Bimbo Banter


BIMBO Nominees for November 2022


  • Bimbo
  • October 31, 2022
  • by Spaeth Communications

Bimbo blog image a

So much to learn from this month! We have comments from an economist discounting layoffs, ERCOT’s new CEO, and Rep. Liz Cheney. We learn What Not to Say from Kanye West, Smithfield Farms’ lawyers, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, members of the LA City Council (someone leaked), and Mark Zuckerberg. Good examples (finally!) from Wendy’s and Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach Todd Bowles. Best prop this year from Elon Musk. 

THE WINNING BIMBO 

“Our clients did nothing illegal. Even if it looks inflammatory, they did nothing illegal,” said Phillip Linder, an attorney for Oath Keeper leader Stewart Rhodes. Linder was pushing a difficult argument and our perception is that framing the argument in the negative is much less convincing than arguing that actions are legal.

The Hill, “Prosecutors lay out sprawling sedition case against Oath Keepers,” Oct. 3, 2022 

THE RUNNERS-UP 

“I won’t say he’s being racist,” said Rep. Don Bacon (R-NV) about Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) comments at a fund raiser in which he talked about Democrats stating, “They’re pro crime. They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you’ve got. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.” The media promptly dubbed those comments an apology for white supremacists.

USA Today, “Kanye West, Tommy Tuberville and the antisemitic, racist, no good, very bad weekend,” Oct. 10, 2022 

“This is not a bluff,” said Russian president Vladmir Putin about his willingness to consider using tactical nuclear weapons. He continued, “And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them.” Despite how we mock BIMBO comments as not serious, we should take him at his word.  Russia is having trouble with its public explanations as demonstrated by the additional comments throughout the rest of the memo. 

The Hill, “Putin puts US officials on edge with nuclear saber-rattling,” Oct. 2, 2022 

“This doesn’t mean that we’ve collapsed like a house of cards. These mistakes aren’t gigantic strategic failures. We are still learning. I know this is hard to hear in our eighth month of the special operation," said Alexander Sladkov, a leading Russian war correspondent, on state TV Tuesday, October 4.  (If this is their idea of putting a positive spin on things, they've got some problems!) When asked by CNN how to interpret the language of the laws signed by Putin – which refers to the borders of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions as “the territory which existed on the day of its adoption in the Russian Federation” – Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, “I will leave this question unanswered.”

CNN, “Pro-Russia media slam war setbacks as Putin predicts annexed Ukrainian regions will stabilize,” Oct. 5, 2022 

“I don’t think we’ll see mass layoffs,” said James Knightley, chief international economist at ING commenting on the phenomenon of staff shortages and a tight labor market coupled with growing fears of inflation. The article is supposed to be positive but just using the word “layoffs” causes ripples of concern in an employee base. Also, no “mass layoffs” seems to confirm that there will be some layoffs.

The Wall Street Journal, “Why Are Companies Still Hiring When GDP Is Shrinking?” Sept. 29, 2022 

“You shouldn’t have to even think about Texas’ Power grid,” said ERCOT’s new CEO, Pablo Vegas. Quick, what are you thinking of? The state power grid. Remember the old joke in second grade, “I’ll bet I can make you think of an elephant…”

The Dallas Morning News, “ERCOT’s new CEO: You shouldn’t even have to think about Texas’ power grid,” Oct. 4, 2022 

Testimony won’t be a “circus” or “food fight,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), vice chairwoman of the House select committee investigating January 6, after the committee voted to subpoena the former president. Of course, by using words like “circus” and “food fight,” she ensured that’s the characterization. Note the words and the denial made the headline.

The Hill, “Cheney: Trump Jan. 6 testimony won’t be ‘circus’ or ‘food fight’,” Oct. 23, 2022 

WHAT NOT TO SAY

The headline read, “Kanye West’s vow to ‘go death con 3’ on Jews and his antisemitism controversy, explained,” but there is no explaining such a statement. He doubled down on this statement and, after wearing a t-shirt with “White Lives Matter,” Kanye (now “Ye”) has lost a contract for a reported $250 million from Adidas as well as other sponsorships and bookings. Who says “…but words will never hurt me?”
 
Jewish Telegraph Agency, “Kanye West’s vow to ‘go death con 3’ on Jews and his antisemitism controversy, explained,” Oct. 12, 2022 

Lawyers – remember that words matter. A jury just found two self-described animal rights activists from Direct Action Everywhere (DAE) and the Sanctuary Initiative not guilty of stealing two piglets from Smithfield Farms. The two accused individuals admitted they had taken the action and bragged about it by releasing a video showing their actions. The relevant point here as a communication lesson; the DAE individuals argued that the piglets were injured and would have been dumped into a landfill. The Smithfield lawyer argued that the piglets were just like “dented cans,” that is, a can you might see on a grocery store shelf which was destined to be thrown away. “Dented cans”? Apparently, these lawyers never saw the movies, “Babe” or “Charlotte’s Web,” or read the book. The DAE activists made their case that we need to treat wounded animals better than dented cans. Here’s an example where the legal facts were totally on Smithfield’s side, but they lost the communication challenge. 

The New York Times, “I Did Not Steal Two Piglets. I Saved Them. A Jury Agreed,” Oct. 18, 2022 

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was hit twice in a four-day period and left two games with apparent injuries. He was put back into the games despite obvious symptoms. The controversy arose when Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel described his condition saying, “The best news that we could get is that everything is checked out, that he didn’t have anything more serious than a concussion.” Nothing “more serious.” Really? All the publicity, the tragedy of players suffering from dementia, CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) is “nothing”? The debate continues, deservedly so. McDaniel should be ashamed, but he voiced what the prevailing thinking still is. 

The Palm Beach Post, “D'Angelo: Miami Dolphins' Mike McDaniel beloved to most criticized coach in NFL over Tua Tagovailoa concussion,” Oct. 4, 2022

Someone’s always listening. The president of the Los Angeles City Council just found that out after a recording of a theoretically private conversation over a year ago was leaked days before the upcoming election. Nury Martinez, the Council President, mocked a white Council colleague, Mike Bonin, calling his young son “like a monkey” in Spanish and suggesting his parents were using him as a prop and allowing him to misbehave, “like a little white kid.” It wasn’t clear who made or leaked the recording. The hour-long conversation between colleagues was about frustration over redistricting. A reminder: what you say that you think is private or off-the-cuff can come back to haunt you. After several days of controversy and attempted apologies, she resigned from the Council.

The Seattle Times, “Los Angeles Council president resigns from post after racist remarks,” Oct. 10, 2022  

Coming back to haunt him, last June, Mark Zuckerberg, Meta (formerly Facebook) said on a call with employees, that “there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here.” Meta has had a tough year, with the stock price tumbling. This month, the Times reported, “Mr. Zuckerberg has had trouble getting even his own employees to buy into his metaverse vision. The company’s new focus has been confusing, employees have said, with disagreements between executives, frequent strategy shifts and a little-used flagship virtual reality game, Horizon Worlds.” No joke! This shows the importance of communication and of enlisting your employees. (For those interested, see my article about how to handle layoffs.)

The New York Times, “Meta’s Profit Slides by More Than 50 Percent as Challenges Mount,” Oct. 26, 2022 

GOOD EXAMPLES

Someone at a Wendy’s restaurant fired Dennis Peek, an employee who had worked there for 20 years and had Down Syndrome. (They did this via a phone call.) The next developments were predictable with lessons to learn and – yay! – a happy ending. First, the employee’s family took to social media to share the story and their brother’s misery, dismay and bewilderment. That was predictable. But – next, Wendy’s responded immediately, apologized, and welcomed the man back. That also was shared on social media. The family responded favorably. What mattered was getting Dennis back on the job and back to his routine. Note that while Wendy’s said their procedures hadn’t been followed, they didn’t blame the franchisee or the manager. Lesson learned; when something goes wrong, quick action is required and can pay off.

New York Post, “Wendy’s fires longtime employee with Down Syndrome,” Oct. 9, 2022 

“I have a very good relationship with Tomlin. We don’t look at… what color we are when we coach against each other. We just know each other,” said Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles when asked by a reporter about his relationship with Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin since both are black. Bowles’ response stands as a beacon of how to handle the question. His whole comment and the video clip are worth watching and we applaud his calm presence and unifying words. “Well, when you say they see ‘you guys’ and look like them and grow up like them, [it] means that we’re oddballs to begin with,” Bowles responded. “I think the minute you guys stop making a big deal about it everybody else will, as well.” Thank you, Coach Bowles! Please keep saying this.

The Western Journal, “Watch: NFL Head Coach Smacks Down Reporter's Race-Based Question with 5 Words,” Oct. 13, 2022 

BEST PROP

"Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!" 

Elon Musk, Twitter, Oct. 26, 2022 

ARTICLE OF INTEREST

The article’s author, Rachel Feintzeig, notes how “sorry” has become an automatic reflex and ends up meaning nothing and hurting the times we actually want to convey, “I’m sorry.” 

The Wall Street Journal, “Want Power? Stop Saying ‘Sorry’ So Much,” Oct. 24, 2022 

 

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.



You May Also Like


03.19.15

The Same Rules Apply

In a world of ever-shrinking attention spans, one of the most effective ways to share a snapshot of information is through infographics. I love infographics to the point that I subscribe to a free daily service. I review… more 

Bimbo blog image e
07.01.08

BIMBO Nominees for July 2008

WINNING BIMBO “I do not want to leave any impression that I have received preferential treatment in my personal business dealings,” said Sen. Kent Conrad D-N.D., when it became known that he had received a lower mortgage rate… more 

Bimbo blog image c
05.05.17

BIMBO Nominees for May 2017

What a month! We have BIMBOs from Rep. Devin Nunes, rapper Ja Rule, former Obama adviser Susan Rice, Speaker Paul Ryan and an Idaho county prosecutor. We have examples of The Wrong Thing to Say from Press Secretary… more 


Back to Top