[OPE-L] The ("irrational"?) symbol of the inflatable rat, stateside

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Wed Apr 19 2006 - 15:55:55 EDT

ATLANTA - More than 300 Delta Air Lines Inc. pilots marched near the
company's headquarters Wednesday and placed a giant inflatable rat on a
street corner to symbolize what they see as corporate greed in management's
effort to void their contract and impose pay cuts. (...)   Union
spokesman Mike Pinho said the rat is a "nationwide symbol of greed at the
highest levels of corporate America."

Twelve years ago, Mike O'Connor, owner of Big Sky Balloons & Searchlights in
Plainfield, Illinois, created the first rat at the request of a union member
in nearby Chicago. Said the union man of O'Connor's first sketch: "It's not
mean enough." O'Connor added bigger fangs and a pink belly with "festering
nipples." "I love it," the man said. So did other unions. Today, Big Sky
sells between 100 and 200 rats a year--even though it is a nonunion shop
itself. The Rat comes in several sizes, from the squat-looking 6-footer
($2,000) to the towering 30-footer ($7,700). Because many communities have
ordinances limiting the height of inflatable displays, the most popular size
is the 12-footer, small enough to stand upright in the bed of a pickup
truck, yet big enough to attract attention. Does the Rat work? "Usually,
employers go bonkers when they see it across from their property," says
Randy Mayhew, organizing director of Laborers International Union of North
America, which employs about 20 rats. "It's an effective piece of street
theater," says Peter Jones, executive director of the Labor Heritage
Foundation. http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/artifact.html

You may as well
Shout it from the roof
Scream it from your lungs
Spit it from you mouth
There's a spy in the sky
There's a noise on the wire
There's a tap on the line
And for every paranoid's desire...
There's always Someone looking at you.
S-s-s-s-someone looking at you...
They're always looking at you.

- "Someone looking at you", by the Boomtown Rats

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