Case Rip Cord: We’re Goin’ to Disneyland!
It’s good to see the RC teaching teams living up to the HBS application brochure and integrating the curriculum across classes. On the day before Spring Break, Septembers had a BGIE case on the British Corn Laws, and a Finance case on Canada’s United Grain Growers. These cases both sported pun names. The main question in the Corn Laws case is whether British Prime Minister Sir Robert “Peel” should “repeal” the Corn Laws, while Ken “Risko” analyzed the “risk” associated with variances in weather patterns in the UGG case. Acutally, Mr. Risko wins the Best Canadian Humorist Award, as he made a guest appearance in Section NF and said that he used to be named Ken Smith, but UGG gave him his new stage name.
While we’re on the subject of bad puns, the BGIE film for Textiles and the Multi-Fiber Arragnement said threats were “looming” larger and protectionism was knocking the “starch” out of the industry. Ugh. And the Corn Laws case had some other “sweet” quotes. In 1843, Richard Cobden was most likely sporting a silly looking wig and the most pretentious of exaggerated British accents when he stated in the House of Commons, “Let a copy of the statutes be sent, if it were possible, to another planet, without one word of comment, and the inhabitants of that sphere would at once say, `These laws were passed by landlords.’” Rumors at NASA report that this experiment is actually next up on their To Do list. Cobden’s speech is countered by George Game Day, a man who should be anointed the patron saint of ESPN.
Ken Risko wasn’t the only visitor providing entertainment recently. Another case protagonist wins the Brutally Frank Award, saying recently, “Of course I thought the numbers in the business plan were overly confident. You should be able to justify the numbers when you’re pitching the VCs, but if the figures were any more optimistic, you’d burst out laughing.”
Bitter Competition: The Holland Sweetener Company versus NutraSweet: “In Roman times, grape juice was boiled down in lead pans to produce sapa, a sweet compound used for everything from a food additive to an oral contraceptive. …use of sapa unfortunately led to neurological damage or even death.” Kind of a super contraceptive, really-why go for the sperm when you can go straight for the source?
Brealey and Myers: “Such a rate is known as yield to maturity, though it is in fact no more than our old acquaintance, the internal rate of return (IRR), masquerading under another name.” Since when do we personify mathematical terms and allow them to play dress up like our study group mates who went to the Priscilla Ball? [Thanks to Meredith Weenick, NE]
Creating the International Trade Organization: “In the face of a mounting German threat, U.S. and British leaders signed a Mutual Aid Agreement in 1942.” A little late to start combating German threat mounting, no? John Maynard Keynes later states, “I am…a hopeless sceptic about this return to nineteenth century laissez faire, for which you and the [American] State Department seem to have such nostalgia.” Now what kind of creative synonyms might this esteemed English economist used for “American”? Brit Mark Bearn, NF, suggests Keynes might have actually used one of these words: colonial, redundant, pig-headed, ignorant, blind, chauvinist, or recalcitrant.
The Walt Disney Company: “Synergy.” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Oh, wait-The Princess Bride was a Twentieth Century Fox production. No one should ever have to start a comment in class with “If you look at Exhibit 23 on page 35.” And with so many exhibits containing data of questionable utility on the entertainment industry, why omit George Game Day’s canonization as the patron saint of ESPN?
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