Bimbo Banter

BIMBO Nominees for April 2011

  • Bimbo
  • April 1, 2011
  • by Spaeth Communications

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We’ve got a full house this month: more BIMBOs from Phil Collins, Charlie Sheen (yawn), Louis Farrakhan, LeBron James, a TransCanada spokesman (who was set up) and the co-host of “The Biggest Loser.”  We have examples in “the wrong thing to say” category from a GOP State Representative, LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Dior designer John Galliano, Jalen Rose and his Fab Five teammates, NPR executive Ron Schiller,  a die-hard Republican and a former TSA witch. Good examples (at least in delivery) from Ohio State’s Jim Tressel and a great quote from Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J. Venezuelan President Chavez shows his true colors and the missing Bronx Zoo cobra takes to Twitter while Aflac’s duck voice chokes and is out after “mis-Tweeting.”


I am not some “tormented weirdo who thinks he was at the Alamo in another life,” wrote singer Phil Collins on his website about his retirement. (Collins added that he was not retiring because “I don’t feel loved,” but to spend more time with his young children. Note the “tormented weirdo” phrase made it into the headline.), “Phil Collins: I’m Not a ‘Tormented Weirdo’” March 8, 2011


“I’m not comparing what’s happened to the workers in Madison or in Columbus to Hitler and Stalin,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. (The legislator tried to backtrack saying he did not want it to “distract from the critical debate in Ohio, and I apologize for it.” Unfortunately, the minute a speaker mentions “Hitler” or “Stalin,” that’s all the listener hears. And his comment was picked up by numerous publications and news reports. Note, it makes the headline.), “Sherrod Brown: Like Hitler…,” March 3, 2011

“It’s not like I’m doing something risqué,” said Broncos quarterback and well-known man of faith about agreeing to model Jockey underwear in ads. (Tebow added, “Everyone wears underwear,” and insisted, “The whole campaign is very classy.”  We’re not sure that an underwear campaign can be ‘classy’ but we’re certainly looking forward to judging for ourselves…), “Tim Tebow to appear in Jockey ads,” March 25, 2011

“It’s not an act,” said actor Charlie Sheen in an interview when asked about his behavior. “If I realize that I’m insane, then I’m okay with it. I’m not dangerous insane.” (Most of the world, and his friends, would disagree. From living with two 24-year-old girls to trashing Alcoholics Anonymous, this is not a path to sobriety or self-awareness. He also ruminates that he may not have spent enough time with his young children. We’re hoping their mothers keep it that way.), “Charlie Sheen: ‘It’s Not an Act,’” March 2, 2011

“I have never hated the Jewish people,” ranted Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, claiming that anyone who labels him anti-Semitic shows “an attitude of hatred” adding, “All I’ve done is tell the truth of what was involved in the slave trade.” (His remarks, made on a syndicated radio show, prompted an outcry from Jewish groups. After the show, Farrakhan continued with what reporters described as a tirade against “Jews,” identifying them as “those who control” American foreign policy. Farrakhan’s words speak for themselves.)

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Farrakhan deflects foes’ charges of anti-Semitism,” March 12, 2011

“This is not rock bottom for us. We could lose every game and still probably make the playoffs,” said LeBron James about the Miami Heat’s latest defeat to Portland. (We’re not sure about the math in that equation, but it’s not the right thing to say. Writers pointed out, at the time, the Heat had lost four in a row at home and was 13-12 in the past 25 games. We guess celebrity isn’t everything.)

The Miami Herald, “More misery: Miami Heat loses fifth game in a row,” March 9, 2011

”We don’t threaten them,” said TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard about their disputes with landowners as pipeline, Keystone XL, is being built to carry oil from the Canadian tar sands through the U.S. (This is a good example of the reporter putting words in the speaker’s mouth. The reporter quoted one landowner saying that TransCanada “threatened eminent domain if she didn’t sell her easement rights, and falsely told her neighboring ranchers had already sold theirs,” and then the quote above follows. Mr. Howard committed a classic BIMBO, picking up the word planted by the reporter. He should have said, “On the contrary. We want to work with landowners and create a win-win situation.”)

USA Today, “Backers cite secure oil; critics fear for environment,” March 23, 2011

“This is not a prison,” said the co-host of TV’s “The Biggest Loser,” to one of the contestants who was trying to get voted off the show. (We know the show has a following, but really, this is making the proverbial mountain out of a molehill. We agree with the blogger who wrote, “Thousands of people would do anything to be on this show,” and said contestants who don’t want to admit they can’t make it should “pack their ankle weights” and go home.)

BuddyTV, “’The Biggest Loser’ is not a prison,” March 23, 2011


“It might be a good idea to control illegal immigration the way the feral hog population has been controlled: with gunmen shooting from helicopters,” said Kansas State Representative Virgil Peck at a hearing about how to control feral swine. (Peck, a Republican, drew immediate condemnation from members of both parties, but initially refused to back down, insisting, “I was just speaking like a southeast Kansas person.” Apparently fellow southeastern Kansas residents got to him because he finally apologized. The lessons here are first, do not say stupid things, and second, when they do come out of your mouth, don’t get defensive, ‘fess up and apologize immediately.)

LJWorld, “Kansas legislator suggests using hunters in helicopters to control illegal immigration, likens immigrants to feral hogs,” March 14, 2011

USA Today, “Hispanic Democrats blast remark comparing immigrants to hogs,” March 16, 2011

“In honor of Black History Month, the Clippers will admit 1,000 underprivileged children free,” was an ad placed by LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling. (Commentators were quick to point out Black History Month had been in February, equating 1,000 underprivileged children with celebrating Black History Month was somewhat negative, and the offer appeared in an ad without any information about how the giveaway would actually work. Here’s someone who desperately needs competent communication help.)

FishbowlLA, “The Donald Sterling PR Trainwreck Continues,” March 1, 2011

“I love Hitler” and “People like you should be dead” were comments from Christian Dior designer John Galliano at a Paris bar. (This is another example of the risk of saying stupid things and then making it worse by denying it. Complaints caused Dior to suspend Galliano, who vigorously denied making such comments and had his lawyer issue denials. On the “best defense is offense” strategy, they claimed that Galliano had been insulted and hit. Then – predictably – someone had caught it on a cell phone and posted the video online.  He issued a somewhat elliptical and confusing statement saying, “I completely deny the claims made against me and have cooperated fully with the police investigation,” but also adding, “I have only myself to blame and I know that I must face up to my own failures.” He added the all too familiar claim that he would be headed to alcohol rehab. He can’t have it both ways, and given that the damming video is public, he should stop denying what happened and genuinely apologize.)

The Wall Street Journal, “Dior Firing Galliano for Remarks,” March 2, 2011

Huffington Post, “John Galliano Apologizes: ‘I Only Have Myself to Blame,” March 2, 2011

“I hated Duke and I hated everything Duke stood for. Schools like Duke don’t recruit players like me. I felt they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms,” said Michigan basketball star Jalen Rose about former Duke star Grant Hill and others. (Rose’s comments came in an ESPN documentary about the group of Michigan players called the “Fab Five.” The documentary also included Rose’s former teammates saying that other Duke players were “soft” and “b*tches.” These comments provoked an immediate and passionate response from Hill, whose mother is a lawyer and whose father is football great Calvin Hill. Writers like Dwayne Wickham also weighed in saying that all the players in the documentary needed to more publicly renounce the idea that blacks from two-parent families who stress education are “Uncle Toms.” Rose tried to get out of the controversy by saying that was how he felt when he was in college because he resented that he never knew his father and compared his situation to Hill’s two-parent, successful and stable home. Hill responded in a piece published by The New York Times, where he wrote, “To hint that those who grew up in a household with a mother and father are somehow less black than those who did not is beyond ridiculous,” adding, “I am proud of my family. I’m proud of my Duke championships and all my Duke teammates,” and just for good measure, “And, I am proud I never lost a game against the Fab Five.” I had the honor of knowing Calvin Hill at Yale, and I’m sure he and Mrs. Hill are as proud of Grant as we are. And, thank you Grant, for saying so strongly what needed to be said.), “Grant Hill rips Jalen Rose over insult,” March 16, 2011

NPR, which was embarrassed earlier this year when its CEO suggested commentator Juan Williams needed to discuss his views with “his publicist or psychiatrist” fell into a mud puddle again when the foundation’s SVP, Ron Schiller, was set up by guerilla filmmaker James O’Keefe. Schiller was caught on tape calling Tea Party members “seriously racist, racist people” and “xenophobic.”  He also said that NPR “would be better off in the long run without federal funding.” (Schiller and a colleague were having lunch with two ridiculous imposters who pretended to be potential donors from the fictitious Muslim Action Education Center. The imposters called themselves “Ibrahim” and “Amir” and made all sorts of outrageous statements such as “Jews do kind of control the media” without any challenge from Schiller or his colleague. Like the acting in O’Keefe’s expose of Acorn, “Ibrahim” and “Amir” are completely unbelievable. How could NPR fall for this?), “NPR exec caught on tape calling Tea Partiers ‘racist,’” March 8, 2011

Anyone wondering about the power of a word – particularly the word ‘witch?’ You might want to read MSNBC’s investigation into how Carole Smith, a Wiccan, ended up losing her job with the Transportation Security Administration. (We admit, we did not know that Wicca was a recognized and protected religion. We’re betting TSA supervisor Matthew Lloyd didn’t realize it either. When an administrative law judge asked him about his perception of witchcraft, he replied, “Well, it could be claimed they’re a good witch, or it could be, the Wicked Witch of the West. I don’t know enough about it to make a determination.”  Our first reaction was to say, ‘here’s a hint. Is she wearing ruby slippers?’ but that’s what started the whole problem in the first place. Smith’s co-workers teased her about having a broom and putting hexes on them and apparently the disputes escalated.), “Whistle-blowing witch grounded by TSA,” March 28, 2011


An obituary for James Harrison ended by asking “In lieu of flowers, at Jim’s request, please make a donation to ANYONE running against Barack Hussein Obama or the American Cancer Society.” (The problem, of course, is that this uncalled for line obliterates the rest of the obit about Mr. Harrison’s life and family. One can be a passionate Republican, but it probably shouldn’t follow one into the grave.)

The Houston Chronicle, March 1, 2011


Venezuelan President and tyrant Hugo Chavez called Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi “my friend,” and denied that Gadhafi had opened fire on unarmed protestors, calling the allegations “a campaign of lies.” (What’s that old saying about birds of a feather? It appears these two are best buds. Let’s hope the courage and determination of the people in North Africa jumps the “pond” to South America.), “Chavez: I won’t condemn ‘my friend’ Gadhafi,” March 1, 2011


“I sincerely apologize” said Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel over and over in a lunch speech sponsored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Tressel has been suspended for two games and fined $250,000 for violating NCAA rules. Tressel began by saying he couldn’t say much because of the ongoing nature of the investigation into his failure to notify the school that he knew two players were selling memorabilia. We’re commenting only on the communication strategy and execution, not his actual potential guilt. Tressel put on a memorable performance. Anyone wondering if performance skills matter should pay attention. He was funny, self-deprecating, apparently sincere and highly personal.), “Tressel apologizes to Buckeyes fans,” March 14, 2011

Watson, the IBM supercomputer may be a winner on “Jeopardy” but can he come up with a good quote? Members of Congress also took on the mechanical marvel to push for increased math and science education. Representative Rush Holt, D-N.J., a physicist and former head of the Nuclear and Scientific Division of the Office of Strategic Forces at the State Department, and a “Jeopardy” winner 35 years ago, bested Watson but the Congressional delegation went down in defeat. Holt said, “While it was fun to out-do Watson for one night in trivia; it is vital that, as a nation, we out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world for generations to come.” (High five Rep. Holt!), “Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey, Carlton Class of 1970, Shows the Power of a Liberal Arts Education,” March 2, 2011


Taking advantage of news that a highly venomous Egyptian cobra was missing from the Bronx Zoo, an unnamed Twitter user began channeling the MIA reptile as @BronxZoosCobra, thanking “those animals from the movie Madagascar. They were a real inspiration,” and quickly had thousands of followers on its imagined travels around NYC. The “cobra” sent an email to a website complaining that it had no name, “But they always name the cute baby pandas, don’t they? Simple reptile intolerance,” and my favorite, on an alleged trip to Wall Street, the cobra Tweeted, “These guys make my skin crawl.”

Digits, “Missing Cobra Found online on Twitter, March 29, 2011

Alas, there wasn’t quite as happy an ending for Gilbert Gottfreid, the voice of the AFLAC duck, who Tweeted jokes about the earthquake in Japan. It turns out that Japan is Aflac’s most important market. The company was not amused. A nationwide search is on for the new Quack.

MSNBC, “Aflac Fires Duck Voice Gottfried Over Tweets,” March 14, 2011

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