...don't even ignore 'em.
-- Samuel Goldwyn

Monday, March 24, 2008

Crazy like Fox

Everybody knows that Fox News is unfair and unbalanced. But nobody ever said Roger Ailes and company aren't smart. Look how they sucked right in with staffers making outraged comments about Obama-bashing at their own network. Now, of course, they say it was all a joke. I say, the Chris Wallace thing was, too. Of course, here I am, posting about it. It's all show business, folks.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Candor Campaign

How many four-year cycles have we prayed for presidential candidates who speak from their cuffs? From their minds, at least, maybe even their hearts? We have one of each this year: Barack Obama and John McCain. Sorry, Hillary, you haven't done it this time -- not enough, anyway, as Frank Rich asserts. 

Now we can see how it feels to hear the truth, unspun. How it makes anything less stick out like a page of typos. How it preempts media analysis, obviates it. How it sends the acid-talk-radio comedians into dithers. I'm talking about Obama's race relations speech, of course. But I also mean McCain's clarity on immigration and other sticky issues, although he's still trying to stick with the war he's stuck with, trying to keep what's left of the Republican core on his side. 

We have fine people running for President this year, and we've sorted them out from the others. Nice job, voters. Tune out the punditocracy. There's plenty of evidence that nobody's been paying attention to them anyway, except themselves.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

So long, Elliot Spitzer

Oh, he may not quit, and probably won't be impeached, or whatever you might do to a wayward governor. But he's as gone as if he'd just signed on for a one-way trip to the space station. The most painful thing to watch yesterday was Governor Spitzer's good wife standing by his side as he read his soulless apology to assembled news types. No, she didn't look like the stand-by-your-man type. She looked solid and unbending. She was not presenting the loyal wife face. Still, there she was, showing up for public humiliation. Elliot's stupidity doesn't top Bill Clinton's, only on the basis of rank. Just once, however, I'd like to see one of these bastards show up for his press conference without the wife. She shoulda said no. You're on you own, dude.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Jarvik karma.

May the phenomenon of metaphysical blow-back that has whisked Dr. (non-practicing-non-rowing) Jarvik out of our lives likewise propel Eli Lilly and Co. and their heart-rending and brilliantly scored Cymbalta TV commercials into deserved oblivion. If traffic on this Website is any measure, people are still captured and intrigued -- haunted, even -- by the quasi-classical music of these antidepressant pitches. All the direct-to-user TV advertising for prescription remedies has so muddied the practice of medicine that formerly important, potent, risk-managed drugs are now sold like Preparation H. All those mumbled voice-over warnings about side effects, including really serious, life threatening ones -- even four hour erections (you don't want to know how they fix that) -- go right past us and we run to our docs asking for them. We take responsibility for our own care, now don't we. So we have only ourselves to blame. And now that studies are saying antidpressants, maybe, work no better than sugar pills against depression, hell, we might as well be swigging Lydia E. Pinkham's. It's at least got an alcoholic side effect to make up for the taste. And has all this made us trust the FDA more? I saw a commercial that used "...and it's FDA approved..." like it was a recommendation. I'd think twice about that. Yes, bring on the karma. This is the way America takes care of problems of misrepresentation and just plain BS. Very Republican. Expose the hype and let the marketplace decide.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Afterthought on Jarvik

I've been rethinking. They say Robert Jarvik's contract to do Lipitor commercials was two years, and the pay: $1.35 million. Consider, please: that's about $650K a year, for quite a few quite complex film camera shoots, on location in many parts of the country -- he was in attendance at that lake, though he didn't row. Plus all the rest of the accompanying folderol involved in being a celebrity spokesman.

It must have been a fairly intense part-time job. For a guy who's running his own company, that's quite a commitment. He must have imagined the exposure would be worth millions more to him in the development of his company, on the worldwide money markets. So, for all this, he put his medical-health reputation -- which even he must have known was not close to that of, say Michael DeBakey -- on the line. However he must have looked at it, he stood to win big, and couldn't lose. Sadly, I suspect he still thinks so.

Buckley. From the time when conservatives had brains and a conscience.

Cheap shot? It's mine. I'll miss this conservative. He could laugh.

Yes, there's good hype. See Starbucks.

Nobody ever called Howard Schultz stupid. Yesterday's very public training shutdown got Starbucks gazillions of dollars in media coverage, as befits an iconic company. He got the full attention of all his employees, in the most positive way possible -- attention being paid to them as first priority. I could crow all day about the brilliance of this move. Above all, it's honest. We've got problems: watch us fix them. Take notice, Pfizer. How about a little candor, double-tall.