Monday, July 21, 2008

I'd rather be lucky than good.

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch author, philosopher and scholar (1466 - 1536)
I think about that quote every time I see a big fuss made over someone merely because there is no one else over which to fuss. And I think about that every time I see Danica Patrick. She's kind of cute and all, but for a race car driver she's a hottie. If you put her on a runway modeling clothes they'd call security to get the audience member off the catwalk.
Chances are, you work with at least one other woman as pretty as she, but because she is in an office with a lot of other women, she doesn't stand out. Put her in a fire suit and see what happens.
Go to her web site and there's a full-screen presentation, complete with a song (which I think is called "Super Girl") and it's clear that it's all about glamour, Indy car-style glamour.
Marketing is a cruel friend. It can be used and it can use us. Sometimes we find ourselves trapped in it and we don't know why. Most people know who Danica Patrick is even if they don't follow racing or sports. They know because everything she does is magnified by the media and her marketing people. Ask the average person to name three drivers on the Indy Car series and they'll start with her and then start to mumble. That's good for her, but it makes me wonder about the way we set people up for fame around here.
In 2006, Sam Hornish Jr. (who?) was the series champion. Danica was named "most popular driver," as she was in 2007 when Dario Franchitti was the series champion. I know, Franchitti was on the tip of your tongue, right? Of course, one can be popular and not be the best, but who is voting? Men.
Danica made the news again last weekend as she got into an argument with another woman driver, Milka Duno (insert joke) over an incident during practice at a race in Ohio. Play nice, girls.

This is Milka Duno. To her credit, she is a former model and holds Masters degrees in Organizational Development, Naval Architecture, Maritime Business and Marine Biology and she has prior experience working as a naval engineer. Seriously. Do you think it was those Masters degrees that got her a ride?

It appears that in the Indy Car "land of the blind," somebody just bought a pair of glasses.


Kate Michele said...

because i'm a girl and its in my nature my reaction to reading all that the wonderful miss perfect Milka Duno has done in her albeit short life my response was simply...I hate her. :D


Anthony said...

It seems to me that Milka is a marketing gimmick more than anything else.
Would she have gotten the same opportunity if she looked like Janet Reno?

Kate Michele said...

No she wouldn't. and that is sad. don't you ever find it odd that in this country all the supposedly "talented" people are also gorgeous??

kimmyk said...

danica is like a good ole boy but a girl. she doesn't take any shit and i dont blame her.

the girl who sings her theme song "super girl" lives in my town and they were hanging out drinking beer in a local sports bar here. people from the bar called in and said she was just like everyone else-drinking budweiser and yakkin' to strangers and letting people get their picture taken with her. pretty cool. seems down to earth....i give her props for that.

Anthony said...

Kate: Odd, but not surprising.

Kimmyk: She wouldn't survive a minute if she took crap from a lot of those guys. She probably realized that from the beginning.