Re: "Impersonal Foul" [November 15]
Poor Fern Schumer Chapman! So she found out that it isn't nice to steal someone else's idea. And that's exactly what she is/was attempting to do with her little "Air" (TM) book--steal. No matter that I'm no fan of Nike and never will be, nor am I a fan of the Bulls or Michael Jordan (in fact, an endorsement from Jordan, or Charles Barkley, or Dennis Rodman, or any other sports whore is enough to ensure that I will not buy whatever product they're trying to sell), the fact remains that this "Air" (TM) idea was created by Nike or someone working for Nike. They own the rights to it, they worked hard for it, they have the right to decide how it will be exploited. And Ben Joravsky's posturings aside, Nike does not own the word "air," just that very narrow use of it.
Beyond that, however, Ben Joravsky's piece showed no indication that Nike or the Bulls "bullied" Schumer Chapman into submission. Rather, it was a few astute people involved in the publishing and legal worlds who suggested that, er, maybe it's not a great idea to take someone else's work and call it your own. If that's "a horrible glimpse of the real world," well, it's time Schumer Chapman turns off the television. Maybe then she'll come up with an original idea.
Then again, maybe Schumer Chapman actually wanted to steal, and she's only upset that she got caught. Her "moral values" (TM) are apparently shot anyway. Take the part about the mother character and the Luvabulls: It doesn't take much to convince the woman to sell her own body and become just another sports whore. Maybe Joravsky should have titled his piece "Indecent Proposal." Oops.
That one's taken too.
PS to Joravsky: Look, Nike provides us with plenty of reasons to despise the company, its products, its manufacturing and marketing methods, and everyone else making a buck off those $6 clown shoes. Your piece does not serve that cause. "You mean there's a principle here?" You betcha.
Ben Joravsky replies:
The issue's not whether Nike worked hard to create "Air," but whether Chapman (or anyone) has the right to use "Air" in a parody.