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Such a pity the Susan G. Komen Foundation couldn't trademark the color pink or a pink ribbon logo and only managed to nab a copyright on “for the cure,” and that took a clever dba rebranding from “foundation” to “Race for the Cure.” Not that the absence of a trade-mark for pink and pink ribbons stopped the operation from acting as if they owned both and with its one asset, “race for the cure,” (so different from the March of Dimes' WalkAmerica est. 1970 or the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life becoming the largest, in terms of annual revenues, of all breast cancer charities.

Allow me to repeat those three points:

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure did NOT invent the color pink or initiate its use as a symbol for females.

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure did NOT create the pink ribbon logo for breast cancer awareness and does NOT own it.  

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure did not invent using races for medical charity fundraising.

Raising money to address a social or medical ill is a long-standing US tradition.  More often than not, such causes begin at the local or grassroots level. It's practically a requirement among socialites to have a “cause.”  To do “good.”  Sometimes to seek economies of scale with like-minded activists.  That's how United Way came into being over many decades.  A hundred years ago, nobody sat down and said, “Let's build a worldwide charity with a gazillion local chapters to raise money and upstream some of the money to do some important things.” It just sort of evolved that way.  And as with all charitable organizations there are pluses and minuses to going big instead of remaining small, local, and focused on a primary mission.

More often the charitable foundations established by wealthy socialites remain small and insular.  A bit of fundraising amongst family and friends.  An annual fundraising dinner or party amongst friends and other wealthy associates and local dignitaries.  The handing out of financial grants and awards.  Honors bestowed on those within their crowd for contributions to the effort.

One such Dallas, Texas foundation, established in 1980, is Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer (WOKC)  It remains small and local.  Oh, and it was established by Cindy Brinker Simmons.  The stepdaughter of Nancy Brinker and daughter of Maureen Connolly who died from ovarian cancer in 1969 at the age of thirty-four and who before her death with her husband, Norman Brinker, established the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis  Foundation.  

What is a woman that marries into such a family to do?  Not the plebeian Mickey and Judy Hey, let's put on a show and save the orphanage response, but  Well,

"Mom has said many times she started the foundation with $200 and a box of names," Eric Brinker said. "Well, most of those names were my dad's associates and colleagues, people she knew she could call and get help with either money or influence or both. The foundation was important to my father, too, which was why he was still on the board of directors."

Did Nancy Brinker create the Susan G. Komen Foundation or was it vice versa?  Raising her profile amongst the Dallas Republican social set.  As Nancy Brinker tells it:

At the time of my sister's illness and death [1980], I was living in Dallas and was married to Norman Brinker. Norman was — and is — a successful businessman, and he helped me gain access to people with wealth. I started with a couple hundred dollars of my own money, cleared out one of our guestrooms, rallied friends to help, and scrambled to find resources. It was a slow process — remember, this was long before e-mail was common. In the beginning, the bulk of our money was raised through individuals, ticket sales, and events, including a luncheon in Dallas in 1983 that was attended by former First Lady Betty Ford, who had made news in 1974 by discussing her radical mastectomy. The proceeds from those early fundraisers gave us a small cushion and enabled us to keep our activities going, but I quickly realized we had to create a large network with satellite groups in key cities if we wanted to accomplish our goals.

Was that Ms. Brinker's realization?  Or Mr. Brinker's who after all had built his fortune in the chain restaurant industry.  Or did she get it from one of those elite foundation people?  Regardless, she quickly moved up in social and political status.  Ronald Reagan appointed her to the National Cancer Advisory Board in 1986.  In 1990, GHWB appointed her to chair the President's Cancer Panel.  Dan Quayle put her on a breast cancer subcommittee.  

How did Ms. Brinker implement that vision of building a mega-network of satellite operations?  Create or appropriate?  In one important instance, it looks like the latter.

Benita Blau Feurey was a television journalist in NYC who contracted breast cancer in the mid-1980s.   After undergoing a mastectomy, she established The Amazonian Fund for breast cancer research/treatment.  She died in 1989 and   her friends organized a run/walk in honor of Ms. Feurey to benefit breast cancer patients and research.  One of those friends and a leader in the effort was Lynn Abraham.  As reported by the , its first race was held in 1991 and subsequently became the NYC affiliate of Susan G. Komen.  (That would be the race where the organizers distributed pink ribbons to the participants, the first known instance of a pink ribbon associated with breast cancer. Will return to this later.)  Ms. Abraham later served for many years as a volunteer on the NYC Komen Board and was a public advocate for breast cancer research.  She was a public relations professional and her resume included:

She was Carol Bellamy's press secretary when Ms. Bellamy was City Council president; a communications officer at Planned Parenthood of America; and the press secretary during Bella Abzug's campaign for the United States Senate.

It is tempting to postulate that the Komen foundation was apolitical back in 1991.  And, therefore, was a natural fit for the NYC friends of Benita Feurey to link up with. That might even have been true.  But  the backlash against women and their right to privacy was flowing fully by then, and therefore, trust without verification of the senior people including Brinker wasn't prudent.  Once she became associated with the GWB administration it wasn't wise not to reconsider the alliance with her foundation.  Today, it would be foolhardy for other than anti-choice groups to have anything to do with Komen.

Now, about that pink ribbon logo.  Most sources credit Alexandra Penney and Evelyn Lauder with its creation.  Penney put it in the April 1992 issue of Self magazine and Lauder began using it on products that year.  Avon quickly followed their lead.  It's a public domain logo for breast cancer awareness.  Just as the red ribbon is a public domain logo for AIDS awareness.  Many breast cancer charitable organizations that aren't associated with Komen use it.  So, let's not throw the pink ribbon out with the bathwater.

Originally posted to Marie on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 05:39 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  it's like Disney (14+ / 0-)

    let's take some appealing ideas that already exist, use them, claim them, sue anyone else that uses them... and profit!!

    A man, a plan, a canal, Panama

    by Karl Rover on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 05:49:26 PM PST

    •  Difference is that Disney (20+ / 0-)

      customers want and get the product they buy.  Komen volunteers/donors aren't getting what they thought they were buying.  

      •  A cork with a jellybean taped to it. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marie, Milou, Matt Z
      •  Ah, Then More Like WINDOWS nt (9+ / 0-)

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 06:25:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Speaking of which -- (18+ / 0-)

          The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation does donate to Planned Parenthood but restricts the funds to non-abortion services.  Warren Buffett donates with no restrictions.

          •  I did not know that! n/t (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Marie, ek hornbeck

            One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -- Plato

            by Jane Lew on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 06:58:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I've become a font of (14+ / 0-)

              little known trivia facts wrt to women's health and breast cancer over the past few days.  Things we all should have known all along.

              Will try to organize some more of it into a second diary on this.  With this one mostly wanted to get it out there that the pink ribbon does not equal Komen so many here at dKos have been assuming.  

              •  This is a story in which all the dots did not (10+ / 0-)

                appear at the same time.

                For what's worth, here is my attempt to make sense of what happened. This is from a prior post of mine.


                 What I "think."

                I think PP played Komen like a violin.

                1st of all what was cancelled were contracts that were already in existence. They were contracts which had already been approved and signed off on.

                This is important because PP had made plans based upon those contracts. To have these contracts yanked out from under them was horrible. It was not like Komen did not make these grants; they did. These were not, as I first read the story, future contracts.

                Imagine if you are PP. You have rented space and hired people based upon the contract you have with Komen. PP was depending upon Komen to be people of their word...which they weren't

                How was Komen able to walk away from their contract with PP?

                There was probably some boilerplate verbiage in the contract that said PP had to follow all of Komen's regulations in order to keep the contract

                PP was following the rules. What Komen did was to change the rules instituting new regulations that have been since been used as justifications for cancelling the contract.

                According to another diary it was not Komen who announced the defunding of PP; PP let it be known that it had happened.

                I believe the word about the defunding had been out within PP for some time... from perhaps as early as December. Komen thought they were home free and were caught blindsided by the fact that PP let people in the press know that the defunding had occurred.

                I don't think the timing of the disclosure was an accident. I think PP waited until there was a break in news hungry events. There were no State of the Union Addresses or Primaries to grab the headlines. Instead there was a nice little movie called Pink Ribbons, Inc. coming out. They didn't want to wait too long and get wrapped up into the Super Bowl news. No, just before the the Pink Ribbons, Inc. documentary which was opening on Feb 3 would be a good time.

                This is all speculation. Of course, I do not know this for a fact, but it is how I make sense of what has happened in the last few days.

                One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -- Plato

                by Jane Lew on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 08:08:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Would prefer to say that (12+ / 0-)

                  PP made lemonade out of the lemons Komen handed them than they PP played Komen like a fiddle.  That's if PP was the party that made public the fact that Komen had welched on its commitment to PP.  If true, bravo for PP.

                  None of that, however, addresses when and why Komen decided that breast cancer should be politicized.  And why they felt entitled not to disclose that to all the women that had made the organization what it is.

                  •  msmacgyver said (12+ / 0-)

                    in response to my post above:

                    I saw Cecile Richards in one of the early interviews and she actually did say that PP had known since December.  She never, ever says anything which doesn't protect PP so this was a deliberate statement...

                    So PP did know and they knew as far back as December.

                    Whether PP "played Komen like a violin" or made lemonade from lemons is immaterial. Both descriptions are apropos.

                    What is important to me is the difference between already approved grants and ones that have not yet been approved.

                    If Komen had wanted to get by unscathed, all they had to do was not fund new grant applications by PP and let the others run out.  There are always ways make subjective judgments come out the way you want them to.

                    Instead they went for the kill of defunding already approved grants and expecting everyone to agree with what they had done.

                    The way Komen chose to deliberately go after grants they had previously found worthy and approved was both vengeful and vindictive.

                    Having lived both in Texas and in rural Georgia, I am not at all surprised by the fact that they did not feel any need to disclose what they were doing. They live in a bubble. It is a bubble in which these people think everyone believes as they do. They simply think theirs are the only opinions that matter and that if you disagree with them you are surely on your way to Hell.

                    msmacgyver also sent me a link to a great article which may explain the bubble better. It is entitled Nancy Brinker, Komen Foundation Fell Victim to the Great Texas Echo Chamber from the Dallas Observer.

                    http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/...

                    It is dangerous to say what you think in deep red state. Speaking up will only get your car keyed and damage your ability to keep a job. These are not nice people. The only way out is to leave.

                    One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." -- Plato

                    by Jane Lew on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 09:19:13 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Process matters (5+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Jane Lew, ek hornbeck, Marie, adrianrf, dksbook

                      Jane, I agree with your point that the sensible approach, once Komen decided it didn't want to work with Planned Parenthood, was for Komen to fulfill its commitments to existing grants, let them come to an end, and then just not grant new ones.

                      It is unethical for a foundation to cancel the grant mid-way through: the agency doing the work has made its own commitments for staff, resources, facilities, etc., on the basis of the projects it has undertaken to carry out. (Normally unethical: there may be extraordinary circumstances that make it necessary.)

                      If Komen expected Planned Parenthood to remain silent about it, then the Komen board and executives were idiots. Obviously, if PP is losing its funding mid-way for a project that it considers extremely important, then PP will almost surely approach its own donor base to try to cover that which has been lost. And PP had every reason to include the bogus justification, so donors would not get the idea that the funder had a legitimate reason for stopping its grant.

          •  I think Melinda is probably Catholic (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Matt Z, ek hornbeck, Marie

            She went to a Catholic high school (my alma mater). They do have some non-Catholic students, but not that many, unless something has changed. Odds are that Melinda is RC.

            I don't have a problem w/ them restricting where their PP donations go. It's their money, and they ARE donating, which helps an underserved population, and given PP's contraception services, helps prevent unintended pregnancies.

            48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

            by wasatch on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 10:49:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  iirc, the Catholic Church prohibits (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OldDragon, adrianrf, wu ming

              contraception in addition to abortion.

              PP is about the health and well being of women, men, and children.  Medical services as provided by medical professionals.  Not that the US federal government or Ms. Gates respects those medical professionals and PP's mission enough to determine what's in the best interests of their patients.    

              •  well, apparently, they disagree w/ RCC (0+ / 0-)

                on contraception, as many Catholics do. It's better than deciding to give NO money to PP, don't you think? They're not the govt and not trying to shut the place down, so I don't have a problem with them funding what they feel they can support, which is not insignificant. And I don't know what their current religious beliefs/practices are. I'm sure PP appreciates the donation.

                48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

                by wasatch on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 10:56:45 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But isn't the primary problem this nation's (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Be Skeptical, earicicle, wu ming

                  reliance on charity to fund basic and primary health care?  Then aggravating that poor method for health care funding by the donors and not the science and delivery of medicine deciding what care patients may and may not receive.  

                  If we leave what should be the commons up to undertax wealthy people like the Gates, we'll end up with totally privatized health care and education as constructed by their biases and whims and not by physicians and teachers.  

                  •  I'd prefer universal healthcare too (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Marie

                    Private charity will never have the means to provide that; relying on them to do so is yet another rightwing delusion, that if the average person thought about it for a few seconds, they would see.

                    I hope we'll be a civilized country someday, with single-payer and a progressive income tax.

                    In the meantime, I can't dictate to individual citizens (even billionaires with enough money for that money to talk) what they can and cannot support with donations, any more than I would want anyone dictating to me. And if I could do so, there's a bunch of radical right outfits that would be history.

                    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one. - Mother Teresa

                    by wasatch on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 01:08:15 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Somewhere Along The Way..... (16+ / 0-)

    Brinker's initial mission & the promise she made to her sister to eradicate cancer, got muddled up w/ her political beliefs.

    Either that or she caved to the political pressure from her right wing associates.  Her mission may have been pure, but her politics got in the way & may have destroyed this once profoundly admired organization.

    Now....we know.

    I intend to donate to Sloan Kettering or John Hopkins instead.  100% of their donations is said to go directly to cancer research, unlike the Komen Foundation which delegates approximately 25-30% to research.  

  •  I just watched the Brinker interview (24+ / 0-)

    in which she defended the decision to defund Planned Parenthood by claiming Planned Parenthood apparently can't give them the "metrics" and "outcomes" that are allegedly expected from now on from Komen's grantees.  She never gave Andrea Mitchell a straight answer as to whether Komen will now make public the alleged flaws in Planned Parenthood's use of the money.

    I was absolutely quivering with rage as that interview concluded.  Every word that shallow, arrogant woman uttered went right up my nose.  Of course it's more right wing BS.  "Metrics" and "outcomes" my foot.  I'm sure "metrics" and "outcomes" are very important when Komen spends a million a year suing small charities that have the audacity to use "for the cure" in their advertising.  This is about money and power for those who run this goliath of a charity.  How dare they.

    I haven't paid much attention to Planned Parenthood in recent years, though it was a big deal to me in my youth.  Shame on me.  I'll be donating again.  But I'll be hard pressed to look at a pink ribbon again without gagging.  Sorry.  I guess Komen's "branding" campaign worked.

  •  Then this bumper stick a friend created is okay? (4+ / 0-)
    fuckomen for the cash
    ;-)

    The "Right" thing is almost always the wrong thing.

    by Neapolitan on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 08:13:41 PM PST

    •  No. A pink ribbon (with a silver lining?) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cassandracarolina, OldDragon

      and "Give to Planned Parenthood" would be better.

      Now if your friend can incorporate a pink coathanger into "Komen" and add a big X that would be cool.

    •  Not THAT pink ribbon. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm willing to bet that Komen does have that graphic copyrighted; I've never seen it anywhere except in association with them.

      I thought it was ugly the day they unveiled it. It's even uglier now.

      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

      by sidnora on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 04:30:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just have to reiterate, the Komen Group (10+ / 0-)

    is giving over $7M to Penn State, and they really are under investigation.

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 08:24:39 PM PST

  •  Komen-> Pink Toast. n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wrights, Marie, OldDragon

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 08:50:45 PM PST

  •  SGKomen, old ladies sorority. (0+ / 0-)

    fuck em. #fail.

    •  Speaking as an old lady, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      phoebesdatter

      I find that pretty damn offensive.

      "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

      by sidnora on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 04:31:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Talent imitates, genuises steal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WheninRome, Marie

    Nancy Brinker knew what she was doing, even if other people knew it better or did it first. What difference does it really make in the end? She created one of the better known brands in America.
    Too bad that rich, Texas Republicans are arrogant ideologues,  and must impose their parochial world view on everyone, even if it means the destruction of the systems around them. I mean, just look at GWB.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 09:05:23 PM PST

  •  Hawaiian Punch (4+ / 0-)

    How in the name of God did some company take a common punch recipe from Hawaii and get a fucking trademark on the name "Hawaiian Punch". Our trademark and patent system is totally fucked up now and has been for awhile.

    "For the cure"

    Get real.

    Get a life.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 10:50:53 PM PST

  •  Komen has taken the Pink Ribbon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, middleagedhousewife

    and soiled it with Santorum (link to Politico Santorum quote on how disappointed he is that they reinstated funding to PP).

    Not sure what color that is, but it sure ain't Pink.

    Inside of me are two dogs. One is mean and evil. The other is gentle and good. The two dogs fight all the time. Which dog wins? The one I feed the most.

    by bakeneko on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 10:59:01 PM PST

  •  Pssst! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, adrianrf

    Your pink slip is showing!

    Honesty is not a policy, it's a character trait.

    by Says Who on Sat Feb 04, 2012 at 11:52:34 PM PST

  •  Komen and corporations (4+ / 0-)

    Until this issue appeared, I hadn't followed breast cancer charity news at all.

    Fortuitously, the NFB documentary Pink Ribbons Inc. opened in Canada this weekend. I went to see it.

    Pink Ribbons examines (among other things) the role of corporations in the work of foundations like Komen. (The documentary does not focus exclusively on Komen: it also refers to Avon and other organizations.)

    Corporations line up with a group like Komen for bottom-line reasons. They want that logo with the pink ribbon on their products because they think that customers will be more like to buy their yogurt or mixer or handgun because of the association.

    Clearly, though, a charity can get diverted from its original game plan by its quest for the money that corporate sponsors bring. One person interviewed in this documentary pointed out how strange it is that a company that produces products containing carcinogens can become a sponsor and put the pink ribbon on products that increase the user's risk of cancer.

    But, obviously, there is a cash cow there for milking, and a foundation wants lots of milk.

    I highly recommend Pink Ribbons. As noted, it has been released in Canada. I have no idea about the U.S. However, I daresay that, given this controversy, the filmmakers will be looking for ways to share their film.

  •  Somewhere in the last week (4+ / 0-)

    As I was reading all about the SGK debacle, I came across the story of how the Pink ribbon was appropriated.

    How the color salmon became hot pink

    Charlotte Haley is a granddaughter, sister and mother of women who battled breast cancer. In the early 1990’s, Charlotte came up with an idea to draw attention to the lack of funding going into research towards finding a cure.

    Charlotte, in her dining room, designed a small, salmon colored ribbon. She would mail five out at a time, along with a card that read “The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon.” Then Estee Lauder came calling.

    Charlotte wanted nothing to do with corporate America. She wanted to keep this ribbon movement grass roots, and she sent Estee Lauder packing. Estee Lauder told Charlotte they didn’t need her permission; all they had to do was change the color of the ribbon. And that’s how a salmon colored ribbon, born in Charlotte Haley’s dining room became Pink Ribbons, Inc.

    "White-collar conservatives flashing down the street. Pointing their plastic finger at me."

    by BOHICA on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 05:53:08 AM PST

    •  Another part of the story for sure. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BOHICA

      And Charlotte Haley is undoubtedly decent and dedicated to the cause of breast cancer.  I chose not to include it in the diary for a couple of reasons.  Primarily because it really can't be known if she was instrumental in the creation of the pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer.  Large corporations often find it prudent to buy up things in the market with similarities to what has been independently created by them because its less of a hassle and cheaper.  Secondarily, in the interest of keeping the diary to a manageable length.  Beginning the pink ribbon story with Haley is an arbitrary choice.  The AIDS red ribbon came before and the yellow ribbon before that.  

  •  Nor... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Marie, middleagedhousewife

    Nor did they invent the concept of CURING a disease so they don't have a right to sue over using the word "cure." I somehow think doctors and scientists were using the word "cure" first.

    Maybe the NIH should sue Komen for using the word "cure."

    FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

    by mole333 on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 06:40:32 AM PST

  •  According the the Canadian Film Board's (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, adrianrf

    new film, "Pink Ribbons, Inc.," the first ribbons were salmon pink colored, created by Charlotte Halley. She was approached by Estee Lauder to use the ribbon, but she refused. She said that they just wanted to use the ribbon for corporate profits. Estee Lauder then took the ribbon idea and changed the shade to neon pink. At least that's the story according to this clip found at Care2Care:

    http://www.care2.com/...

    Scroll down to the video clip and watch. The ribbon story appears before the 1 minute mark.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 06:50:20 AM PST

    •  See my response to that above. (0+ / 0-)

      IMHO after having read several reports, the history of the creation of the pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer awareness is a bit mushier than what seems to be presented in Pink Ribbons, Inc.  I chose to include the credit to Penney and Lauder in this diary because they did create the stylized ribbon in that particular shade of pink as a logo for use in print and on products.    

  •  Not wild about disease-specific advocacy groups (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Marie, middleagedhousewife, rk2

    They pit one disease against another, one constituency against another, one demographic group against another, encourage massive spending on self-promotion, and steer research priorities and directions based on which disease has the loudest and most connected advocates.

    •  Isn't that the American way, making money (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, middleagedhousewife

      by division, theft and fraud?

      The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

      by a2nite on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 07:23:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Totally agree. Capitalism (and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      middleagedhousewife

      foundations in the US are big business) is wasteful.  

    •  I agree, and I might get flamed for this, but (4+ / 0-)

      I cannot participate in Relay for Life for these reasons.  I joined a team two years in a row to help a friend. I saw Relay take over our rural community. Teams raised money all year. It sucked the life out of other, local causes, like the public library and volunteer fire companies, but the funds raised go to national. That, on top of a culture of cancer, made me drop off. My m-i-l had breast cancer, opted for a mastectomy and reconstruction, and would be damned to let cancer define her life. I liked her attitude much better.

      •  Looks as if the American Cancer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rk2

        Society is taking a page out of Komen's playbook on co-opting local fundraising efforts and turning them into an affiliate of the national organization.  More information on your experience would be welcome.  

      •  Relay for Life very big here, too. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marie, rk2

        And easily sucks life out of other fund raisers. I would like to see more of the funds raised go to local. If only we didn't have to, on top of the guilt trip the Relay teams give us, also have to pass the hat for families struggling with health issue bills. Just the drives to the treatment centers mean they need gas money. Not to mention everything else.

  •  Barbara Ehrenreich on Komen! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie
    •  Ehrenreich was the first writer (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming, LNK

      that clued me into the massive breast cancer industry.  She has no use for all the pink stuff and refuses to see herself as having fought and won a personal battle against breast cancer.  As she described it, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent treatment.  

      She was one of the Ms. magazine writers from the early days that I always appreciated.  That magazine was also the first general reader publication to print pictures of women that had undergone mastectomies.  Rather than scaring me, those pictures lessened any fear I could have had of breast cancer.  

  •  h/t for Vampire Squids (0+ / 0-)

    I have my own, which are generically referred to as AIDS Service Orgs, or ASO's. Just a bunch of greedy assholes looking for a cushy day job in an industry that allows them to bask in the glamour of all the benefits and dinners, while screwing their clients hard.

    -8.25, -7.13 "Well, on second thought, let's not go to Camelot -- it is a silly place." "Right"

    by leathersmith on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 03:01:03 PM PST

    •  Drats -- was sort of thinking (0+ / 0-)

      that the AIDS groups were better than the "pink ribbon" groups -- now you've burst that little bubble.

      This may be the inevitable outcome of when necessary activism that leads to some success becomes institutionalized and impervious to anything but its own existence.

  •  Thanks for the history. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, wu ming

    I've been involved with Komen since the late 90's but didn't know the backstory. I had no sense of any political direction whatsoever back then, and the person who initially got me involved would have run in the opposite direction if she'd though it was associated with the right. The drift has become more obvious in the past fews years, though.

    And you've really helped me with my pink ribbon problem.

    I hate the color to begin with. I always did. And Komen uses a particularly, aggressively ugly shade of it. I used to be a professional textile colorist, I'm color-sensitive still, and I happen to look terrible in pink. So, when I brought home the "swag bags" filled with pink stuff from every race, I'd give a lot of it away; my sponsors, evidently less pink-phobic than I am, were as happy to accept thank-you gifts as I was to give them.

    And now that I've disconnected myself from Komen, I'm going around the house collecting little ugly pink doodads (nail files, luggage tags, water bottles, whatever) and tossing them. The 13 years' worth of Race for the Cure T-shirts and the two baseball caps from when I was a team captain are going to the local textile recycling station next Saturday. I am happy and relieved to be getting rid of it all.

    The only thing I ever got that I wear is an enamel "pink ribbon" pin that I earned with some major (for me) fundraising one year. In fact, I'm so proud of that little pin that I always wear it on my jean jacket pocket flap, along with a YearlyKos 2007 souvenir pin and whatever small political buttons I'm currently sporting.

    I was feeling pretty bad about taking off that pin. But now that I know, thanks to you, that Komen doesn't "own" it, I don't have to. It will continue in its place of honor. Thanks.

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 04:21:13 PM PST

    •  So glad you're not junking a pin that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sidnora

      you like and symbolizes an important health issue that you've given much to.

      I too am not particularly fond of pink (the Barbie pink stuff hurts my eyes).  Am thinking a makeover is in order.

      •  BTW, the little pin (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marie

        isn't their typical Pepto Bismol shade; it's much paler, and not really offensive.

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Sun Feb 05, 2012 at 05:14:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Race for the Care ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie

    a better name, and should be used my a federation of cancer care orgs (no trade mark!) to specifically fund post-screening CARE for women (and hey, open it up to prostate post-screening care!)

    because they're not doing enough on the care end, for damn sure.

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