"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 25 March 1997. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Thin Mint Condition



Just when you thought you'd taken

off the holiday pounds for good,

and the spring collection from

J. Crew seemed well within your

reach, your old nemesis shows up

on the front doorstep. Her

girlish figure teases, and her

clear skin and bright eyes belie

the evil she bears. You have no

one to blame but yourself. You,

after all, are the one who

ordered a half dozen boxes of

Thin Mints and a carton of

Samoas. And here they are, home

to roost: your Girl Scout




Despite the annual big scoop on

the grand conspiracy of Girl

Scout cookies, the little ladies

in green just keep turning up

with product, right around the

Ides of March. For most of their

85 years, scouts have made baked

goods an important source of

revenue, all the way back to

their 19th-century English

forebears, the Girl Guides.

We're awfully fond of pointing

out that a broken clock is right

twice a day, and what worked in

1897 still works in 1997. What

could be more modern than

teaching girls (potential

entrepreneurs, every one of

them) the finer points of

marketing, sales, collection,

and fulfillment? It's a business

model that puts most new-media

prospectuses to shame, even if

it is built on the back of child



[Campfire Girls]

In the adult workaday world, one

wonders why the glass ceiling

has persisted for women, given

the fact that some two million

girls strafe the countryside

with their order sheets these

days. Indeed, the Girl Scouts

are a model of seasonal

tenacity, making their annual

pilgrimage as surely - and as

lucratively - as any public-

radio pledge drive. Unlike their

old competitors, the Campfire

Girls (and Boys - harumph!),

they've never caved in to the

pressures of coeducation.

Indeed, the copy on present-day

cookie boxes is an exercise in

pint-sized identity politics.

Never mind a glass of milk, I'll

take a copy of Gyn/Ecology with

my Lemon Cremes:

Can you believe this is my fifth
year of Girl Scouting and every 
year I learn something new! We  
finally mastered all the knots  
for sailing. Okay, we were a    
little scared, but that's all   
right, because their were no    
boys to make fun of us.         


Equal opportunity never had it so

good - or so young.



Death, taxes, and Girl Scout

cookies may be the only sure

things in this life. But you

should never bet against a

backlash, either. With Shannon

Faulkner and her successors

making idiots out of the

Citadel, Riot Grrls taking soft

porn into their own hands, and

girls' hockey teams sprouting

like weeds under the rich manure

of Title IX, it'll only be a

matter of time before some

politically incorrect knob with

the wrong apparatus between his

legs insists on enrolling at St.

Kate's or Smith. Or pushing his

son - let's call him Robin or

Jessie - into Girl Scouts just

to make a Promethean point.


Still, it's not as if Hillary's

big Washington to-do last week

celebrated the 85th year of a

flawless organization. More

painfully apparent in

Washington, DC, than anywhere

else in the world, mere

longevity hardly qualifies as

success. Consider how long women

have had the vote - and how many

female legislators have piloted

the ship of state. Consider how

many cookies have been sold -

and how many female CEOs there

are at the helm of corporate



[Snap! Crackle!]

Indeed, the Girl Scout cookie

campaign is beset by the generic

foibles of modernity. In

January, one New Jersey troop

threatened a boycott if National

Leadership wouldn't agree to a

larger kickback (they wouldn't).

Further, studies in recent years

have shown sales rising

precipitously, while the number

of Girl Scouts actually selling

cookies door-to-door has

declined - replaced by parents,

friends, and siblings who are

concerned about the safety of

their daughters and sisters

making unsolicited calls.


Of course, the beauty of Girl

Scout cookies - and one of the

guarantees that they'll never go

away - is that they cloak a vice

within a virtue, and service

that favorite American conceit,

enlightened self-interest. Not

only can you gorge yourself on

Thin Mints, but you can

guarantee another generation of

young women the range of skills

they'll need to take charge of

this country some day: pushing

nutritionless product on behalf

of a faceless organization to

neighbors with whom they

wouldn't otherwise speak. Is

there anything more American

than that?

courtesy of the E.L. Skinner

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The Fish

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The Barrel
[Predictions by Suck]

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The Gun

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