Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Parade rejects Mayflower kin | | The Detroit News

Thanksgiving Parade rejects Mayflower kin | | The Detroit News

This article at face value was startling. An organization of direct descendents from the Mayflower colonists are denied a spot in the Thanksgiving Parade? Definitely grabbed my attention. The organization made 4 separate attempts to know what was wrong with their application or other reason why they were not included. While they received no response, the news writer included this quote from Anthony Michaels, president and ceo of the MI Thanksgiving Parade Foundation, who runs the parade:

"We get hundreds of applications from groups and people — all kinds that want to be in the parade," Michaels said.

"We're setting this up to be an entertainment-oriented parade, so we want to make sure everything has entertainment value."

Among the new entries this year are floats from DTE, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Strategic Staffing Solutions. DTE has been a financial backer of the parade for years. The utility's entry this year will be titled "Energy and Our Future."

From The Detroit News:

Hmmm, the red highlights show part of my thinking. Mr. Michaels' comments might be interpreted as saying that Cultural history has not the value of say, Utilities and Insurance companies. One wonders what Project Inquiries students could do around this topic, or perhaps for public understanding of the relationships between culture, politics, and business. When or how should the three be intertwined for effective decision making.

There is another lesson in this experience. I wondered what might be the reason(s) for Mr. Michael's foundation to reject the group. May be the group has a political agenda which its presence might overshadow the focus of the parade--like a protest that they'd spring during the parade. So I did some digging.

1. I googled their name to find their website.
2. Reading through the website, I searched for the organization's agenda, both public and hidden.
3. Searched for links of other groups that are linked to the organization.***
4. Searched for similar groups.***

I couldn't find anything underhanded or subtly sinister. My point for this research reaction is that knee jerk posting creates lots of contentious statements (rants?), which denies a substantive dialog. Having students do due diligence prior to responding is a good tool to hone, especially in this digital age.

*** One place to do this is at Google Advanced Search. Open "Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more". Under "Page-specific tools:" are two options to choose from:
Find pages similar to the page
Find pages that link to the page
Paste a website in either and find out who they are referenced and related too.