High gloss won’t restore the sheen on the warty toad

Rockefeller_octopus

Standard Oil’s John D. Rockefeller and the planet

POLITICAL NEWS: Part 3

(Earlier this week I wrote that the comb-over candidate’s spinmeisters are redoubling their efforts to curb the candidate’s runaway tongue by having him stick to a carefully scripted playbook. Today’s New York Times confirms the prediction. The first headline you see announces the candidate is trying a new tactic: “Sticking to the Script.”)

Until now, we’ve seen an unvarnished toad running for office: warts and all.

But judging from this week’s headlines, the candidate’s revamped strategy is aimed at burnishing an image of a boorish braggart into a facsimile of a sentient being.

Press agents and publicists can be masterful at creating images that turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.

Consider the case of John Davison Rockefeller. Continue reading

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POLITICAL NEWS: Part 2 of 3

Lipstick on a pig? A toad?

toad

 (My last blog, Stuck on the Tar Baby, takes a look at what it means in the worlds of journalism and public-relations to frame $2 billion in “free” press coverage in today’s presidential campaign. Today I muse about recent PR efforts to harness the comb-over candidate’s tongue).

 Bluster & blunder

With voting deadlines bearing down on all comers, journalists observe that the comb-over candidate’s handlers are attempting a new approach: curbing the Republican front-runner’s erratic blunder-busters.

Until now, the candidate stated publicly that “what you see is what you get.”

The mass-mediated projection of his character is…well…accurate.

And that’s a good thing.

That means readers and viewers—you and I—see an authentic portrayal in the news.

Each time he opens his pie-hole we hear the real, uncensored candidate. Continue reading

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POLITICAL NEWS

 

 

songsouth2

Stuck on the Tar Baby

(Today’s blog is the first of three that looks at the presidential election from a perspective that shares evidence from researchers who study mass media. But first, I must have my morning tea)

My mornings follow a routine.

My sweetheart rises first, darts upstairs to snap on his espresso-maker and boil water for my tea.

I listen to a recording of birds that begins at oh-five-hundred: a symphony of trills and warbles that wakes me from my slumber.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t linger under the covers.

I grab my iPad, march flat-footed up the stairs, and begin the tea ritual, which includes extracting from the shelf a silver teapot from London’s Portobello Road, two teabags of an Assam-Yunnan admixture, a cup and saucer painted with yellow sunflowers, a small sugar bowl, a creamer filled with milk, and two spoons: one for the sugar and one for the tea.

While the water boils I greet my husband and my dog–in that order–and pour my first cup of tea, ladling in a quarter-teaspoon of sugar.

I sip my tea and he slurps his coffee (my husband, not my dog) and we both gaze out the window and discuss the weather.

Will it be a good day for biking? Will it rain? Do we leave the windows open or closed?

The second cup of tea gives me permission to read the electronic version of The New York Times.

I begin with page one–at least–page one of my e-version of the news.

My heart sinks.

Continue reading

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The Sounds of London

Barcode: 10326656 Science Museum Photo Studio Date: 10/05/05 Colour Profile: Adobe RGB (1998) Gamma Setting: 2.2 Please note: This image is not currently fully processed.

Things have changed since my high school days in England.

High school memories are like black and white photographs: sooty, gray.

And rainy.

But maybe that’s just London.

Still: I love the gray skies and drizzle of my youth.

Today–summertime–and a million years since high school–the sky is bright blue and everything looks like crystal. Continue reading

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Ginsburg’s got guts

Ginsburg

Just finished reading a wrap-up of news in a magazine that offers a passel of newsworthy stories in tightly written packages from many corners.

You get to hear folks ranging from CBS anchors to Slate pundits nattering about events following a brief cooling period.

So the news isn’t as quick as instant coffee: it takes time to mellow.

A surprise package came in the form of analysts mocking (and in tiny doses, praising) Ruth Bader Ginsburg for remarks she made about Donald Trump.

The story begins when Ginsburg was interviewed by an Associated Press reporter on Thursday, 7 July. Continue reading

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The gift of world travel

languages

Tear down the wall

Once, while eating supper at a restaurant in Germany, I over-heard an American visitor complain the menu was in German only: she wanted to see it in English.

How ironic to discover that nowadays menus in Europe often boast several languages, including English.

While I detested the woman’s tiny worldview, modern globalization demands a multiplicity of views and languages.

Learning foreign languages expands your perspective: it’s a wonderful mental and cultural exercise.  Continue reading

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Reliving the past

London of the sixties

image

You can’t help but visit London today and recall the 1960s: a bright and light musical kaleidoscope.

While I embrace London’s extraordinary changes–terrific food, good coffee, French pastries and an international human glow–the music scene of old permeates Soho.

We took in a performance of Sunny Afternoon, a tribute to the Kinks’ music replete with fraternal in-fighting and managerial wallet gouging. Continue reading

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