Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for December 2016


  • Bimbo
  • December 8, 2016
  • by Spaeth Communications

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Is the election over? Although we still have some lingering campaign BIMBOs, we hope you enjoy a respite from the red and blue. Additional BIMBOs from legendary hedge fund founder Ray Dalio, San Francisco 49ers quarterback and resident kneeler Colin Kaepernick, a Texas representative, a CEO and the South Korean president. Some examples of the Wrong Thing to Say come from a West Virginia mayor and a San Antonio police officer. And do we ever have a month where Twitter is scandal-free?    

THE WINNING BIMBO

“Any reports claiming I said Harrison was bad in bed are utterly false,” said Carrie Fisher as publicity swirled around her new book, “The Princess Diarist,” a memoir based on diaries she wrote while filming Star Wars. (Note, the headline pumped up the quote a little and Fisher tweeted energetically to engage in the debate. Our favorite tweet? “I would never talk about how someone was in any furniture--chair, bed, coffee table or otherwise.” This BIMBO won because it made us laugh…and we’re all tired of politics.)

Los Angeles Times, “Carrie Fisher insists: I never said Harrison Ford was bad in bed,” Nov. 16, 2016

THE RUNNERS-UP

“It would be wrong to sit here and say there isn’t an economic efficiency dimension,” said Andrew Owen, managing director for UBS’s group corporate services in London. (UBS is following the practice of “thin desks.” Employees don’t get an office, desk or phone. They are expected to set up shop at a different desk each day or, more precisely, part of a desk since the company plans to have one desk for every 1.2 employees. No place to tuck family photos. Just bring your cell phone and get to work. Owen’s quote is the runner-up because he admitted through awful corporate doublespeak that this was about tightening costs. What should he have said? “Of course this is about saving money. This is London, for heaven’s sake. If you want to work in London, come see us. And remember, we want to be a dominant firm in London a hundred years from now. Everybody pulls together.” They do talk about how people work together on projects. The story would have been more compelling if he could have cited one.)

The New York Times, “No Laptop, No Phone, No Desk: UBS Reinvents the Work Space,” Nov. 3, 2016  

“We do not fire crew members for trivial reasons,” said specialty grocery store Trader Joe’s in response to an employee’s claim that he was fired because his smile was “insufficiently genuine.” (The store is known for encouraging sales personnel to be solicitous of customers, accompanying them to requested items and – well – smiling. The employee claims he was fired because he was working to form a union. Trader Joe’s did add, “We pride ourselves on operating our business with integrity and adhering to the law at all times.” We still prefer that companies take refuge in “We don’t feel it’s appropriate to discuss personnel matters out of respect for our employees,” perhaps adding “Our goal is that our customers delight in the store experience.” After all, it’s in their employee handbook. Why not reinforce it?)

The New York Times, “At Trader Joe’s, Good Cheer May Hide Complaints,” Nov. 3, 2016 

“Our very preliminary assessment is that on the economic front, the developments are broadly positive--the straws in the wind suggest that many of the people under consideration… probably won’t recklessly and stupidly drive the economy into the ditch,” said legendary hedge fund guru Ray Dalio. (This can best be described as faint praise.)

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “The Sunny Side of Trump,” Nov. 17. 2016  

“I’m not talking about Fidel Castro and his oppression,” said San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick on a conference call with South Florida media. Kaepernick, who has refused to stand during the national anthem, was asked by a Miami reporter about a shirt he wore in August with pictures of Fidel Castro and Malcolm X. (Kaepernick has harshly criticized the United States. He’s also painted himself into a corner regarding Fidel Castro, whose recent death generated significant publicity reminding the public of Cuba’s economic ills and political oppression. After losing badly to the Dolphins, Kaepernick again wore a Malcolm X T-shirt to the post-game press conference and went after the reporter who quizzed him at the first one and insisted, “I never said I support the oppressive things [Castro] did.” We have no advice to give Kaepernick except that he needs to find a good history teacher and learn Cuba’s real history. He claimed Cuba “invest[s] more in their education system than they do in their prison system.” No doubt this will come as a surprise to the thousands of political prisoners deprived of rights we take for granted here.)

The Washington Post, “Colin Kaepernick grilled by Miami Herald reporter over Fidel Castro shirt,” Nov. 24, 2016

“They’re not earmarks,” said Rep. John Culbertson, R-Texas, urging that the Republican House restore the ability to direct certain spending. (Our intellectual sympathies are with Culbertson who is, after all, a Texan. He argued that renouncing the ability to direct funds to specific projects has given the executive branch much more power. And he’s right, but his claim that “The people who abused this privilege lost it for Congress as a whole,” should recognize that the last thing the public wants to do is trust Congress with the power to earmark. This is a losing argument for Congress and worse for Republicans. It bolsters the perception that Republicans just want to control government and get their sticky fingers back in the cookie jar.)

The Dallas Morning News, “Why this Texas Republican wants to bring earmarks back to Washington,” Nov. 22, 2016

“We don’t want to be exploitative,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt about using Trump’s election as a fund-raising device. (Sure you don’t. We have to admit that the past year has been one of insult and exploitation. It’s time to move on.)

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “Liberal Nonprofits Ride the Anti-Trump Donation Wave,” Nov. 18, 2016

“There are stories that I fell into a pseudo-cult and did shamanistic rituals at the Blue House,” said South Korean President Park Geun-hye trying to tamp down a controversy about a longtime family friend, Choi Soon-sil’s, access to and control over high-level government affairs. (Well, at least we’re not the only country with weird presidential politics. The friendship between the two families has been known for decades; it was even the inspiration for a 90s soap opera about politics under Park’s father, the former president. If you’re disposed to laugh, this could bring down President Park who has publicly apologized twice. What should she have said? Never deny you’re part of a cult. The word is too powerful.)

NPR, “S. Korean President’s ‘Rasputin’ Was Once Part Of A Soap Opera Storyline,” Nov. 7, 2016

“This is not a cult,” said Gary Clark, vice president of the Monolithic Dome Institute in Italy, Texas, where a whole mini-city of concrete domes exists. (What is it with all of the cult references this month? The Institute pointed out, quite rightly, that many buildings, even the Texas State Capitol, have dome structures. The advertising says they are great for security and are safe from termites, mold, rot, earthquakes and bullets. We’re impressed with the rationale, but we wish Clark had said, “This is an idea whose time has come again and should stick.”)

Dallas Observer, “An Hour South of Dallas, The Monolithic Dome Institute is Preparing for the End of Times,” Oct. 20, 2016

“There’s nothing wrong with frozen – vegetables are vegetables,” said Bob Cantwell, CEO of B&G, the company that recently bought frozen food icon Green Giant. (Another example where the second half of the quote is fine: “Millennials want fresh food, but they want frozen.” The negatives compounded with a comment from Kraft’s Jennifer Healy noting that 77 percent of Americans bought a frozen meal in the last year, saying “I wouldn’t call that a dead category.” How much better to have said, “I would call that a very competitive category.” However, bad words are rampant in this story. See: “crap,” “baggage” and “industrialized.”)

Bloomberg, “Frozen Food Comes in From the Cold,” Oct. 27, 2016

“We’ve never bought a peacock. We’ve never bought a peacock,” insisted Wayne Newton’s lawyer, rebutting complaints about the peacocks on his 40-acre ranch where they have become neighborhood pests. (The attorney claimed the peacocks were at the ranch when Newton bought it. He may not have “bought” the peacocks, but he bought the ranch, so the peacocks are his. An interesting challenge. They’re not like rats you can trap. Peacock removal service, anyone?)

CBS News, “Wayne Newton’s neighbors complain of pesky peacocks at his Vegas estate,” Nov. 13, 2016

WRONG THING TO SAY

“I’m tired of seeing an ape in heels,” wrote Pamela Ramsey Taylor, director of the Clay County Development Corp. in West Virginia on her personal social media account about First Lady Michelle Obama. This is an interesting example – not just of ugly speech – but of the speed of transmittal and the risk of responding. The mayor of the local town, Beverly Whaling, commented, “Just made my day Pam.” Of course, it was immediately picked up by the local news. Taylor lost her job and the mayor had to resign. (A reminder: there is nothing personal or private any more. We wish to add our own comment. Taylor was praising Melania Trump when she said, “It will be so refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady back in the White House.” Wasn’t Michelle Obama just that?)

The Washington Post, “‘Ape in heels’: W.VA. mayor resigns amid controversy over racist comments about Michelle Obama,” Nov. 16, 2016

“I’m going to kill the president. Elect. Bring it Secret Service,” wrote Matt Harrigan, the CEO of cybersecurity firm, PacketSled on his personal Facebook page. His comments ended up on Reddit. Trump supporters found them – what a surprise – and called the Secret Service. (The CEO was fired by his board, where he compounded the problem with a mealy-mouthed apology when he stated, “If anything I said…” Stop with the “if.” When apologizing, be declarative. “I apologize that I said something so stupid.” And this lack of awareness from a cybersecurity firm?)

Mashable, “Cybersecurity CEO fired after threatening to kill Trump on Facebook,” Nov. 15, 2016   

San Antonio police officer Matthew Luckhurst told a colleague he had placed “fecal matter” into a sandwich and gave it to an unsuspecting homeless man. The colleague reported him and Luckhurst was fired. Luckhurst said he was just joking and his attorney claimed “There’s no eye witness to that and there’s no body camera footage,” as if that’s at all relevant. (We actually believe Officer Luckhurst. It’s the kind of dumb things people say, but it is highly inappropriate and had obvious consequences. Words matter.)

The Washington Post, “‘A vile and disgusting act’: Officer accused of giving fecal sandwich to homeless man is fired,” Nov. 5, 2016

SOCIAL MEDIA

This is our favorite example of how one communication platform triggers a whole host of others resulting in a hilarious headline. It involved emails from a friend of Campaign Chairman John Podesta’s brother leaked by Wikileaks, triggering social media speculation that “spirit cooking” (which is pretty weird when you look it up) was… well, see the headline below that explains it all. And Podesta didn’t even go to the dinner!

The Washington Post, “No, John Podesta didn’t drink bodily fluids at a secret Satanist dinner,” Nov. 4, 2016

Remember when the Dixie Chicks got in trouble for saying they were embarrassed that George W. Bush was from Texas? Maybe they should take a look at Texas’ Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, as prolific a tweeter as President-elect Trump. He got suckered on Halloween night retweeting fake tweets purporting to be from FBI Director James Comey. One comment of Miller’s, “I’m hearing some big things: FBI about to expose Hillary and Obama treachery in Syria and Libya. Stinger missiles. Benghazi. Soon?” He doesn’t get bonus points for tweeting at 2:00 a.m. either.  

Texas Monthly, “Sid Miller’s Twitter Implosion,” Nov. 1, 2016

THE FINAL CAMPAIGN COUNTDOWN

“He [Trump] was not my friend,” said incoming Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. This was the response to President-elect Trump’s comment on Morning Joe, “Hey look, I think I’ll be able to get along well with Chuck Schumer. I was always very good with Schumer. I was close to Schumer in many ways.”(So much for extending the olive branch and bi-partisan cooperation.)

The Hill, “Schumer: Trump ‘was not my friend,’” Nov. 19, 2016

President Obama had his share of ill-constructed comments, starting with this BIMBO, “I’m not worried about being the last Democratic President.” This hand-wringing was due to the Democrats’ decrease in Congressional seats the past six years. In another article he added, “This is not the apocalypse.” (Not the best way to ease the worries of many Democrats.)

Washington Examiner, “Obama blames messaging, bad luck, ‘our system’,” Nov. 21, 2016

A reminder that bad words live forever. The newly appointed chief strategist and senior counselor to the Trump White House, Steve Bannon, has a long history with unsavory comments. These are, of course, getting picked up and repeated due to his newfound prominence in an already controversial White House. Joel Pollak, senior Breitbart editor and general counsel, tried to defend Bannon’s (and Brietbart’s) comments when he stated, “We’re not anti-Semitic. We’re not anti-gay. We’re not anti-woman. We aren’t any of those things.” (Of course these denials only perpetuated the negative words. Given the inflammatory headlines from the news site and Bannon’s undeniable quotability, we can expect a lot more, and Pollak needs a good media adviser.)

NPR, “Trump Names Breitbart Chairman Steve Bannon As Senior Advisor,” Nov. 14, 2016

Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook provided an example of how dodging a question causes people to hear the opposite of what you’re trying to say. When queried about the charge that CNN’s Donna Brazile secretly fed debate questions to the campaign staff ahead of Clinton’s debate with Bernie Sanders, Mook first replied, “Well I haven’t seen the emails in question.” He then said, “I am not aware of any questions getting fed in…that’s, look. Here’s the other thing I’ll say. Hillary Clinton is tough. She can take on Bernie Sanders. She can take on Donald Trump. I don’t…she doesn’t need to be fed anything.” The article pointed out well-documented talking points used by the campaign. (At least they tried to prepare, but what they needed was an acknowledgement phrase with a truthful response. In the end, Mook ducked the question four times. Yikes.)

Hot Air, “Robby Mook: ‘I’m not aware of any questions getting fed in’,” Nov. 3, 2016


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