Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for July 2021


  • Bimbo
  • June 29, 2021
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image c

This month’s memo features a new addition and a special request. In the Full BIMBO there is an example of truth versus facts plus an expanded Wrong Thing to Say category starring a new definition of personhood, a new alleged side effect of vaccines, Jeff Bezos and the Mona Lisa, and why it’s not wise to cite the Nazis or the Holocaust. We’re debuting a new section, Articles of Interest, to read and share, this month featuring the topics ranging from the age of remote work to secrets customer service departments use to keep us on hold. Our special request is if you have a particularly good communication example in your company, please send it to us (and of course, keep sending us the bad ones.)

THE WINNING BIMBO 

“We don’t have this kind of habit of assassinating anybody,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin in response to charges that Russia was behind the poisoning of opposition leader, Alexei Navalny. Navalny was imprisoned for violating the terms of his probation while recovering from nerve agent poisoning in Germany (sounds like a legit reason to us). Putin also noted he cannot guarantee Navalny will leave prison alive, but he assured the world, “He will not be treated any worse than anybody else.” (What can we possibly say except to recognize the honesty of Putin’s threat/admission of state action? The issue for us is – what will the rest of the world’s leaders say? Or do? Probably nothing, and that also sends a message loud and clear to everyone, including Putin.)
 
USA Today, “Vladimir Putin Won’t Guarantee Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny Will Leave Prison Alive,” June 14, 2021

THE RUNNERS-UP

“No reason. I mean, it should happen here. No reason. That’s right,” said Michael Flynn, former United States National Security Advisor and retired United States Army lieutenant general, at what was described by The Washington Post as a “QAnon-themed conference,” when asked why the military coup that has unfolded in Myanmar couldn’t happen here. (Wow! Talk about why it’s important to think before your lips move! Flynn faced an immediate blowback and walked back his remarks accusing reporters as relaying “fake news” and saying, “Let me be VERY CLEAR — There is NO reason whatsoever for any coup in America, and I do not and have not at any time called for any action of that sort,” while continuing to charge that media “manipulat(ed) my words and therefore let me repeat my response to a question asked at the conference: There is no reason it (a coup) should happen here (in America).” Oops. A bit too late. His original words were recorded by many – big surprise. The lessons here for anyone who still needs to learn them: think before you talk and remember the offhand remark will be eagerly repeated by lots of people.) 

The Washington Post, “Michael Flynn’s Ridiculous Defense of His Coup Comments, in Context,” June 1, 2021

“We are not surrendering to terror,” tweeted Israeli lawmaker Nir Orbach after Israel feebly launched a few missiles at Hamas in response to the group launching incendiary balloons into the Israeli countryside. Neither caused casualties. This is an example where the speaker starts with a good quote, “We are bringing back deterrence,” but then feels the need to keep talking and comes up with the inversion. He should have quit after “deterrence". Why? Both sides are walking back from conflict as the article makes clear. 

The New York Times, “Israel and Hamas Scale Down the Conflict, Avoiding Another War,” June 17, 2021

"I regret the fact that I said it was a terrorist attack because we found out that it was not. But I don’t regret my feelings. I don’t regret that I felt terrorized by someone who plowed through the crowd," Mayor Dean Trantalis said at a vigil for the victims of the crash. (Another example of facts versus the individual’s personal feelings. This was the incident where a driver lost control and ploughed into a crowd. The mayor instantly dubbed it a terrorist attack. When it turned out to be a tragic accident, Trantalis couldn’t bring himself to say he was wrong. More lessons: think and get the facts first even if it means not being the first to comment on social media. There’s a difference between “terrified” and “terrorized,” a term replete with political tones.) 

NBC Miami, “Fort Lauderdale Mayor Regrets Calling Wilton Manors Pride Parade Crash a ‘Terrorist Attack’,” June 21, 2021 

WRONG THING TO SAY 

“Birthing people” is the new word for “mother” according to the Biden Administration as noted in the proposed 2022 budget. The budget includes $200 million to reduce maternal mortality and race-based disparities in outcomes among “birthing people". (What should they have said? Maternal mortality affects, of course, mothers. There’s a difference between trying to be sensitive to some groups and being downright ridiculous.)

The Washington Times, “Biden Uses ‘Birthing People’ in Budget, Accused of Wanting to ‘Cancel Mothers’,” June 7, 2021 

“Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic,” according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. (This could also be a BIMBO denial comment. The rumor apparently spread globally and prompted a number of attempts to dispel the rumors which were driven by “social media videos of COVID-19 vaccinated people sticking coins and refrigerator magnets to their arms.” This is a case where the only effective rebuttal would have been video showing someone getting vaccinated and then having paper clips and magnets falling off their arms. It’s really a lesson in why facts in print don’t counter video.)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines,” June 23, 2021

“Is there anything that the National Forest Service or BLM [Bureau of Land Management] can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun? Obviously, that would have profound effects on our climate,” said U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, during a House Natural Resources subcommittee hearing. (Move over U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson who wondered if too many troops deployed to Guam would cause the island to tip over. In that case, the admiral testifying got gold stars by saying, “We don’t anticipate that.” Johnson, like Gohmert, claimed later he was only joking. We hereby award Congressman Gohmert a lifetime subscription to National Geographic Kids.) 

CNN, “Lawmaker Suggests Changing Moon’s Orbit to Fight Climate Change,” June 10, 2021 

“No comment” usually gets a thumbs down from us but we need to give Sophie Grange, the deputy director of communication at the Louvre, a respectful salute. An online petition started as a joke urged Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to buy and then eat the Mona Lisa. Grange, speaking for the museum where the iconic picture is on permanent display, said in an email: “We have seen the petition but the Musée du Louvre will not comment.” We’re afraid this is going to get worse. When Bezos announced he would be one of his own first passengers into space, with accompanying passengers paying tens of millions of dollars for a similar seat, several petitions were filed urging unnamed authorities to make him remain in space. This is stupid because gaining a global platform would have given the organizers the opportunity to ask Bezos for something meaningful – like endowing science education for members of Congress.

USA Today, “Bizarre Petition Urges Jeff Bezos to Buy and Eat the ‘Mona Lisa’,” June 21, 2021

How can Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene be as smart as she is and still say such stupid things? Of course, we know it’s because it gets attention, but it also makes the Republicans look stupid. Latest blast, she responded to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s dictum that masks on vaccinated officials would continue to be required on the House floor even after the CDC ruled them unnecessary. Greene said, “We can look back in a time in history where people were told to wear a gold star and they were definitely treated like second-class citizens, so much so that they were put in trains and taken to gas chambers in Nazi Germany,” Greene said. “And this is exactly the type of abuse that Nancy Pelosi is talking about.” Greene also tweeted, “Vaccinated employees get a vaccination logo just like the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a gold star,” in response to a news report about a Tennessee grocery store requiring vaccinated employees to display vaccination logos on their name badges. The obvious lesson here (see next example, too) – no comparisons to Nazis or the Holocaust.

The Hill, “Greene Apologizes for Comparing Vaccine Rules to Holocaust,” June 14, 2021 

And one more example from people who apparently skipped history class. Arizona announced that after a hiatus, the state was refurbishing its gas chamber for executions. Predictably, the American Jewish Committee was outraged and said the "decision to employ Zyklon B gas as a means of execution defies belief. Whether or not one supports the death penalty as a general matter, there is general agreement in American society that a gas devised as a pesticide, and used to eliminate Jews, has no place in the administration of criminal justice." We agree.

Washington Examiner, “Stop Comparing Gas Chamber in Arizona to the Holocaust,” June 22, 2021

ARTICLES OF INTEREST 

A very interesting article with pointers in how to stop bad, a.k.a. slanderous stories.

The New York Times, “Google Seeks to Break Vicious Cycle of Online Slander,” June 10, 2021 

As companies and the economy try to return to “normal,” the need to rethink and improve onboarding gains attention. This article has examples, like Xos Trucks, the maker of electric trucks, which reduced the onboarding process from three days to two hours. Their secret? Shared docs, meetings with company leaders, lots of hands-on how-to advice, etc. “So virtual onboarding is almost certainly going to continue,” said Andy Challenger, Challenger Gray & Christmas. Another confirmation, “That’s where communication becomes key,” said Jaime Moran, chief product officer of Austin-based Sana, a health insurance benefits provider to small businesses. Key lesson? Communication is key.

USA Today, “Remote Jobs Are Here to Stay, So Is Virtual Onboarding,” June 13, 2021

Similar to the article above, your CEO probably already knows this, but share this article with members of your C-Suite and the HR department too. 

The Wall Street Journal, “How Working from Home Has Changed Employees,” June 12, 2021

Social media lesson of the month. It took a Supreme Court case to exonerate a teenager who didn’t make the varsity cheerleading squad and, standing off school property, sent an f-word-laced message to about 250 of her closest friends on Snapchat. But a “friend” took a screen shot and showed it to her mother, a coach. The court case is all about First Amendment rights but we’re all about using it as an educational tool for teenagers and older-than-teen employees as a reminder that none of these private messages are, well private.

The New York Times, “Supreme Court Rules for Cheerleader Punished for Vulgar Snapchat Message,” June 23, 2021

This article features some interesting techniques that might be relevant to keeping audiences attentive while on hold. Note the comment about allowing the customer to be in control which exactly aligns with our techniques of interaction when giving a presentation.

The Wall Street Journal, “How Companies Make Sure You Don’t Hang Up When You’re on Hold,” May 20, 2021

 

The BIMBO Memo is a reminder not to repeat and deny a negative word because of how the listener hears words. When you repeat and deny a negative word, the listener is likely to overlook the denial and hear the opposite of what the speaker is trying to say. It’s named for the young woman who was caught with a high profile, but alas married man. She held a press conference and announced, “I am not a BIMBO,” thus causing everyone to think she was.



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