Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for September 2012


  • Bimbo
  • September 1, 2012
  • by Spaeth Communications

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THE WRONG THING TO SAY WINNER

“If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain; do something to make more money yourself – spend less time drinking, or smoking and socializing and more time working.” (This isn’t a Republican. It’s Gina Rinehart, the world’s richest woman, writing in an Australian magazine. Her words caused a furor Down Under and in the U.K. because Ms. Rinehart, worth some 19 billion pounds, inherited the company, Hancock Properties, which controls vast swaths of mineral rights, from her father. Ms. Rinehart’s point, alas, got totally lost. She also wrote, “Let’s get through the class warfare smokescreen. We need to regain our roots and encourage people to invest and build…become one of those people who work hard, invest and build and at the same time create employment and opportunities for others.” We totally agree with Ms. Rinehart but she damaged her cause, and ours, by her lack of recognition of the difficulties in amassing capital to invest. The head of the Council of Social Services in Western Australia, noted that many people with means do not understand the struggles of people without access to education and employment.

World Press, “Richest woman attacks ‘lazy’ oz workers,” Aug. 31, 2012

BIMBO WINNERS

“Nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon,” said President Obama at an impromptu White House press conference. (The deputy campaign manager of the Obama campaign charged that discrepancies about Mr. Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital in SEC filings could constitute a “felony,” so the campaign certainly put the negative word into the conversation. The headline of many of the stories about the first interaction with the press corps in several months was, “Obama: I’m not running a negative campaign,” which the president did not actually say. He disagreed with reporters’ questions to that effect, but he did not repeat the negative.)

USA Today, “Obama: I’m not running a negative campaign,” Aug. 20, 2012

“I don’t want people to think I’m a deluded fool,” said Mitch Winehouse, father of deceased singer Amy Winehouse, explaining that he had been talking to spiritualists and mediums who have “given [me] great proof that Amy is still there.” (We feel for Mr. Winehouse, and since his daughter was only 27, we understand why he’s frantically trying to hold on to her. Nonetheless, this was probably a topic best left unsaid.)

Economist, “The Pain of Winehouse’s Father,” July 27, 2012

“Brain washing is against Hong Kong’s core values,” said Jiang Yudui, chairman of the pro-Beijing China Civic Education Promotion Association while trying to defend the booklet titled, “The China Model,” which mainland China was using to allegedly tell the story of China’s one-party Communist regime. The booklet was heavily criticized for over-the-top language, calling the communist regime, “progressive, selfless and united,” and making no mention of episodes like the Tiananmen Square protest and the Cultural Revolution, which killed millions of Chinese. Parents of students receiving the booklet for “patriotism classes” called it an attempt at “brainwashing,” and Mr. Yudui initially explained the book saying, “If there are problems with the brain, then it needs to be washed.” (This interesting episode, reported by Gordon Crovitz, illustrates the role the Internet plays in empowering dissent and the basic flaw in the Chinese model, which hopes that economic progress can still be accompanied by top-down, authoritarian control. It can’t.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Brainwashing in the Digital Era,” Aug. 6, 2012

WRONG THING TO SAY

 “It seems to me from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare,” said U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) in response to a question about whether abortion should be legal or could be considered moral in cases of rape. Akin then barreled along adding, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” (Presumably the resulting uproar has been so widely covered, that we don’t have much to add. The lesson for everyone else to learn: if you haven’t thought through and rehearsed something, don’t say it. And, Akin tried to say he “misspoke,” but it didn’t sound that way.)

Reuters, “Missouri Republican rape comment roils party ahead of convention,” Aug. 20, 2012

INFORMATION MOVING AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT

Comedian Matt Fisher posted on his blog that his,  “Sister paid Progressive Insurance to Defend her Killer in Court,” and claimed that when he had to sue the underinsured driver who ran a red light, killing his sister, Katie, her own insurance company, Progressive, defended the man to get out of paying an additional amount. The story went viral immediately, generating hundreds of critical articles and blog posts. The example is worth reviewing because Progressive did respond with a tweet saying, “This is a tragic case and our sympathies go out to Mr. Fisher and his family for the pain they’ve had to endure. We fully investigated the claim and feel we properly handled the claim within our contractual obligations.” Within 24 hours, Progressive issued a more responsive statement from an actual person, Chris Wolf, noting that Progressive wasn’t the attorney for the defendant, but rather his own insurance company, Nationwide, was. (There are several lessons from this incident. First, the writing style of social media is quite different from statements formally drafted and released. Our friend, Jonathan Bernstein, was widely quoted noting that the phrase “contractual obligation” was a terrible choice because the phrasing is too legal. This also points out the need to be able to react to a challenge in the blogosphere within about 30 minutes with an aspirational headline, a commitment to communicate and a parallel response. In this case, because Matt Fisher, a real person, made the accusation, Progressive needed a real person to respond.)

Daily News, “Comedian says Progressive insurance defended sister’s underinsured killer to avoid paying claim,” Aug. 14, 2012

Ragan.com, “Progressive’s tardy, tepid response slammed on social media,” Aug. 15, 2012

GOOD EXAMPLE: THE IMPORTANCE OF IN-PERSON COMMUNICATION

Home Depot CEO Frank Blake tries to visit all training classes of store managers. He fires them up about their mission, and answers questions on everything from the economy to why the company does things certain ways. We like this example because it highlights the importance of in-person communication at a time when many companies and organizations have abandoned meetings like this, citing them as old fashioned or unnecessary. This is an excellent reminder of the importance of being able to look people in the eye, listen to them and interact.

McClatchy News Service, “Managers get class visit: Home Depot CEO,” Aug. 5, 2012         


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