Tag Archive: Sarah Palin


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/

Mumsy always proclaimed: “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

As a parent and based upon my own childhood experiences, I know that youngsters with strong points of view often draw negative responses not so much for what they are espousing, but for the obnoxious manner in which they are offering their opinions. The same even applies for those humbly or not-so-humbly applying to become the leader of the free world.

Does this suggest that philosophy doesn’t matter? Is command of details and facts still necessary for leadership? Does this mean that gaffes are irrelevant? The answers are, no, yes and no.

Obama And Romney Square Off In First Presidential Debate In Denver

Philosophical consistency directly applies to satisfying one’s political base and more importantly for enthusiastic GOTV (Get Out the Vote) campaigns. This electoral season is a GOTV year on steroids with very few truly undecided at this late date.

Having command of one’s facts and understanding wonkish details equate to essential gravitas. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin failed this test four years ago, and most likely will never be taken seriously as a legitimate presidential contender.

Staying away from a major blooper, not just a mere malapropos (e.g., “You didn’t build this,” and “Binders full of women”), can be political curtains even for an incumbent president.

Gerald Ford’s nationally televised brain fart in his 1976 debate against Jimmy Carter was most likely fatal to his chances: “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration.” And given a chance to recant, he doubled down on his stunner: “I don’t believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union.”

Absent not satisfying partisans demanding philosophical fidelity, candidates failing to demonstrate gravitas or uttering embarrassing gaffes, the commanding factor for winning in the courtroom of public opinion comes down to look and feel. How do you present your case, and is the public comfortable with the prospect of watching you night-after-night on television for the next four years?

Consider those who failed when it comes to style points during the past few decades. Are you dispassionate (e.g., Obama in debate #1); do you utter exacerbated sighs (e.g., Gore in 2000) do you mockingly laugh at your opponent (e.g., Biden in this year’s VP debate) or do you have Lazy Shave dripping off your face (e.g., Nixon in 1960).  Sighs matter.

Writing how the debates really matter this year, former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan wrote: “…In the days afterward … Mr. Biden seemed to slip, because the national conversation didn’t move off his antics—the chuckles, the grimaces, the theatrical strangeness of it all. A draw, or a victory, began to seem like a loss.”

Conversely, a presidential John F. Kennedy displayed youthful vigor, a plan for the future in his critical debate against a more experienced Richard Nixon. Presence and poise mattered. Twenty years later, there were legitimate concerns about Ronald Reagan’s intelligence and whether he could be trusted with his finger on the nuclear trigger. In his one-and-only debate against President Jimmy Carter (“There you go again…”) he answered these doubts and issued an indictment against a weak incumbent, rhetorically asking whether the majority of the public was better off than it was four years earlier.

Heading into tomorrow’s night’s final debate on foreign policy, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are locked in a statistical (e.g., Real Clear Politics) tie. The partisans have fully bought into their champions. Barring an off-night, a line for the ages or a major gaffe, tomorrow’s nights debate really boils down to temperament and presentation. Yes, the outcome revolves around not so much to what is said, but how it is said.

And the split screen can mean as much, if not more, than the primary screen. The camera is everywhere and as Dan Rather once said, “The camera never blinks.” How does a candidate visibly react to less-than-pleasant (and often inaccurate) commentary about his positions, policies and programs? Is the candidate confident in the face of withering criticisms or arrogant, pouting, smirking and/or condescending?

Likeability matters.

The same applies to any job seeker in these difficult times. Can you accept criticism? Do you display confidence as opposed to cockiness? Are you bringing your “A” game? Are you fully prepared? Do you really want to be on the stage? Are you the consummate team player?

The last question pertains to “fit.” In an economy with 23 million unemployed, underemployed or simply giving up the hunt for a job, personal intangibles can be the difference between being hired or being the first runner-up (first loser). It can be the decider between promotion or demotion. Or it can be the difference between being employed or let go.

And how you deport yourself, particularly in an advocacy role? It’s okay to be offensive, just as long as you are not “offensive.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444734804578065023315500416.html

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/28/opinion/brazile-debates-overrated/index.html

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/us/general_election_romney_vs_obama-1171.html

…if you know what I mean.”

These were the last words of US Secret Service supervisor David Chaney’s career. They were plastered on his Facebook page as the cutline for a photo of him allegedly protecting Alaska Governor Sarah Palin from all enemies foreign and domestic in 2008.

chaneypalin

 

Chaney, 49, is now without a job and his wife and family cannot be thrilled with his behavior or his employment prospects.

So what are the lessons from the U.S. Secret Service scandal that simply will not go away?

One is that engaging in foolish behavior on social media (e.g. swimmer Michael Phelps and his bong pipe) is not just restricted to young Bo-Hoes. The digital-is-eternal mantra applies to all age groups, occupations, economic and education levels and demands that we think before we post. Chaney’s crowing about ogling Palin’s curves and using them as eye candy was included among other posts about his extramarital recreational adventures with scantily clad women attending his high school reunion and belly dancers in Egypt (All published in the New York Post).

If you are asking, “What was he thinking?” Well obviously he wasn’t.

The second lesson is captured in the first two-chapters of the New York Times bestselling book by Chip and Dan Heath, “Made to Stick.” When asking what causes a story, a concept, a tagline to adhere with the public like duct tape, the Heaths responded that an account must be simple and unexpected.

Let’s see: Secret Service guys and Colombian prostitutes? Yes, I can understand this combo without hurting my brain. This tale is quite simple, but it cannot be dismissed as a “boys will be boys” story. What is unexpected about this caper is that it involves the Secret Service with its motto, “Worthy of Trust and Confidence,” the elite protectors of US leaders, even those with ornamental value…such as Palin, campaigning for vice president four years ago.

chaney

Don’t we expect unquestioned integrity from the Secret Service, just as we demand the same from the Navy Seals or the Army’s Delta Force? The whole issue exploded when one agent offered a lady of the evening only $30 for her efforts, when she was expecting $800. Prostitution is legal in Colombia and she immediately complained about non-payment to the gendarmes, which brought investigators to the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena and shortly thereafter the story to computer screens and the remaining newsstands around the world.

Another lesson is this simple and unexpected story has “legs” and we are not talking about Palin’s wheels or those of the sex workers in Colombia. We are talking about embarrassment to the agency and the White House in a political year. We are talking about congressional committees. We are talking about marauding reporters. Simple, unexpected and a growing cast of characters with new news angles virtually every day all lead to a story with legs.

And it continued today as Connecticut Senator Joseph Liebermann summed it up: “The White House advance person knows exactly where the president is going to be at any time. If anybody thinking the worst wanted to attack the president of the United States, one of the ways he might find out the path that he would follow in Cartagena is by compromising White House advance personnel.”

Instead of strictly concentrating on protecting the nation’s chief executive in a historically dangerous country, some of our “wheels up, rings off” heroes were visiting the “Play Room” in Cartagena and bringing their special friends back to their Hotel Caribe rooms. Conceivably the president’s itinerary could have been spread out on hotel tables or even night stands. Think about it: This story could have been worse, much worse.

The advent of social media – blogging, webcasting, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest and many, many more – allows us as communication choreographers to enhance an individual or organizational reputation and brand with unprecedented speed and extent in record time. These same tools can feed the human inclination toward negativity, destroying or severely harming a reputation and/or brand even faster.

Does David Chaney wish that he had never had typed those 12 simple words onto his Facebook page? Think of it, compose 12 words and you are toast.

Does the Secret Service agent with flexible morals wish that he had fully compensated his love rental for the evening instead of insulting her by only offering $30? One would think so.

Has the Secret Service taken a severe hit to its reputation and brand, one that may take literally years, if not decades, to repair? That is clearly the case…if you know what I mean.

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/obama-briefed-as-secret-1423377.html

http://photos.denverpost.com/mediacenter/2012/04/photos-the-image-of-secret-service-agent-david-chaney-and-sarah-palin-is-denver-posts/33845/

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/dirty_little_secret_6QBSk49hscdXUEwqchjxJK

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/palin-drawn-secret-service-scandal/story?id=16179857

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/the-secret-service-had-the-worst-week-in-washington/2012/04/22/gIQAna6qZT_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_politics

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

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