Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Day Special: The Diamond Cartel

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New World Notes News
Vol. 5, No. 6 -- February 11, 2012

This week in New World Notes, radio program #206, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Special:
The Diamond Cartel

Real ad from the Belgian couture house Natan. An ironic
comment on DeBeers' diamond ads?

In brief

Our ironic salute to Valentine's Day features an expose' of the worldwide diamond cartel (a.k.a. DeBeers). And of how a U.S. advertising agency--hired by the cartel to increase sales--invented and marketed the "tradition" of the diamond engagement ring.

Plus a few ironic and/or kinky love songs by Tom Lehrer and The Kinks.

Originally broadcast as NWN #51 in February 2009.

Real (above) and parody (below) ads in the DeBeers' recent
"Seize the Day" campaign

Notes, credits, & links

Lyn Gerry, of "Unwelcome Guests," reads from Edward Jay Epstein's article, "Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?" in Atlantic Magazine, February 1982. The article is available online, here.

Epstein's book, The Diamond Invention, also is available online.

New World Notes is produced under the auspices (Latin for "inflexible deadlines") of WWUH-FM, a community service of that beacon of light in darkest Connecticut, the University of Hartford.

You can listen to any installment of New World Notes online or else download it (as an mp3 audio file) for later listening. The show is archived at both and (from #90 onwards) The Internet Archive. Either link should get you a reverse-chrono listing of available installments. Or browse the show's Web site: Each installment has a page, and each page has links to the recorded audio. See the gray sidebar on the right ("CONTENTS [Links]") for a table of contents.

Series overview:
Political and social commentary in a variety of genres. Exploring the gap between what we want ... and what they're trying to make us settle for.

Above: Another parody (of a real DeBeers ad campaign).
Below: from Epstein's The Diamond Invention.

Coming soon (Tuesday air debut date shown)
  • February 21 -- A Salute to General Weirdness
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