Monday, December 24, 2007

Are The Polar Bears Sellouts?

A fierce debate has raging on the Coney Island message board under the thread heading, "Coney Island Polar Bear Club are sellouts!!!!!," apparently inspired by the following announcement on the Freezin' for a Reason website:

Thor Equities will be hosting a "warming-up gathering" after the event which will be free to all pledged swimmers. Guests will receive a free beach towel as well as hot soups, snacks, and beverages.

The thread was started by user 'fixconey,' with the following posting:

Nice cause but sad to see that you've aligned yourselves with Thor Equities. Never thought that I'd see the day when this club would be involved in an event with Thor. Makes your speeches at the save Coney rally deemed meaningless. Shame on the Polar Bear Club.

Other posters quickly jumped in on both sides of the issue. User 'adriahna' posted a letter by the president of the CI Polar Bears explaining the club's actions, and also defended the club's position in her own words:

If Thor wants to sponsor an event with a donation that includes financial, as well as physical, gifts - an event whose focus is a camp for terminally ill children - I say, let 'em. This event does not benefit the Polar Bear Club - the money goes to Camp Sunshine. So, if anyone wants to bitch, then bitch to the children's camp.

Considering that the money is going to benefit Camp Sunshine, not the Polar Bears themselves, it seems a little unfair to call them 'sellouts.' However, this still leaves us with the age old ethical dilemma of whether or not good work can be done with dirty money.
- post by Ben Nadler

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When "polarbearchief" announced the fundraiser in another post he never said isn't this great Thor is our sponsor. He never mentioned Thor at all. That's odd cause he posted isn't it great Carol Albert and Astroland and the Surf and Turf Restaurant are supporting the Club and the event. I don't see Astroland's or Surf and Turf's names or logos on the freezinforareason website alongside Thor's. Did Thor’s PR ask for the logo? Is it because Thor is making a bigger contribution and also sponsoring the "warming up" gathering with free food and towels for the swimmers? Personally I would not use a towel from the enemy Thor or eat their free food. I would not take their money even for a charitable cause. When politicians like Recchia had something nice to say about Thor, people said he’s in Thor's pocket. The same thing for organizations. If they accept contributions and work in partnership with Thor they lose their independence. They may feel an obligation to believe and speak the Thor PR line.

"polarbearchief" said in the post he "trusts" Thor's PR lady and anyhow Thor no longer plans to build condos. BWAHAHAH The chief is fooling himself. He doesn’t realize his club has been "co-opted." Thor will send a video crew to film the event and put it on youtube to publicize "the future of coney" the way Thor did with their Mermaid Parade PR film. Thor is not supporting these events out of the goodness of his mega-developer’s heart. It is part of the larger plan. Thor will try to leverage his community partnerships into support from the community board for his plans. Oh you betcha there are condos in the plan. Polar Bear New Years Swim and the Astella-Thor sponsored Halloween Parade, Thor is using you.