right to protest, but a suggestion to school administrators in the future – always expect there to be someone video taping the incident and how it will look. The University of California Davis clearly has egg on it’s face and deservedly so.