Washington Babylon — May 30, 2008, 11:58 am

Worst Shill of Year? Six Flags and high gas prices

Not long after the 9/11 attacks, lobbyist Howard Marlowe sought help for the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA). A letter to Congress his firm helped prepare said that the economic fallout from the attacks paled “in comparison with the unspeakable human losses of that day,” but said that urgent action was nonetheless required—specifically, lavishing money on wealthy beach communities. “Many national leaders have stated that increased tourism is imperative to the recovery of our economic strength,” the letter claimed.

And just as the lobbyist used terrorism to seek a competitive advantage for the ASBPA, Six Flags’ P.R. department yesterday put out a release that sought to capitalize on recession and high gas prices. While it doesn’t quite reach the comic-opera level of absurdity of Marlowe’s letter, it’s still a good read for a lazy Friday afternoon:

I am reaching out to you to see if you would like to set up an interview with our CEO, Mark Shapiro. He can be available to discuss Six Flags and the economy.

With high gas prices rising to over $4.00 or more, families are looking for fun and entertaining things to do with their families that are exciting, affordable and closer to home. Six Flags definitely meets those criteria. With over 21 parks across the US, Canada and Mexico, Six Flags is the ultimate entertainment destination with something for every member of the family from child, tween, teen and even parents! With a jaw-dropping ride or family-friendly attraction in every park this season, Six Flags is THE place to be for all things entertainment, fun and thrill-seeking for guests of all ages.

To combat the current economy, we have also lowered prices at some of our parks across the US and Mark is able to speak to this as well. Many families will be searching for something to do with their friends and families, and Six Flags is definitely the “daycation” for them. Let me know if you are interested.

At least there was no mention of those horrific commercials featuring an old man dancing.

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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