Tag Archive: Bill Maher


“The president of the United States tweeting negative things about your brand (e.g., ESPN) in an environment where you’re already at risk and you’re already on a downward trend, it’s just not what you want to see happening.” – Stephen Beck, cable TV consultant

“ESPN is about sports … not a political organization.” – ESPN President John Skipper

ESPN proclaims itself as “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.”

If that is true then why are so many labeling the troubled network: MSESPN?

Why is an ESPN anchor (e.g., Jamele Hill) taking to Twitter to call the president of the United States as a “White Supremacist” and a “Bigot”? Sounds like politics, not sports.

With the likes of Stephen Colbert, Rachel Maddow and Bill Maher filling up TV screens at other networks, does the avid sports fan tune into ESPN for affirmational political commentary?

Do you think more than a few of ESPN’s remaining viewers may not necessarily agree? More to the point, don’t they just want to watch their game of choice, and check out the highlights on “Sports Center”?

Predictably, Trump replied via his own customary tweet, reminding the world that ESPN is losing subscribers in a fast-and-furious way (e.g., 100 million in 2011 to 87 million now).

Time to sell the stock, Disney shares in particular?

Almost DailyBrett needs to ask a basic question: Why is the so-called “Worldwide Leader in Sports” becoming embroiled in politics when the nation is the most divided since the days of the Civil War?

Does the Bristol, Ct., network appreciate that contrary opinions may actually exist west of the Hudson? See 2016 Electoral College map for details.

Some have questioned why the network presented the Arthur Ashe Award to Caitlyn Jenner, provided sympathetic coverage of Colin Kaepernick not standing for the national anthem, moved Asian announcer Robert Lee out of the broadcast booth, fired conservative two-time World Series winner Curt Schilling, while not terminating Jamele Hill for her presidential broadsides?.

This commentary is not to suggest that ESPN should not cover provocative sports issues (e.g., O.J. Simpson parole hearing), but one cannot fathom the arbitrary direct shots by a sports network anchor at the commander-in-chief.

Analysts have stated that ESPN’s well-documented troubles are a product of market factors including widespread chord-cutting and the growing acceptance of streaming video. Okay. Then why potentially exacerbate the loss of 13 million viewers by angering millions of viewers, who may just happen to be conservative?

There is a reason why Fox News is the consistent ratings leader in cable news, easily beating MSNBC and CNN in the Nielsen Ratings. Why tick off huge swaths of the public?

“Ballmer and Butthead”

Almost DailyBrett earlier questioned Sun Microsystems founder and chief Scott McNealy’s obsession with Microsoft, who he saw as technology’s evil empire.

Thinking he was so friggin’ clever, McNealy drew laughter when he labeled Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates as “Ballmer and Butthead.”

He also raised eyebrows for making these brash comments while his failing company harbored a $3 per share price. Alas after 28 years, Sun Microsystems went into oblivion having been absorbed by Oracle in 2010.

The connection with ESPN is that a company needs to appreciate its raison d’ etre. What are a corporation’s bread and butter? What is a firm’s brand? What are the meanings of the logo, signage, colors, fonts and style?

Southwest Airlines is “The Low-Fare Airline”; Nike is “Just Do It”; Apple is mainly the iPhone as reaffirmed last week. Sun Microsystems was Java script and servers, but the brand sadly degenerated into becoming synonymous with McNealy’s sophomoric punch lines.

ESPN is the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.” Does it want to be the worldwide leader in left-of-center sports commentary? If so, the network will become a niche player instead of the market-share leader in sports programming.

The adults at Fox Sports will then take over that leadership position, leaving MSESPN to cater to its chosen core of left-of-center “sports” fans.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/15/media/trump-espn/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/15/politics/jemele-hill-espn/

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/15/trump-kicks-espn-where-it-hurts-242785

http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2013/09/tech-ceos-talking-shit-about-their-rivals/mcnealy-shots-on-gates-and-ballmer

https://www.recode.net/2016/5/4/11634208/scott-mcnealy-is-stepping-down-from-the-ceo-job-you-didnt-know-he-had

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/08/12/%E2%80%9Cballmer-and-butthead%E2%80%9D/

http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/09/12/espn-jemele-hill-calls-donald-trump-white-supremacist-kid-rock-pandering-racists

 

 

 

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The Wolf of Wall Street now holds the cinematic record for the most uses of the F-bomb in a non-documentary film.

Congratulations?

How long will it be before some other director beats Martin Scorsese’s “record” for the use of the world’s most prevalent four-letter word?

scorsesedicaprio

Do we really give a f… about this word anymore?

Little did I realize that yours truly along with his new bride and one and only biological daughter witnessed history being made with 506 F-bombs on Xmas Day. Kind of makes you feel all tingly for the Holidays.

Reportedly, Scorsese had to exercise restraint in the use of sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout, and for some violence in order to avoid the dreaded NC-17 rating.

Whew! That was close.

So why did I indulge in this three-hour film, and drag along my loved ones (and apologize afterwards) on Christmas Day? Good question.

The first is that I am a Wall Street junkie (equities and mutual funds; not the cocaine and ludes that seem to pop up in between tons of flesh in this film). I have written and lectured repeatedly about the synergy between fiduciary responsibility and corporate social responsibility, IPOs, SEC disclosure compliance and many other Wall Street-related strategic communications issues.

The film revolves around the book, The Wolf of Wall Street, about the Internet Bubble era of stock-pimpster (e.g., Steve Madden IPO), fraud-master, money-laundering, Jordan Belfort, and his stock brokerage, Stratton Oakmont.

In the end, Belfort ignored all the warning signs and a possible settlement with the SEC, broke a plea bargain with the FBI, and ended up in a federal pen in Nevada and paid $110.4 million in fines. Today, he is a motivational speaker.

Couldn’t Scorsese have told us this story without pouring-it-on in the form of yet another clip of drug ingestion and gratuitous nudity? Leaving the theatre, I was wondering whether The Wolf of Wall Street was a good film or a bad film. I knew that it could have been better, particularly with Leonardo DiCaprio, Rob Reiner and Margot Robbie lending their names and talents to the movie.

leonardomargot

Please don’t discount my comments by concluding that the author of Almost DailyBrett is a prude. After all, the blog earlier bared its soul commenting on the Playboy pose or no-pose decision from a reputation management point of view. My conclusion? It all depends.

Almost DailyBrett earlier examined Bill Maher’s lovely use of the vulgar C-word to describe former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and the New York Times’ decision to use the F-word in a recent news story.

All of these examples, and Scorsese’s new film, bring up the question of the coarsening of society. Have we become immune to profane language? Will the F-word eventually serve as an adjective modifying every noun? Will we get to the point that the F-bomb is reduced to a cliché?

Should we thank Hollywood for our present cultural state of affairs?

What is the Almost DailyBrett take on the obsessive use of the F-bomb to the point it is almost di rigueur in our society?

There is no doubt that Jordan Belfort would never be confused with Mother Teresa. He obviously used the F-word, and was addicted to/obsessed with drugs, sex and money. Can that point be made without dropping 506 F-bombs in 179 minutes or an average of 2.8268156424 uses of the F-word each minute or one every 20 seconds?

One would hope so.

My former boss, Governor George Deukmejian, remembered fondly debating Democratic leader and future San Francisco Mayor George Moscone on the floor of the California State Senate. Being the minority leader, George Deukmejian, was on the wrong end of the final vote more times than naught. Still when the debate was over, the two Georges were friends and no F-bombs were dropped.

hamiltonburrduel

Contentiousness is not new to our society and undoubtedly will persist. Consider the fatal duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. How about the Free States and the Slave States that led to the Civil War? Next year we will commemorate the start of The War to End All Wars. Everyone has got along swimmingly since the end of World War I in 1918.

Besides leaving massive debts to our children and their children, will we as the fading Baby Boomer Generation bequest to them a coarse-and-vile society? Is there a way that we can put the brakes on, at least slowing down, the animosity, vitriol and the degradation of societal discourse?

At a minimum, let’s hope we don’t see a Christmas movie with 507 F-bombs.

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wolf_of_Wall_Street_%282013_film%29

http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1719590/wolf-of-wall-street-margot-robbie-nudity.jhtml

http://thecelebritycafe.com/reviews/2013/12/martin-scorseses-wolf-wall-street-review-excessive-movie-about-excess

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/the-f-bomb-r-i-p/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/is-the-c-word-the-equivalent-of-the-n-word/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

“Well, I really don’t think there’s any word in the English language that expresses so many different things as the word ‘f…’ does. You know, you can use surprise. ‘Well I’ll be f…ked.’ You can use the word ‘f…’ to indicate anger. ‘F… you.’ You can use the word ‘f…’ to indicate dismay. ‘Oh, f….’ I just think it probably is the most expressive word our language has.” – Former Indiana University Basketball Coach Robert Montgomery Knight

Quit f…ing black cops or get booted from the Communist party,‘” – New York Times’ fashionable “T” magazine, quoting the opening line of Jonathan Lethem’s “Dissident Gardens,” August 25, 2013

WTF?

knight

Seems like a few folks are getting their knickers in a twist or their bowels in an uproar (if you prefer the latter) over the F-Bomb exploded in the stately New York Times this past Sunday, even if it is a direct quote.

Is this a first for the Gray Lady? Not really.

“In a recorded conversation later on October 6, Ms. Lewinsky said she wanted two things from the President. The first was contrition: He needed to ” acknowledge . . . that he helped f… up my life.’ The second was a job, one that she could obtain without much effort: ”I don’t want to have to work for this position . . . I just want it to be given to me.” – The 1998 Starr Report on the physical relationship between former President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

Having acknowledged the precedent a generation ago, one may be prompted to ask: Is this yet another sign of the coarsening of our society? Have we become immune to this particular four-letter word?

Does this mean there will be no more “F-bombs” being dropped on once-shocked ears? Is the notion of the F-bomb antiquated? Do we mind, if our Kindern hear and use this word?

Years ago virtually every sports nut read John Feinstein’s 1986 Season on the Brink about chair-throwing and more-than-once-out-of-control Bobby Knight. Reportedly, it was the first sports book ever to make the New York Times best seller list.

Knight’s spoof television interview, egged on by a reporter asking the legendary coach why he used the F-word so much, was one of the key passages in Feinstein’s book. It exhibited Knight’s boorishness and his sense of humor at the same time.

Whether you condone or detest Bobby Knight, and everyone has an opinion about “The General,” one can see the logic behind his series of examples as to how the F-word is the most “expressive” word in the English language. It seems that everywhere you go; people are using F…ing as an adjective to modify virtually every noun. And don’t we all know acronyms that feature the word (e.g., FUBAR)?  Or people are substituting friggin’ or frickin’ for F…ing. You have to be brain-dead to not catch the parallel in two nanoseconds or less.

Even though I do not worship daily at the altar of the New York Times, I do NOT take issue with the editors directly quoting the first line of a book (if that is necessary to convey the story) or to allow the word to stand, when the paper decided to publish the Starr report intact.

nyt

Should this short word be regularly used in New York Times generated copy or worse, for banner heads? My answer is “no.”

Some readers of Almost DailyBrett may remember my piece asking whether the C-word (used by Bill Maher) has become the equivalent of the N-word (represented by Bull Connor). Almost DailyBrett made an unequivocal stand against both words, advocating that they be stricken from our national discourse.

Okay, so what are the distinctions among the C-word, the N-word and the F-word?

How long do you have?

The C-word is universally demeaning to women in every context.  There is no excuse for its use.

The N-word is universally demeaning to African Americans in every context. There is no excuse for its use.

These words hurt and they are meant to be harmful. Let’s get rid of them.

The F-word can be hurtful when it is used as an imperative as expressed above by Bobby Knight.

Should we be comfortable with the knowledge that the F-word is ubiquitous? I wouldn’t want it to be recited in first grade, let alone pre-school or kindergarten. Should newspaper editors or bloggers for that matter allow free reign when it comes to the F-word? Nyet.

My question to these editors and bloggers: Is this word a legitimate part of the story or is its use gratuitous as is the case in so many movies and rock concerts? If it is the latter, my advice is to exercise discretion.

After all, discretion is the better part of valor. WTF.

http://www.hark.com/clips/xgnhsfxrkf-bobbys-favorite-word

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5-akqjKzII

http://www.thewrap.com/media/column-post/ny-times-allows-f-word-113341

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qxu5cvW-ds

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/is-the-c-word-the-equivalent-of-the-n-word/

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/08/26/nyt_fuck_in_apparent_first_new_york_times_publishes_jonathan_lethem_s_f.html

http://www.amazon.com/Dissident-Gardens-Novel-Jonathan-Lethem/dp/0385534930

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/75639.Season_on_the_Brink

If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog – President Harry S. Truman

If you want a friend in Washington, get a bitch – Shock Comedian Bill Maher

maher

Time to go on the record: The first quote was uttered by the former president. The second one very well could be attributed to Maher…and after a few days virtually no one would give a whit.

President Truman was reminding those contemplating entering public life that having a tough backside is absolutely essential, particularly with all the slithery creatures that populate that zone of infinite wisdom that we commonly know as “Inside the Beltway.”

But when is enough, enough? When are lines crossed that should never be crossed?

Certainly we all enjoy the First Amendment right of free speech, but even with this precious liberty there are limitations (the famous restraint against yelling “Fire” in a crowded theatre comes immediately to mind).

What about uttering the N-word to describe African-Americans? Everyone knows this word is hateful and goes back to the bad ole days of bad ole Bull Connor and the attack dogs. Mercifully, those extreme days are over even though racism still exists. We should celebrate that the nominee for one political party this fall will be an African-American and the other most likely will be a Mormon. We have come far as a civilized society.

bullconnor

And yet, even with this progress, we hear that Maher in March 2011 in Dallas called former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin a “cunt,” adding, “There’s just no other word for her.” Really Bill? You also called her a “twat” and suggested that she and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann are “boobs” and “bimbos.” Any other gender specific slang for female reproductive parts that you want to throw in, Bill?

Maher’s past use of the C-word came simmering to the surface for a few nanoseconds when he gave $1 million to the president’s Super PAC. This revelation came just a few days after the president called a college student that was mocked as a “slut” and a “prostitute” by conservative radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh.

Mumsy was right when she said that “two wrongs don’t make a right.” The nation’s elites came unglued when white Anglo male Limbaugh used the “slut” word, but essentially dismissed  white Anglo male Maher’s use of the ugly C-word to describe Governor Palin. Why? Is “slut” more egregious than “cunt?” Both are awful; I dare to opine the latter is the absolute nadir of hateful sexism when it comes to crudeness and ugliness.

palin

CBS fired Don Imus for calling members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team, “nappy headed hos,” (racist and sexist at the same time), but HBO gladly rakes in “Real Time” advertiser bucks with Maher and his liberal use of the C-word.

Is the C-word the equivalent of the N-word? I am not a sociologist, so I cannot offer empirical evidence that the C-word invokes the same reaction in women that the N-word provokes among African-Americans (sounds like a critical qualitative study for a major university). One thing I do know is that both African-Americans and women have been repeatedly discriminated against during the course of this nation’s (and other nations) history and we have not wiped out the last vestiges of racism and sexism.

For those who use the N-word and/or the C-word, does it say more about the targets of the verbal venom or does it say more about you? Should we just dismiss Maher because he is a comedian because comedians are there simply to entertain?

Or should we take a stand for decency, even though some will mock us? There is never, ever any excuse, any rationalization, any explanation for using the gross c-word to describe any woman regardless of her profession, her political philosophy or place in life. There is no equivalent in terms of crudeness to the c-word. It stands alone in vulgarity. There I said it.

As a society we have learned to speak out and shame those who use the N-word to describe African-Americans. I am proud of the infrequent use of that racist word even in private. It should be totally stricken from the nation’s vocabulary.

The same applies to the C-word. We should not laugh at the ugly, hateful name calling, culminating with the C-word about any woman. Maher is not funny. The little smirk on his face and his self-adoration of his “cleverness” is egged on when we as a society express no outrage. If the C-word becomes common place in our society, it will be because we applauded and laughed when we should have deplored and condemned.

http://www.dallasvoice.com/maher-your-beautiful-theater-gonna-long-1070487.html

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/bill-maher-calls-sarah-palin-the-c-word-during-his-stand-up-act/

http://reason.com/blog/2012/03/06/its-like-totally-different-when-a-libera

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/03/20/bristol-awaits-obamas-call-shoulder/

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/17982146/

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-2675273.html

Couldn’t help but ponder the quote on a bumper sticker, stuck on the back of gray Prius.

prius1

I was imagining the driver under the influence of a NPR news report, contemplating her sustainable garden, taking a sip from her fair-trade coffee and making a mental list of organic, veggie ingredients to pick up from the co-op market.

Before you can scream, “stereotype,” I could also envision the same bumper sticker affixed to the back of a truck with mud-flaps, gun racks with the driver listening to Rush Limbaugh and contemplating stopping off for barbecue beef brisket or chipotle pork ribs.

So what am I babbling about? My point is that many of us claim to celebrate diversity, but only as we narrowly define it. “Diversity” usually includes gender, ethnicity, creed and sexual orientation, but what it doesn’t include for way too many people in way too many instances is a contrary political point of view.

We may extol the virtues of a “marketplace of ideas,” but then we may choose to tune out commentary that does not agree with our own. Think of it this way, millions of dollars are being made by polemics (e.g. Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, Glenn Beck, Bill Maher, Ann Coulter and until recently, Keith Olbermann), throwing raw red meat to the devoted by savagely pillaring the other point of view and resorting to name calling of the disciples that dare preach the alternative gospel.

This past week, we all know people who tuned in for Barack Obama’s State of the Union, and then switched channels when Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) delivered the official GOP and Tea Party responses respectively. And before that, the metaphorical shoe was on the other foot as Republicans tuned into George W.’s State of the Union, but tuned out the Democratic response. This all brings up some simple questions:

What are we afraid of?

Didn’t we learn in school that “sticks and stones may break my bones….?”

Many of us decry the loss of civility in our society, and yet we have our own responsibility for this state of affairs by refusing to even acknowledge that the other side has any merit whatsoever. In some cases, we adopt an elitist attitude resorting to calling people “dumb” and “stupid” if they don’t share our own particular wisdom…pass the sandbox shovel please.

One of the few things that I learned in public relations is to take the time to carefully study the messaging of the competition in a business setting or the other side of the aisle against a political backdrop. By appreciating the other point of view and where the other side is coming from philosophically, you can better anticipate their rhetorical thrusts and conversely conceive the best and most credible way to counter these arguments. You are just better at your own job. bubbatruck

Sacramento was a lonely place for a Republican constitutional office holder in the 1980s, in fact there was only one, my boss, Governor George Deukmejian. The Democrats held all the other constitutional offices (Lite Gov, Secy of State, Controller, Treasurer…) and to make things worse for us they held huge majorities in the State Senate and State Assembly, the latter run at the time by the all-powerful and incredibly articulate and skillful “Da Speaker” Willie Brown.

So how did we get anything done?

The answer is that our position was difficult, but not impossible. We had the bully pulpit of the governorship. We had GOP caucuses that were big enough to sustain gubernatorial vetoes, but we also had something else that was valuable…an understanding of how the other side thought and behaved. If we were to secure legislative passage for anything that we wanted, we had to convince Willie Brown and the Democrats on how they could declare victory. As the old saying goes in Sacramento: “When in doubt, declare victory.” We knew how we could declare victory, but how would the Democrats declare victory? And if both sides cannot credibly claim victory, then you have no deal on anything, on any given day.

williebrown

We literally sat around for hours into the night, debating among ourselves as Republicans how Willie, a Democrat, could declare unmitigated and unadulterated victory. Some of the suggestions that we batted around the room did not pass the giggle test. Ultimately we had to convince Willie, particularly with arguments he could use himself, because he in turn had to sell his caucus, a caucus that was philosophically predisposed against us.

In many cases we simply could not make the sale, but in others we succeeded when the majority of the votes were stacked up against us. I am not talking about compromising your principles, and we certainly did not retreat when it came to not raising taxes and insisting on a balanced budget with a $1 billion reserve for emergencies (almost sounds quaint in these days of record deficits, doesn’t it?). But we did go out of our way to understand Willie and his caucus and we were better off for doing so.

Almost DailyBrett note: The “Closed Mind” bumper sticker brings back memories of three of Dan Quayle’s most repeated quotes: “What a waste it is to lose one’s mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.” Almost tops, “The future will be better tomorrow” and of course, “If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”

http://paulryan.house.gov/

http://bachmann.house.gov/

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677/ns/msnbc_tv-countdown_with_keith_olbermann/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Brown_(politician)

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

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

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