More Moral Than Other Folks and Willing to Give Away Their Money to Prove It

RECEIVED Mon., Sept. 17, 2007

Dear Editor,
    I'm writing to call attention to details of the upcoming Flaming Lips show at La Zona Rosa, a Camel cigarettes "signature event," advertised in recent issues of the Chronicle. The Flaming Lips and La Zona Rosa hardly could have picked a worse company to do business with than Camel, owned by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, infamous for, among other things, subtle and not-so-subtle advertising to children (remember Joe Camel?). Tickets are available for free by signing up with local Camel field agents or registering on Camel's website; if the show is like other Camel events, there will be lots of free Camel merchandise. (The event is ages 18 and up.)
    The Flaming Lips and La Zona Rosa are both popular and easily could do a profitable show in Austin without Camel's involvement but apparently not profitable enough. It stands to reason there's a lot of money coming their way from Camel, which is desperate to advertise to new customers as fewer and fewer people smoke, a phenomenon caused by increased awareness, limits on advertising – and the strange coincidence that their regular customers don't seem to live as long as nonsmokers.
    I hope Austinites will choose bands and venues that don't bring "selling out" to a whole new level by doing business with Camel.
Michael Bond
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