SLOGANS, HOOKS & TAGLINES

Collective Intelligence Quota Conundrum

I worked in marketing, and all of my ilk carry bad attitudes forged by maxims of the past. In 1938, Will Rogers said, “You’ll never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” It has been said he was paraphrasing H.L. Menken’s statement in the Chicago Tribune, “No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.” Okay, definitely wordy but it makes the point.

Many want to attribute the Will Rogers quote to the master marketer and showman, P.T. Barnum, but that’s incorrect. P.T. said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” As time has roared forward, our language has become trimmed and sharpened. We are now in the land of short crisp slogans, hot hooks and repeatable taglines. We are a busy people and we don’t have time to read much more than headlines. The snappier the pitch line, the easier it is to remember and there is nothing better than a quotable line that gets widely parroted. Taglines are not at all bad, but we often put too much stock in them.

“Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance” is a great advertising hook even though it’s vague and passive. It uses the word “could,” not the word “will,” so there is no guarantee. If I say, “America Runs on Dunkin” you automatically think about dashing out the door in need of your morning coffee. When you hear the words, “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good” you know it’s KFC, which used to be Kentucky Fried Chicken. I guess they went with the letters because people were turned off by the concept of fried food, or maybe Kentucky.

Donald Trump was a lousy president but a great sloganeer. We remember that Mexico would pay for the wall, but they never did. We remember that everything that made him look bad was the “greatest witch hunt in the history of the world.” But really, Donnie, the actual witch hunt took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692-93. Terms like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter forced us to take stands. Are we the problem or the solution?

I loved the phrase Defund the Police, not because I thought it was a good idea but because it got people’s attention. A good slogan makes folks talk about it. H.L. Menken could have said, “We need to consider the ramifications of the budgets and the allocations of those funds so they can be modified in order to facilitate reform, which will make enforced laws appear more responsive to the needs of the community.” Oh, yeah that would have worked. Not.

The far-right radical propagandists have latched onto the phrase Critical Race Theory, and constructed a devious and destructive boogieman around it. Those jerks can’t comprehend that the “theory,” is not a school class or subject, it’s just a hook for academic masturbation. Historical realities exist and cannot be changed. Facts taught in a classroom, even when colored by the opinion of the teacher, inspire students to think. They will look at a picture of Emmitt Till in his open casket or a southern Black man hanging from a tree and then decide whether that is right or wrong. Hopefully, they will be repulsed.

When our former president kept saying the election results will be rigged, his fans could chew and swallow the tagline, Stop the Steal. When people ask if Trump caused an insurrection, all they need to consider is how the results of an election could possibly be STOPPED. Donald John Trump promoted that phrase which triggered the insurrection. He must share blame.

When the phrase Black Lives Matter became popular, some people came up with All Lives Matter as a response. Others supported the police, and their slogan became Blue Lives Matter. If Friedrich Nietzsche were still alive, he would proclaim No Lives Matter. Really, you couldn’t let African Americans have their own slogan for a while? You usurped their tagline so quickly, thereby proving you have no respect for them or what they wanted to convey. The slogan All Lives Matter is a great example of white privilege revoking Black power.

The conundrum here is the lack of awareness of words and the implication of those terms and comments. It’s like the old expression “Some of my best friends are Black.” Why would anyone say that? The only reason would be an insecurity of being white while others are judging you. If you tell an N-joke, you need to understand that you are at least a little bit racist. And if you cannot grasp that, then just come up with a statement to divert attention from who and what you truly are.

Trump used to always say, “I am the least racist person you will ever meet.” Oh really? The statement is too long to be an effective slogan. Furthermore, it’s unbelievable, has no “hook” and prompts the question “Where’s the beef?” When one constantly defends oneself by saying they aren’t what people say and think they are, then they must provide some evidence. The Trump administration had very few people of color in top positions. Maybe they just couldn’t find any smart Black people beyond Ben Carson, and the jury is still out on whether he knew anything beyond brain surgery.

Some slogans and taglines are intended to generate talk about the subject or person. Howard Stern has called himself the King of all Media for years. It’s not an actual title, but that doesn’t matter. It’s like Donald Trump saying he is a very stable genius. An I.Q. test can determine if one has a high-level quotient for learning, remembering and applying intelligence, but problem solving is a gift that some people with lower I.Q.s can more effectively use as compared to over-analytical thinkers. If Donald Trump was a true genius, why would he have suffered so many business failures and bankruptcies? Could it be that he was so damn smart he just couldn’t figure out solutions to his challenges?

The Big Lie is a slogan that the media, Democrats and left-wingers have applied to Trump’s Election Rejection Deception. O.M.G. I just created a slogan for Trump’s post-election behavior. 82 million of us Americans rejected him, and then he fired up the deception burners. The problem is our democracy is being singed by his lies and harangues and we must put out the fire right now. Donald Trump should be banned from politics.

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TRUMP: LEGALLY DUMB

Texas – Don’t Mess with America!

So, Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit in the US Supreme Court to invalidate presidential election results in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan. I had several emotional reactions when I heard this news, and my brain was on the edge of exploding. Paxton’s suit claims that “unlawful election results” took place in those four states where President-elect Joe Biden won, and he contends those results should be declared unconstitutional. The filing argues that the four states used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to unlawfully change their election rules.

It’s incredible that Ken Paxton would promote a legal lie to gain Donald John Trump’s favor. Why might Paxton want to butter up Trump? Well, it seems that Mr. Paxton is allegedly under investigation by the FBI for bribery and abuse of office. This could be the start of an ultimate quid pro quo; you help me stay in office and I’ll give you a pardon. Trump sees himself as the candy man, passing out pardons to people he likes just like a kid hands over Tootsie Rolls to his friends on the playground.

I have just started reading the book, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. In the preface, she talks about her frustration writing about race and racism. She says, “What many desperate publishers and editors reached for was outrage, controversy, fear, and hatred. And while these tactics worked, even as readers clicked on these links and read voraciously, they began to feel like they were being played.”

She’s right. We get sucked into absurd premises and lies that the media amplifies, only to walk away with either of two feelings. One, like my good friend Howard Stern recently said to me, “The whole world has gone crazy!” Two, we begin believing there could very well be something there to FEAR.

Howard Stern

Many of us are anxious about what Donald John Trump might do next. It’s a terrible feeling to have about the most powerful person in the country, but his latest, vague tweet gives me a measure of trepidation, “We will be INTERVENING in the Texas (plus many other states) case. This is the big one. Our Country needs a victory!” What the hell does he think he’s going to do, dismiss the Supreme Court?

Perhaps Mr. Trump intends to present his immoral offer to the Supremes in person. This just in, Ken Paxton is the guest of dishonor at the White House today (12-10-2020), and I am sure his conversation with the President will not be recorded. I’m reminded of how former FBI Director James Comey described Trump’s demeanor when testifying under oath in a Congressional hearing. Comey said President Trump is an unethical leader and a liar who is driven by his ego, suggesting the man bears certain similarities to a mob leader. I’m sure that Godfather Trump will certainly convey to his capo, Mr. Paxton, his deep appreciation for helping him attempt a self-serving “victory.”

There’s a real possibility that Paxton waited too long to file the suit. The Latches Doctrine “bars recovery by the plaintiff because of the plaintiff’s undue delay in seeking relief.” One could ask that if the allegations in the suit were such a severe problem, why didn’t Texas mess with the four states before the election took place?

If you would like, read the tricky Texas lawsuit here. SCOTUSFiling I have carefully gone through it and I’ll share my thoughts, with a large, glowing caveat that I am not an attorney.

  1. The suit doesn’t explain HOW Texas has been harmed by other states revising their own election process. No suit was brought by either Republicans or Democrats in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin or Texas at the time voting changes were made.
  2. Texas claims that a state’s sovereign rights over their election cannot be altered, while also alleging that Texas’ rights were. That seems to argue the validity of those rights equally for all the states. If Texas holds the rights they claim are being violated, wouldn’t a judicial stay thwart those same rights of the other states?
  3. The suit makes a serious faux pas with the assumption that the court somehow has four justices who agree with them. This is arrogant, and if I were a Supreme Court justice I would be offended, but I would still look at whatever merits I could find. Paxton mentions the upcoming runoff election in Georgia. which has nothing to do with the Electoral College. As far as I can tell it’s just a glob of “hamburger helper.”

ERROR. The suit claims there are 72 Electors in the play, when it’s only 62, unless Paxton has some inside information on the 2020 Census. This is sloppy work and if I were a justice, I would have questions

Why should one state have any power over another state’s voting procedures? If this suit had an honest intention, states like Colorado or Nevada should also be involved. Paxton is showing his hand by trying to change only the result, rather than discounting mail in voting of all states.

In a glaring lack of empathy, this suit brushes off the COVID pandemic like it’s something that didn’t affect the lives of 15 million people and kill more than 280,000 Americans. What a brutal lack of empathy! The “significant departures” in election processes were reasonable because of the worst public crisis in over a hundred years. The suit states, “It does not matter that a judicial or executive officer sought to bypass that screening in response to the COVID pandemic; the choice was not theirs to make.” I understand that a crisis doesn’t freeze the Constitution, but after witnessing Donald Trump sign more than 197 executive orders in four years, it’s a given that the executive officer does have the right to impose changes without legislative approval. That’s why they are called EXECUTIVE ORDERS.

The intended trick of the suit is exposed within the suit itself. If the electors are not seated on the day prescribed in the Constitution, as the application states, each legislature could then take the reins and appoint electors. However, would it not be a tragic outcome if the millions of votes cast by Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan citizens were to be discarded by overzealous, radical state legislators while being aided and abetted by the Supreme Court? Paxton’s own words said it best, the result would “strip away the fundamental rights of the voters,” not in his state but in the states, he is suing. Yes, Howard, the world has gone crazy.

THIS JUST IN: SUPREME COURT SAYS TEXAS ELECTION STEAL IS MOOT: 

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Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

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