Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for June 2017


  • Bimbo
  • June 6, 2017
  • by Spaeth Communications

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This month our top two BIMBOs are international, demonstrating the global temptation to repeat and deny negatives. Additional BIMBOs from a Preakness trainer, a Harvard graduate and an Arizona sheriff. A BIMBO plus a great prop from West Virginia’s governor and more examples from Stephen Colbert, a Yale college dean, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and a former Clinton campaign staffer.

THE WINNING BIMBO

“I do not want the public to feel unduly alarmed,” said U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May in the aftermath of an ISIS attack where a suicide bomber detonated an explosive as an Ariana Grande concert was letting out in Manchester, England. (This is a classic BIMBO where the speaker wanted to reassure the public but achieved the opposite. Like the nurse who says, “This won’t hurt,” you know it will. In the same remarks, the prime minister also said, “It is a possibility we cannot ignore that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.” So there are more people out there ready to do even more harm? She should have stuck to comments assuring the public that the government and law enforcement were determined to bring the perpetrators to justice.)

The New York Times, “Terror Alert in Britain Is Raised to Maximum as ISIS Claims Manchester Attack,” May 23, 2017

THE RUNNERS-UP

“I did not buy anyone’s silence,” said Brazilian President Michael Temer responding to transcripts published in the newspaper O Globo that appeared to show Temer encouraging a corporate executive to continue making payments to another politician implicated in the corruption and bribery scandals engulfing the country. (To compound the impact of the denial, the president repeated it, adding, “I will not resign. I did not buy anyone’s silence.” The minute someone says that, you know resignation is in the offing, and that the charges have some validity. He should have changed the subject and said, “My total focus is on restoring the country’s economy and piloting us through this difficult time.”)

The Wall Street Journal, “Brazilian Graft Probe Targets President, Markets Drop Amid Impeachment Talk,” May 19, 2017

“I don’t feel our numbers are any worse than anyone else’s, not at all,” said Liane Hornsey, Uber’s new human resources chief executive, in reference to the just-released diversity statistics for the company. (Ouch. Given the bad publicity about the lack of diversity, particularly in the executive ranks of  Silicon Valley companies, that’s not a great claim. Particularly disturbing is that Hornsey as the new top HR officer presumably should understand how to communicate with various audiences. She did go on to praise CEO Travis Kalanick, calling him “more open to diversity,” noting “We have drivers who have become employees” and that “They don’t just hire from the most elite schools.” Even these comments were unclear, raising the issue of  anecdotes. Does the speaker point to Mary So-and-So as an example or does that look like tokenism? This seems like a good opportunity to launch an employee engagement initiative – but those have to be truly voluntary and transparent or they backfire.)

USA Today, “Uber got off to a slow start on driving diversity. Can it catch up?” May 25, 2017

“This is not a protest, this is not a demonstration,” said Kevin Livingston, the president of 100 Suits for 100 Men, a nonprofit that outfits parolees to prepare them for job interviews. The “not a protest” took place on Park Avenue in Manhattan across from the NFL offices in support of Colin Kaepernick. (Of course it was a protest and demonstration. Why has Kaepernick not been signed to a team? This article by Jay Maxson quoting columnist Christine Brennen sheds light on it. Kaepernick’s decision to “take a knee” is far less damaging than the accusations of violence and assault, but his friends have elevated him to be the “next race hustler,” and team owners have watched what groups like Black Lives Matter can do and how they take offense at any deviation from their own agenda. As for Kaepernick, he’s doing everything right. He’s participating in non-profits like 100 Suits—which is what sparked Livingston’s support for him, he’s visiting school children. He’s giving inspirational speeches where he doesn’t mention the “knee.”  The columnists who have advised his “friends” to back off and let Kaepernick keep doing his thing – without them – are right. Sometimes you can love something to death.)

USA Today, “Colin Kaepernick supporters gather in New York for ‘show of solidarity,’” May 24, 2017

“It’s not a two horse race,” said trainer of Preakness contender Classic Empire the day before the race about speculation of the match-up with Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming. The media jumped in writing, “Anytime a trainer of one of the favorites says it’s not a two horse race, you can bet it’s probably a two horse race.” (Who was it who said, “Never make predictions, especially about the future?” Cloud Computing – the horse, not a division of Oracle – won.)

USA Today, “Always Dreaming, Classic Empire could make Preakness a two-horse race,” May 18, 2017

“This is not about segregation,” said Harvard graduate student Michael Huggins about the university’s first all-black graduation ceremony. (Huggins went on to say, “It’s about fellowship and building a community.” So far, OK. It’s not clear whether participating students were skipping or boycotting the traditional graduation, but then another student, Courtney Woods, explained, “Harvard’s institutional foundation is in direct conflict with the needs of black students. There is a legacy of slavery, epistemic racism and colonization at Harvard which was an institution founded to train rising imperialist leaders.” Woods sounds woefully ignorant of the history of her own university, which was founded to educate clergy. Unfortunately she also missed the opportunity to highlight what she felt were the positive aspects of an all-black graduation ceremony building upon Huggins' second positive quote.)

The Washington Times, “Harvard to host first all-black graduation: ‘This is not about segregation,’” May 9, 2017

“I know my people did nothing wrong. I did not,” whined legendary sheriff Joe Arpaio. He lost a re-election campaign last fall and is awaiting trial on charges that he defied a federal judge’s order not to single out Latinos for traffic stops. (There is a lesson here. Sheriff Arpaio began to believe his own press releases and became a media star. His successor, Paul Penzone, a former Phoenix police sergeant, is keeping a low profile while he re-invents the sheriff’s office and mission. As for doing “nothing wrong,” Sheriff Arpaio capitalized on the frustration that many Americans feel about people entering the country without documentation but he failed to watch the environment changing around him, and paid the price.)

The New York Times, “Since Ouster, Sheriff Arpaio Has Lots of Time, but Not for Regrets,” May 23, 2017

BIMBO PLUS PROP = HEADLINES

“We need to be able to not strangle our state into just oblivion,” said West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, a Democrat, in vetoing the budget presented by Republican lawmakers. As he did so, the governor lifted the lid off a silver platter piled high with fresh manure spread across the budget. (Great theater and great prop. The governor, a successful businessman with no political background, won with multiple references to his friend Donald Trump, an unusual campaign tactic, and reversed his campaign rhetoric by proposing sweeping new sales and business taxes. We have a number of issues with the governor’s policies and rhetoric – not the least that his comment about strangling the state is close to incomprehensible, but we cannot tolerate his description of the Republican State Senate Majority Leader, Ryan Ferns, as “a poodle.” This vilification of a noble breed must stop. Poodles are smart, have a good sense of humor, are quick learners and—unlike most politicians—they don’t shed.)

The New York Times, “West Virginia’s Governor, an ‘Unusual Democrat,’ Fights a G.O.P Tide,” May 1, 2017

WRONG THING TO SAY AND THE POWER OF BAD WORDS

“White Trash” and “low class folks” were descriptions June Chu, Yale University Dean of Pierson College, used in reviews of local New Haven businesses on Yelp. She also described employees at one establishment as “barely educated morons,” and wrote, “seriously I don’t care if you would ‘lose your job’ (I am sure McDonalds will hire you).” Dean Chu’s views were outed by the Yale Daily News (nice to see a student newspaper doing truly balanced reporting). Recall that this is the same university that forced out Erika Christakis, whose crime was urging people to be tolerant of Halloween customs they didn’t like. Three days later, Pierson College Head Stephen Davis was back on email informing students that Chu had opined on far more than the two posts she owned up to. She had “multiple reprehensible posts, enough to represent a more widespread pattern.” She’s not only an arrogant academic and a bigot but a liar. To make this the perfect story of hypocrisy, Yale is giving awards to two of the students who were videotaped screaming in the face of Christakis.

The Wall Street Journal, “Yelping at Yale,” May 15, 2017

“Frankly” is a word we don’t recommend using because it implies you weren’t honest before. Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has a habit of using the word. “Frankly, it’s getting absurd.” “Frankly, it’s time to focus on things the American people care about.” This also goes for “to be frank,” “to be honest” and “candidly.”

Business Insider, “White House spokeswoman: ‘It’s time to move on’ from Trump-Russia investigation,” May 10, 2017

Pundits are wondering how Montana Republican Greg Gianforte could possibly have defeated Democrat Rob Quist after body-slamming a reporter from The Guardian and breaking his glasses the day before the election. Quist was hardly a strong candidate, with problems with unpaid taxes. He also was quoted telling climate-change skeptics, “I challenge you to go into your car in your garage, start your car and see what happens there.” In other words, go commit suicide. Clearly the Wrong Thing to Say.

Breitbart, “Montana Democrat Rob Quist Encourages Climate Skeptics to Consider Suicide,” May 1, 2017

“I know a guy who wears a tutu and goes to bars on Friday night and is always surprised that he gets in fights. Well, he kind of asks for it,” said Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., generating an outcry that he was opposed to LGBTQ rights. Sen. Enzi was referencing Sissy Goodwin, a man who does wear tutus and dresses in daily life. Many came to Goodwin’s defense, including Upworthy, which noted that “Wearing dresses and tutus is just part of who Goodwin is. He’s not harming anybody, and he’s certainly not ‘asking for it.’” We agree. Apparently so do the independent-minded Wyomingites because hundreds of them showed up at bars dressed in – you guessed it, tutus. (Wyoming is supposed to be the “Equality State,” and Sen. Enzi should be up front about his beliefs but conservatives need to avoid articulating them in ways that invite ridicule.)

Upworthy, “A senator’s victim-blaming comments sparked a tutu-powered protest in Wyoming,” May 1, 2017

“There was this inference that we were a bunch of mercenaries working for a soulless, distant candidate for whom we felt no genuine affection. That assertion – that we could not and did not like her – did more to doom us than any internal dissent ever did,” said Jess McIntosh, director of communications outreach for the Clinton campaign. This lengthy article included a number of interesting quotes and assertions. The article claimed Clinton would not point the finger at her own staff in her loss due to her affection for them. “I will never say anything other than positive things about my campaign,” said Clinton, implying that her team was not responsible for her loss. The article continued to blame sexism and other factors – anything but the failings of the candidate and her platform.

New York Magazine, “Hillary Clinton is Furious. And Resigned. And Funny. And Worried.” May 26, 2017

If anyone knows Sean Spicer, please tell him we’re very sympathetic. The latest slam at the embattled press secretary was for meeting with his staff on the front lawn of the White House “hiding in or among bushes.” He was trying to explain the president’s decision to fire FBI Director Comey. As the former director of media for the White House, I can tell you that the White House isn’t very big, and we frequently placed spokespersons on the lawn in front of certain trees, bushes or patches of grass. The big difference today? Social media, of course. Pictures and memes sprang up across the internet and the story blossomed with pictures of Spicer in gardens and hedges as far away as New Zealand thanks in large part to Lisa Kadonaga, a professor at the University of Victoria. She created a cut-out from Spicer’s headshot, put it in her bushes and shared the photo on social media. She received requests from others who wanted to do the same, so she uploaded the file on Dropbox and generated so much traffic the site had to temporarily shut down her account.  Kadonaga thinks the growing forest of garden Spicer shots came out of sympathy for the press secretary, noting people remember times when they’ve been asked to do a job without all the rights tools or information. “I think it really struck a chord with people realizing, ‘Gee, that could be me up there.’” We agree, and we’ve been there.

The Washington Post, “Sean Spicer cutouts are popping up in bushes worldwide, thanks to this Canadian professor,” May 16, 2017

Scary. Facebook admitted it knows and can track when teens feel insecure and has been collecting data. Facebook explained “It fields requests from advertisers to conduct research on its users.” We bet they do. The report also noted “Sentiment analysis is commonplace on the internet… This kind of analysis can be used to gauge how people feel about a political candidate or about particular company or product.” Jeffrey Jester, director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a self-described watchdog group in Washington, D.C., wants the company to provide more insight into their data collection and what they do with it. We heartily endorse his efforts.

USA Today, “Facebook can tell with teens feel insecure,” May 1, 2017

No good deed goes unpunished. That’s what Purdue University’s President, Mitch Daniels, discovered. Purdue bought for-profit Kaplan University. Purdue pointed out that one quarter of graduate students are getting their degrees exclusively online and almost 30 percent of undergraduates are taking a course online. Purdue explained its decision with the analysis that it would take years to build an online capability requiring significant capital and academic political will. Given that the Purdue faculty immediately went ballistic, this was undoubtedly a correct assessment. More clear-eyed reports quoted Harvard Professor Clay Christensen’s groundbreaking book, “The Innovators Dilemma,”  that analyzed how leaders focus on current stakeholders at the expense of the future that  require rethinking and in some cases, abandoning an established business model.

The Wall Street Journal, “The Innovator’s Dilemma Hits Higher Ed,” May 15, 2017



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