Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for February 2015


  • Bimbo
  • February 9, 2015
  • by Spaeth Communications

Tom brady-2

We offer the New England Patriots congratulations on winning the Super Bowl and BIMBO of the Month. Besides Quarterback Tom Brady's and Coach Bill Belichick’s flood of BIMBO comments, this month offers quite a bumper crop from Sony CEO Michael Lynton, local township administrators (zombies at Christmas anyone?), Attorney General Eric Holder, Republican congressmen and the usual range of hubbub and missteps in public and on the Twitterverse.

THE WINNING BIMBO

“I would never break the rules,” said Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady about “Deflategate,” the discovery that 11 of 12 footballs used in the playoff game against the Colts may have been purposely underinflated. (Brady and Head Coach Bill Belichick produced a veritable flood of BIMBO and “Wrong Thing to Say” comments. In the same breath as the “I would never break the rules, I would never have someone do anything outside the rules,” Brady also said, “I feel like I have always played within the rules,” competing with his own message. He tried – and failed – to lighten the mood by adding, “This isn’t ISIS. No one’s dying.” Coach Belichick said over and over, “I don’t have an explanation,” and then caused jaws to drop when he insisted, “I’m not a scientist. I’m not an expert in football measurements,” and for good measure, referred to the movie, “My Cousin Vinny,” noting that he was no Mona Lisa Vitae, the unlikely automotive expert whose testimony saved the day. The coach also insisted, “I have no knowledge of the various steps involved,” and in a Hamlet-like “protest too much” fashion, insisted “I have never talked to any player, staff member about football air pressure.” Comments like “I have never known them to lie to me,” only raised additional negative words. In a rambling press conference, he opined that “atmospheric conditions” may have caused the balls to deflate. What should he have said? Given that the NFL investigation has been, well, less than energetic, he should have made a short statement of cooperation and left the topic. The more he said “I don’t know,” the less credible he looked. Fortunately for Belichick, most reporters observed that the margin of the Patriots’ victory made it unnecessary to cheat.)

ESPN, “Belichick: Pats ‘followed every rule,’” Jan. 25, 2015

THE RUNNERS-UP

We don’t kill or stone people or cut off hands or anything like that,” said Syahrizal Abbas, head of the Shariah Islam Agency in Aceh, Indonesia. (Following the tsunami, warring factions in the province joined together in instituting Shariah law. We’re glad they don’t stone people. We guess that’s progress.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Ten Years After Tsunami, Faith Brings Order,” Dec. 26, 2014

“You won’t get me to talk about Keystone because I have steadily made clear that I’m not going to express an opinion,” said potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. (Of course, by saying this, particularly at a conference in Canada, she clearly told the world she’s just another politician waiting to see which way the political winds prevail.)

The Associated Press, “Hillary Clinton declines to take position on Keystone,” Jan. 21, 2015

“We have not caved,” insisted Sony CEO Michael Lynton against the White House comments that Sony had not consulted with them before cancelling distribution of the movie, “The Interview.” (This was like the Abbott & Costello “Who’s on first?” skit. President Obama opined that he wished Sony had consulted with them. Sony declared they had spoken several times with the White House. Note the comment made the headline.)

National Review Online, “Sony CEO Fires Back at ‘Mistaken’ Obama: ‘We Have Not Caved,’” Dec. 19, 2014

“The township is not anti-zombie or anti-nativity,” said Sycamore Township administrator Greg Bickford trying to explain why a homeowner must take down a zombie nativity scene. (Apparently the zombie was a Halloween leftover that the homeowner had kept up and converted to a Christmas scene. The township claimed it was a zoning issue.)

Cincinnati Enquirer, “Sycamore Twp. zombie nativity violates zoning code,” Dec. 23, 2014

“We don’t stereotype,” said Attorney General Eric Holder when asked if there were terrorist sleeper cells in the U.S. that he was monitoring. (This is an example of how a word, “stereotyping,” has been imbued with inflammatory connotations when he really should be talking about judicious allocation of resources. The Israelis, who have the best security surveillance in the world, have a sophisticated intelligence system and we should, too. Holder tried to reassure the public that the government is watching the right people, but the word crowded out the reassurance.)

Breitbart, “Holder Assures US Not Stereotyping While Terror Sleeper Cells,” Jan. 11, 2015

“I don’t look at this as a rebellion,” said Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Florida, challenging Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, for speaker. (This is a classic example of how we pick up each other’s words. Lou Dobbs introduced the word “rebellion” in the interview, and Yoho replied, “You used the word 'rebellion,' I don’t look at this as a rebellion.” Of course, the memorable word is rebellion.)

Lou Dobbs Tonight, "Efforts to unseat Rep. Boehner as Speaker of the House," Jan. 5, 2015

We aren’t a vacuum cleaner that sucks up every single discontented voter,” said German business leader Hans Olaf Henkel about a debate within a relatively new political party, Alternative for Democracy, on whether it should embrace the rapidly growing Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West group. (The problem with the quote is that it crowds out what the speaker should have said, “We welcome all people who support traditional family and German values.”)

The Wall Street Journal, “German Anti-Islam Protests Touch Off Power Struggle in Euroskeptic Party,” Jan. 6, 2015

“These changes aren’t meant to return sexual-assault victims to the Dark Ages of indifference or contempt,” said Tom Dennis, urging states to pass laws requiring students accused of rape or sexual assault on college campuses to have a lawyer. (This common sense bill in North Dakota drew outrage and charges that the sponsors were anti-woman. There have been numerous stories of men accused by women, almost always with overuse of alcohol involved, where there is presumption of guilt from the start. Colleges have tried to avoid the problem of denying legal representation by classifying the hearings as disciplinary rather than criminal, but then they have turned the findings directly over to local police. The problem with Dennis’ quote is that it competes with the other half of his quote, that the right to counsel was meant to “bring balance to recognize that increased sensitivity to accusers’ concerns also warrant heightened sensitivity to the rights of the accused.”)

Washington Examiner, “N.D. may become second state to allow students to hire attorneys,” Jan. 19, 2015

“I’m not a feminist,” said actress Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting generating a tidal wave of criticism. (The actual story is rather sweet. She said she likes taking care of her husband, and she was properly respectful of women who had opened doors for other women. This is just another example of trying to bully women into rejecting traditional relationships, even for women who are clearly successful in the workforce.)

USA Today, “Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting apologizes for saying she’s not a feminist,” Jan. 2, 2015

“We are not panicking,” said Rusty Cloutier, CEO of MidSouth Bank of Lafayette, Louisiana. (The article explored the ramifications of the dramatic collapse of oil prices. This is not a fatal quote, but the second half is better, “Our companies understand that they ride the crest, the up and the down.” That would have been a much more comforting headline.)

The New York Times, “As Oil Prices Fall, Banks Serving the Energy Industry Brace for a Jolt,” Jan. 11, 2015

“We are not a dictatorial company,” said architect Albert Speer about Qatar’s plans for the 2022 World Cup. (Speer has achieved world-wide recognition on his own but lives with the infamy of being the son of one of Hilter’s top executives. Speer also has a reputation for meticulous attention to detail in his work.)

Der Spiegel, “Interview with Architect Albert Speer: The Search for Sustainability at the Qatar World Cup,” Jan. 8, 2015

“Africa isn’t just diseases,” said singer Angelique Kidjo, criticizing media perception of the continent. (We sympathize with Kidjo, and she is certainly correct. Unfortunately, her quote became the headline. Her main point was that there are other important causes, particularly the need to send more girls to school.)

Al Jazeera, “Angelique Kidjo: ‘Africa isn’t just diseases,’” Jan. 3, 2015

“It’s not simply that we are despots,” said Heshy Jacob, an associate of Sheldon Silver’s, one of the most powerful political figures in New York who was arrested and charged with political corruption. (Silver’s coterie ran the state for many decades and he allegedly used the position to enrich himself and direct state funds to supporters.)

The Forward, “Sheldon Silver’s Fall Signals End of a (Jewish) Era in New York Politics,” Jan. 23, 2015

“Blackbrunch is not about grabbing the public by the throat,” read a flyer from a protest group Blackbrunch that enters restaurants and reads the names of African Americans allegedly killed by law enforcement. (We defer to one of our valued colleagues and contributors who advises not to get caught up in a dispute over statistics, comparing the number of minorities killed by other minorities. The main point here is that the protestors are doing just what they claimed not to be doing.)

East Bay Express, “News Media Ignores Black Protests,” Dec. 16, 2015

“Even Adolph [sic] Hitler thought it more important than Obama to get to Paris. (For all the wrong reasons.) Obama couldn’t do it for the right reasons,” tweeted Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas. (When will elected officials, particularly Republicans, learn that “Hitler” is one of the words on the permanent “bad word” list? Applying it to President Obama only infuriates voters who like him. The tweet has been deleted but will live forever.)

ABC News, “Congressman Randy Weber Apologizes for Tweet Comparing President Obama to Hitler,” Jan. 13, 2015

WRONG THING TO SAY (OR DO)

Following international criticism of the U.S. for skipping the march of solidarity for the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the journalists killed and the importance of free speech, Secretary of State John Kerry made a belated visit to the French and brought along his friend, singer James Taylor, to sing – in English – “You’ve got a friend,” to French officials. This is an example of how to amplify a mistake.

Politico, “James Taylor to Paris: ‘You’ve got a friend,’” Jan. 16, 2015

Pope Francis drew millions on his visit to the Philippines, but the visit and his words of reconciliation and faith were overshadowed by a comment on the church’s position on birth control. Saying that the Church would not relax its position on “artificial” birth control, the pontiff ad-libbed that people do not need to “breed like rabbits.” Despite the American Easter connection, the “rabbits” comment went worldwide instantly. (This was very unfortunate because the pontiff’s comments were meant to stress that there were acceptable contraceptive practices. There was a decidedly humorous component to the Twitter discussion as people urged Catholics to “hop to it.”)

The New York Times, “Pope Amuses and Insults With Remark on Parenting,” Jan. 20, 2015



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