Tag Archive: Ann Richards


“Poor George. He can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.” — Former Texas Governor Ann Richards (1933-2006)

You’ve probably received a hundred of these ‘feet’ but I want you to have this one from me – a peace offering.” – President-elect George H.W. Bush note, sending a silver foot pin to soon-to-be Texas Governor Ann Richards November, 1988

”I think it was a kind and generous gesture on his part. I was delighted that he saw and enjoyed the humor in the keynote address.” — Ann Richards upon receiving the silver foot pin

How come our politics can’t be practiced with clever satire, even a smile, a wink, and better yet … take it that way?

Ann Richards gave #41 the business in her keynote address to the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta with a smile on her face, an endearing Texas drawl, and great sense of timing and humor.

Yes, Harry S. Truman once said that if you needed a friend in Washington, D.C. — get a dog. Does that require everyone to be so doggone mean?

Maybe, just maybe, that old dog can still hunt.

See The Other Point Of View

“Do it with all you’ve got. Keep your cool, work like hell, don’t let the meanness that will surface get you down, don’t overreact, see the other guy’s point of view. See his merits but convince people you are the better man — for you are.” — Former President George H.W. Bush advice to his son former President George W. Bush in 1977

“Ellen (Degeneres) and George Bush together makes me have faith in America, again” — Tweet from Matt highlighted on Ellen’s Show

The broadcast image of Ellen Degeneres sitting right next to former President George W. Bush at last Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers game went viral, and generated a series of unpleasant comments about how she could occupy the same space with #43.

The CBS Evening News’ headline said that Ellen “defends” her friendship with the former president.

CNN along the same vain noted that Ellen “explains” sitting next to the Republican chief executive.

Almost DailyBrett must rhetorically ask these media elites: Why does someone, anyone have to “defend” or “explain” being nice?

Have we reached a point that being kind to someone, who does not share your political philosophy, is somehow a crime?

People were upset, why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president? I am friends with George Bush.” — Ellen Degeneres

Your author is mature enough to remember vividly Ann Richards chiding George H.W. Bush, literally bringing down the house in Atlanta with laughter. Richards was effective, but she was not mean … not even close. The prevailing civil behavior of our politicians at that time was a model for the nation.

The outright hatred and hostility in Washington toward those who do not share a given philosophy has extended to public discourse and nasty behavior from sea-to-shining sea. We are talking about the way each individual sees the world and the direction of the country.

There are some that are even amazed that a Reaganite Republican and a Obamaesque Democrat cannot only inseparably co-exist for seven years, but most of all … love each other. Jeanne even happily joined me for a 2017 visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Almost DailyBrett will speak in an ex-cathedra manner: If a couple cannot love each other because they hold differing … maybe even diametrically opposed … political philosophies, then the relationship is doomed from the start. How about focusing on areas of agreement?

Your author is often chided for romancing a better time, somehow turning back the clock. Guilty as charged. It was better then, why can’t it be better now?

As Ellen stated on Tuesday: “Just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean I’m not friends with them. When I say, ‘Be kind to people,’ I don’t mean only the people who think the way you do. Be kind to everybody.”

Amen, Ellen. Amen.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ellen-degeneres-defends-george-w-bush-friendship-cowboys-game-tweets-monologue-2019-10-08/

https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/08/entertainment/ellen-degeneres-george-bush/index.html

 

When is not enough, not enough? When is too much, too much? And is just right, just right?

Finally, when is it time to get off the stage?

As I contemplate the to-the-point immediate communication demands of our 2012 attention-driven society (particularly via social media), I keep on pondering the lessons of four legendary English rock n’ roll bands of the 1970s.

After standing in the rain for nearly eight hours outside some sterile Southern California department store in 1975 (amazed the call of nature didn’t intercede…ah to be young again), I finally reached the front of the line and bought two precious tickets to see Led Zeppelin.

page

In my mind’s eye, I could envision Jimmy Page laying on the first riffs of “Rock n’ Roll” with his Gibson Les Paul, Robert Plant hitting the high notes, workmanlike John Paul Jones on the bass/organ and John Henry Bonham pounding away on the drums.

A friend, who saw the show a few nights earlier, implored me to sell the tickets. I should have listened to him. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Led Zeppelin fan owning the band’s entire catalogue on both vinyl and CD. Listening to the band’s recordings is one thing; sitting through four hours of guitar, organ and drum solos comprising only 15 songs (do the math) was exhausting. When it was over, no one was demanding an encore.faces

During that same year, I saw the last tour of Rod Stewart and the Faces (Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagen and Kenney Jones). All-in-all, I have checked out four Rod Stewart shows, including the aforementioned Faces concert. Each one was over in approximately 90 minutes. And each time the audience wanted more but there was no more. The crowd felt jipped and there was a smattering of boos. We were not even close to being exhausted and we were far from satisfied.TheWho2

 

 

The Who was a different story. I saw the band for the first time at Anaheim Stadium in 1976 with the original lineup of Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle (The Ox) and Keith Moon. The second time was in Los Angeles with the Faces’ Kenney Jones replacing the deceased Moon on the drums. The band played for more than two hours and ended its regular set with “See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” Alas, the encore was an anti-climatic throw-away.

Early this month, the Rolling Stones announced the availability of a bootleg recording of its July 13, 1975 concert at The Forum in Los Angeles. I was 20-years old at the time and vividly remember Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” dramatically introducing the band at that very same concert to thunderous applause. And then there was Mick Jagger and Keith Richards singing the chorus to “Honky Tonk Woman” with Charlie Watts on drums, Bill Wyman on bass and Woods just joining the Stones from the Faces.

Since the 1969 “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out” tour, the Stones have always been masters of choreography and pacing, starting their concerts at a kinetic pace (i.e., Honky Tonk, All Down the Line, You Can’t Rock Me) and then slowing down (e.g., You Can’t Always Get What You Want). The 1975 concert concluded with a series of Stones classic rockers including: Brown Sugar, Midnight Rambler, Street Fighting Man, Jumpin Jack Flash and the encore, Sympathy for the Devil.

Stonesya-yas

The show was 22 songs and ran about two hours or so with the audience coming away satisfied (Who says you can’t get no satisfaction?), but wanting more. The Stones knew when it was time to get off the stage. Led Zep played a four-hour concert; The Stones gave us a show. All together, I have seen the Stones six times live, and if they tour as rumored next year to celebrate their 50th anniversary as a band, my attendance will be a pilgrimage as it will for literally thousands and thousands of people.

The purpose of this epistle is not to simply recount how fortunate I have been to see some of the greatest rock n’ rollers of all time, but to deduce the lessons of these bands and project them to our 21st Century world of communication.

Recently, I was imploring a very bright colleague to drop her plans to market a 4.5-hour AUDIO ONLY tape. I borrowed the famous line from the late Texas Governor Ann Richards (no relation to Keith) stating: “That dog won’t hunt.”

A NFL game takes an average of 3.5 hours obviously accompanied by video and audio. The Led Zep show ran four hours with amplified sound, lasers and lighting. My entrepreneur acquaintance wants to market a 4.5-hour audio tape, broken into nine chapters, but still 4.5 hours. I urged a series of two-to-three minute YouTube videos as an alternative. No go…so I had to go.

My failure to convince someone (not the first) about the merits of quick messaging social media reminds me of The Diffusion of Innovations Theory by professor Everett Rogers. The theory is represented by a curve with innovators on the extreme left and laggards on the extreme right of the page (not implying any political connection). I am afraid that 4.5 hour audio tapes are heading in the laggard direction akin to the buggy whip. We live in a world of 140-character Tweets/20-second sound bites/quick Facebook posts.

We can either embrace this new world or coming into it kicking and screaming. We are not going back to Johannes Gutenberg and his 15th Century printing press or the modern-day equivalent in the form 4.5-hour audio tapes. The Stones and The Who proved four decades ago that less is more in rock ‘n roll. This same wisdom applies to 2012 communications choreography as well.

http://www.rollingstones.com/news/rolling-stones-release-la-friday-live-1975

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Copland

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faces_(band)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_innovations

http://www.biography.com/people/ann-richards-9457298

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Gutenberg

oxymoron  (ˌɒksɪˈmɔːrɒn)
 
n  , pl -mora
  rhetoric  an epigrammatic effect, by which contradictory terms are used in conjunction: living death ; fiend angelical
 
[C17: via New Latin from Greek oxumōron,  from oxus  sharp + mōros  stupid]

A colleague recently approached asking for your author’s humble opinion about a newly created senior manager of Corporate Affairs position for a publicly traded company in the data storage space. In short order while reading the position description, your author’s cerebral alarm bells were going off.

The main responsibility of the soon-to-be anointed senior manager of Corporate Affairs would be to “execute the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) responsibilities.” Hmmm …

Almost DailyBrett was left wondering how long it would take the company to “execute” the senior manager of Corporate Affairs responsible for CSR in the face of the next inevitable technology industry downturn. This position has all the sounds of classic SG&A (selling, general and administrative) or a corporate expense, which Finance departments will curtail if not outright eliminate.

Just as widely extolled video news releases (VNRs) of the 1990s made shameless PR firms gobs of cash while being round-filed or cut-up for “B-roll” by television station producers, the virtues of CSR are now part of every pitch made in agency reviews or RFP response cattle calls.

But is CSR in its purest form really an oxymoron? Do the words, “corporate” and “social responsibility” really belong in the same sentence? Please don’t giggle.

aneelkarnani

As Aneel Karnani of the University of Michigan Business School wrote in the Wall Street Journal www.wsj.com there are cases in which companies have done good things for society and the environment, including serving healthier foods at fast-food restaurants and offering more fuel-efficient cars. Yes, companies can be green while chasing green. http://www.bus.umich.edu/FacultyBios/FacultyBio.asp?id=000119664

But let’s keep in mind that the pursuit of profits and delivering shareholder value are the core missions of the executives in corporate boardrooms, not saving the world. In all due respect, Mother Teresa never had to lead quarterly earnings report conference calls or answer questions at annual meetings of shareholders. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa

“Very simply, in cases where private profits and public interests are aligned, the idea of corporate social responsibility is irrelevant: Companies that simply do everything they can to boost profits will end up increasing social welfare,” Karnani wrote. “In circumstances in which profits and social welfare are in direct opposition, an appeal to corporate social responsibility will almost always be ineffective, because executives are unlikely to act voluntarily in the public interest and against shareholder interests.”

And speaking about shareholder interests, there is this little notion called, fiduciary responsibility, that trumps corporate social responsibility each and every time. And that may not be such a bad thing.

“The movement for corporate social responsibility is in direct opposition, in such cases, to the movement for better corporate governance, which demands that managers fulfill their fiduciary duty to act in the shareholders’ interest or be relieved of their responsibilities,” said Karnani. “That’s one reason so many companies talk a great deal about social responsibility but do nothing—a tactic known as ‘greenwashing.’”

Certainly companies that act irresponsibly and end up hurting society and the environment (e.g. British Petroleum or BP “Deepwater Horizon oil spill) will be punished by vote-seeking politicians, marauding plaintiff’s attorneys, consumers, shareholders…just to name a few. It is good business to maintain a positive reputation and a strong brand…and that means also protecting that brand. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil_spill

oilspillbird

Having said that, expecting companies to worship exclusively at the altar of Corporate Social Responsibility in the face of a potential double dip recession where mere survival maybe job #1 just simply doesn’t jive with reality.

As the late Ann Richards once said: “That old dog won’t hunt.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Richards

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