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Come and whisper in my ear, give us dirty laundry

January 22, 2009 | Ethics,Journalism,MSM,Politics

A person close to Kennedy denied her “personal reasons” were concerns about the health of her uncle, Sen. Ted Kennedy, who is suffering from a cancerous brain tumor discovered last summer. The person wasn’t authorized to disclose the conversation between Kennedy and the governor and spoke on condition of anonymity.

So, umm, a person close to Becky at Deep Muck Big Rake wonders why the heck this got published. Someone at AP afraid of a little Gawker?

Posted by Becky @ 10:42 pm | Comments  

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

January 4, 2009 | Barack Obama,Ethics,Fundraising,Politics,U.S. government

Does twice make a trend?

Gov. Bill Richardson withdraws from commerce secretary nomination … blah, blah, blah … pay-to-play.

Posted by Becky @ 4:44 pm | Comments  

Dude, where’s my $700 billion?

December 17, 2008 | Banks,Economics,Ethics,Leslie Bennetts,Movies,No clothes!,Politics,SLBTM,U.S. government

Headline of the day. But, then, I’m partial to the whole Dude headline theme. Maybe I should see the movie, eh?

Posted by Becky @ 9:12 am | Comments  

Devra: I said, “Mark my words,” didn’t I?

October 17, 2008 | 2008 campaign,Barack Obama,Ethics,John McCain,Lorne Michaels,Politics,SNL,Television

It’s official: Sarah Palin will appear on Saturday Night Live.

As an elected official — still in office — she will be in good company.

Sigh.

Posted by Becky @ 7:51 pm | 2 Comments  

Working Mother’s Best of Congress awards

September 10, 2008 | Ethics,Journalism,PR,Working Mother

Remember back in November 2007 when Working Mother announced that it would be accepting applications for its Best of Congress awards to be given this fall? Well, that time is here. They were announced in the August/September issue, and they were celebrated at a this morning in Washington, D.C.

P.S. Carolyn B. Maloney is on the list.

If you missed how this worked with the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers, here’s some of the PR buzz about the “Best of Congress” awards.

From a press release:

Fifty members of Congress submitted applications for this inaugural award. Applicants were judged on their voting record, sponsored/co-sponsored legislation, and efforts to promote legislation that supports working families. In addition, applicants were asked to submit policies and practices within their own offices that support working families and flexible workplace options.

From FAQs about the awards:

Q: What will they get when they win?
A: Winning Members of Congress will be:
• Profiled in the September 2008 issue of Working Mother magazine;
• Honored at a gala dinner in September 2008.
• Highlighted in an advertisement to run on the day of the gala in the Washington Post or Roll Call and their hometown newspaper.
• Profiled in Corporate Voices’ blog on the Working Mother website;
• Profiled in a press release announcing the winners;
• Highlighted on the websites of Corporate Voices’ 65 strategic partner organizations including the Society for Human Resource Management and the Conference Board.
In addition, CVWF staff will work with the Members office to highlight the award in local state media.
Q: How will this award impact a Members career or campaign?
A: Members of Congress awarded the “Best of Congress” Award will be highlighted when they win, and then again every two years as a past-winner.
Members can highlight their achievements that in Congressional updates to constituents, earned, and paid media.

Also in the FAQs: “Members will also be judged on employment practices or policies in their office that are designed to help working families.”

Listen to CEO Carol Evans speak on NPR about employees “in the trenches” of Congress working “extreme jobs” so of course things aren’t terribly flexible with those jobs. (Also on NPR with Evans were Jolene Ivey and Asra Nomani of Mocha Moms.) But, hey, not every job is made for everyone (working mothers in Congress, perhaps?), but members of Congress offer some “fun flexibility” to help their employees. Even so, they all agreed that “we need more women in Congress.” Hmm. How will that work? When Nomani criticized the lack of “family friendly” efforts in this country, Evans said, but women are excited about their jobs! Umm. OK.

The original press release

Everyone else’s press releases
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio (“hometown coverage“)
Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr., D-Pa
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn.
Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis. (Here’s his “hometown coverage,” written — with a byline — from a press release generated from his office.)
Sen. Gordon H. Smith, R-Ore.
Rep. Tom Allen, D-Maine
Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-Mo.
Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-Conn.
Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa.
Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. (“hometown coverage“)
Rep. Deborah Pryce, R-Ohio
Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash.
Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-Md.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, D-Pa.
Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn. (announced on his Facebook page)
Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher, D-Calif.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.
Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky.

Posted by Becky @ 1:45 pm | Comments  

When did platinum’s value plummet?

September 2, 2008 | Banks,Customer service,Ethics

My old bank sent a check to my new bank so we could close on our new house. When explaining things, the loan officer said:

I didn’t charge you the $3 fee to send the check because you’re a platinum member.

Let me explain the irony of that statement.

In June, we faced owning two houses at the same time. I called my bank, where I’ve had my money for 14 years, ever since it was a credit union (until it decided to become a bank in the last year or so).

It has the original mortgage on our house. I needed a loan to get us through the overlap of buying one house and selling another. After convincing Loan Officer #1 (not on the first try, mind you) that we were good for it even in this hideous housing market, she started the paperwork. We swapped faxes and phone calls. Things seemed to be moving along. Then, the day before she left on vacation, she faxed some forms she wanted me to sign, acknowledging that my house was in a flood zone.

Umm. No.

My house is not in a flood zone now. It wasn’t in a flood zone in 2002 when we got the original mortgage through the credit union, but #1 needed “proof.” So, in other words, she didn’t have “proof” in my files for the original mortgage? Nope.

Well, that’s her problem, not mine, right? Not if I want this loan.

Lovely.

So I called my insurance company, which quoted me $3,500/year for Zone A flood insurance. Paid in full. Up front. Before closing.

Then I spent the next several hours calling neighbors and walking door to door in the pouring rain, gathering documentation. Before the end of business that day, I faxed to Loan Officer #2 (who was to take over while #1 was on vacation) the documents (including a FEMA Letter of Map Revision) that showed the neighborhood was NOT in a flood zone. I provided the name and telephone number of the flood-certification company that was listed on a neighbor’s property.

When I talked to #2 the next day, she was reluctant to call the company, so I called. Someone there pulled the certification that said my property was not in a flood zone. But she couldn’t send me a copy. She could only send it to the requesting lender.

“Who ordered the certification?” I asked.

“Sunshine State Credit Union,” she said. “In 2002.”

My bank.

I called #2, gave her the telephone number again, this time with a person’s name and extension number, as well as the certification number on my property, fully expecting her to call and clear up everything. Well, no. She would call the bank’s current flood-certification company and have an answer for me in 24 to 48 hours.

That time came and went. In the meantime, I called around to find the documentation needed: the property-management company for our homeowners association, the company that did the survey on my property and the county administrator’s office, who would contact FEMA for me — in other words, I was doing #2’s job. And she refused to acknowledge any of the information I sent her.

And she still refused to call the original flood-certification company.

After hearing that the current flood-certification company believed my house was in a flood zone and things like, “FEMA says the document does not exist,” I realized she would never pull her head out and do her job. I called the executive vice president of the bank, someone I had worked with in the past, and chewed his ear for a while. He later gathered his little troops together (#2 and the underwriter), and they called me on the speakerphone. They apologized. And, oh, they would work SO hard and do everything possible to get this whole thing resolved.

Less than 24 hours later, I got an e-mail from the underwriter, saying, “At this point we have exhausted all avenues to resolve this issue.” He listed all the places he called, trying to get information. Was the original flood-certification company on that list? Of course not.

So I called it again. I said, look, I realize you can’t send me a copy of the certification, but since my bank is unwilling to request a copy, I need more information. She pulled up my certification. I asked if she had a copy of the FEMA LOMR letter my neighbors had. She did, but she could not find a document that specifically mentioned my address. She filed a request for me and put a rush on it.

Within HOURS, someone from the company called me. He went through the hard-copy archives and found the FEMA LOMR letter written for my property in 1994. The document my bank said that FEMA said did not exist.

“It’s a public record,” he said. “Do you want a copy?”

“HELL yeah!”

I sent it to the executive VP.

So, yeah. My bank was perfectly willing to make this “platinum member” pay $3,500 for flood insurance I did not need. But that fee to send the check? Well, they wouldn’t make me pay that. So what’s that “platinum” membership worth?

Oh, about three bucks.

Dear Sunshine Savings Bank,

As a credit union, you were O-U-T-S-T-A-N-D-I-N-G. That’s why I was with you for so long.

As a bank? You suck.

Sincerely,

Me

And, oh yeah. I’ll be calling you soon to request the title on my car so I can get license plates here. I’m sure as a “platinum member,” I won’t be trusted to put my hands on it and take it to the courthouse because, you know, we platinum members are a shifty bunch. But, hey, at least you won’t charge me for the stamp to send it to the courthouse. Right?

Update 9/4: Wow. I’m not even allowed to request that my title be sent. Oh, no. The county office had to write a letter to my bank, explaining that I moved (please stop pretending as if you don’t already know that) and that I would need to register my car in a new state. Hmph.

You still suck.

Posted by Becky @ 11:48 am | 2 Comments  

Books: Rumors of our Progress have been Greatly Exaggerated by Carolyn B. Maloney

August 7, 2008 | Advertising,Books,Breast cancer,Colbert Report,Colin Powell,Economics,Ethics,Family,Health,Media,Movies,MSM,Music,Parenting,Pink,Politics,PR,Race,Research,SLBTM,Statistics,Television,U.S. government,Verizon,Work,Working Mother

I just finished reading Rumors of our Progress have been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women’s Lives Aren’t Getting any Easier and How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters by Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. I received a review copy from the publisher, Modern Times, an imprint of Rodale, Inc.

As I was getting ready to write something about the book, I ran across Maloney’s July 29, 2008, appearance on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. At first, I thought I would just include it with other links, but the more I thought about it, the more it bothered me.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Better Know a District – New York’s 14th – Carolyn Maloney
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

Is it really funny that women get fired for lactating?

Here’s a quote from Maloney’s book.

I also heard numerous stories about difficulties in the workplace, including one woman whose male colleagues mooed outside the door as she expressed milk to take home and another woman being banished to do so in her car across the street from her office.

I didn’t laugh once while reading her book, but maybe I missed something. Exactly which issue that she wrote about was funny? Rape? Domestic violence? Burkas? Breast cancer? Or maybe prostitution? That link goes to a 2007 feature in Prism magazine, which Maloney reprinted on page 246 of her book and said it made the strongest case against sex trafficking she had ever seen.

Depictions of prostitution in the media and popular culture (including the movie Pretty Woman) can be grossly misleading, even glamorous. In fact, street prostitutes are typically trafficked, exploited, battered, and often force-fed drugs by slavemaster pimps. This series of mugshots of street prostitutes, which documents their first arrest to their eighth, illustrates the reality of life on the street, which more closely resembles a descent into hell than a Hollywood movie.

Is that funny? If not, I’m confused about why one of the first places she went to discuss her book was Comedy Central.

The blurbs on the back of her book are written by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Pat Schroeder, Ellie Smeal and Arianna Huffington. (Geraldine Ferraro was also included in the online “praise” section for the book.) Were they slapping their knees and giggling at the sight of Colbert using a breast pump while Maloney smiled and kept her cool? If not, does that mean they just can’t take a joke?

I’ve written about the blurred lines between celebrity and politics. It’s as if something has shifted. Instead of looking back as former government officials (elected or not), they now have to prove they don’t take themselves too seriously while they’re in office, no matter how “serious” the positions they hold. They have to prove that they get the joke. Hey, they’re even in on the joke because so many things that happen in Washington are, well, a joke. Is that it?

Maybe I just don’t get the whole Inside the Beltway atmosphere. Is it really just a non-stop college kegger where everyone has to hit the beer bong and slam shots until they puke their guts out to prove they can keep up?

Sigh.

Maloney’s book is a fairly comprehensive list of women’s issues — what’s been done, what’s been undone and what still needs to be done. For those who regularly keep up on these issues, not much of the information is new, but it’s interesting to read about the issues from Maloney’s perspective as a policymaker.

She put a “take-action guide” at the end of each chapter, providing contact information for some of the groups and organizations working on specific issues. Her goal is to convince readers to do something, anything: “I hope to persuade you that any action in support of your beliefs matters, whether it is large or small, brief or time-consuming, successful or unsuccessful.”

She included women’s personal stories as well as her own story and a wealth of information from other sources.

She draws upon the work of Martha Burk (Cult of Power: Sex Discrimination in Corporate America and What Can Be Done About It), Ann Crittenden (The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued), Jody Heymann (The Work, Family, and Equity Index: Where Does the United States Stand Globally?), MomsRising (The Motherhood Manifesto: What America’s Moms Want – and What To Do About It), Evelyn Murphy and E.J. Graff (Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men–And What to Do About It), Joan Williams (Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It), Marie Wilson (Closing the Leadership Gap: Add Women, Change Everything), among many others.

She also included some of her own research and highlighted inconsistencies between cultural myth and everyday reality.

Maloney mentioned Morgan Stanley, which settled a class-action sex-discrimination case for $54 million and then another one for $46 million, yet it consistently appears on Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers list, a topic I have written about many times.

You might think that Morgan Stanley would work especially hard to eradicate sex discrimination after so costly [$54 million] an episode. But the firm settled another class action sex discrimination suit in 2007 for $46 million — bringing its overall sex discrimination price tag to an even $100 million. That sounds like a lot, but it only amounts to a few good days of trading.

Despite these incidents, Morgan Stanley has been cited numerous times by Working Mother magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers. That makes me wonder how bad things are at other companies.

While she pointed out the inconsistency of the companies that appear in Working Mother with their employment track record, she listed in the take-action guide the National Association for Female Executives, which might be a perfectly fine organization. But it falls under the umbrella of Working Mother Media, which publishes Working Mother magazine, whose 100 Best list is — well, let’s just say I’m highly skeptical of the whole thing.

She also gave this example.

If you drive your Mitsubishi to the airport after filling its tank at Sunoco, board a Boeing-built plane for a United Airlines flight, use your Verizon cell phone service to call your spouse before you take off, and then bite into a Krispy Kreme doughnut, you’ve just enriched six household-name companies that have settled or lost sex discrimination cases and lawsuits in recent years.

Right. At least one of those companies — Verizon — makes Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers list year after year.

In the take-action guide at the end of the “Health Care That’s Always There” chapter, she recommended (among others) Dove’s Campain for Real Beauty as a way to “start health education early by teaching our young and teenaged girls about issues that affect them.” If you scratch the surface of Dove, you’ll find a wee bit of image manipulation of its own.

Unilever is the maker of Dove products (and major “research” funder), which are the basis for the Campaign for Real Beauty and its self-esteem education for young girls. Unilever also makes and markets Axe products, which exist in a parallel universe where the V.I.X.E.N.S. (Very Interactive Xtremely Entertaining Naughty Supermodels) and Bom Chicka Wah Wahs don’t have “real beauty” or self-esteem issues.

In “The Pretty Woman Myth” chapter, Maloney wrote about misleading portrayals of prostitution in popular culture and mentioned that the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006 went to ‘It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,'” whose lyrics include:

Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too
You pay the right price and they’ll both do you
That’s the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin
Gotta have my hustle tight, makin change off these women, yeah

I remember when that happened, thinking, what?!? There was George Clooney, smugly patting himself on the back for Hollywood being “out of touch” for “giving Hattie McDaniel an Oscar when blacks were still sitting in the backs of theaters.” That was in 1939. Just how long was it, dear George, until the next black person was so honored? That would be 1948, then 1964, then 1982, then 2002. And just how far has Hollywood come, George, by glorifying “the black man” … as a pimp, not to mention portraying women of all colors as simply a venue for making money? Hollywood’s out of touch, George. Ya think?

Which brings me back around to the Comedy Central appearance.

If it’s a matter of reaching a younger audience? C’mon, they deserve more credit than that. It’s not only “the kids” watching Comedy Central, and “the younger audience” is watching much more than just Comedy Central. And there are tons of young, vibrant, intelligent voices on the Internet. Dust off the mouse and start clicking.

Besides, there’s not a damn thing that’s funny about this book. Just like the issues Maloney discusses in the book — the media and popular-culture myths that harm the efforts to improve the lives of real people — Maloney’s Comedy Central appearance did nothing but belittle and mock some very serious societal issues. The people behind the stories about sex discrimination, prostitution and unacceptably high infant-mortality rates (to name just a few) deserve much more than to become the butt of a comedian’s joke.

Related posts
Politics: All the world’s a stage
Colin Powell goes from class act to class clown
Rumors of housekeeping have been greatly exaggerated*
Categories: Working Mother
Know your Working Mother press releases
What Working Mother magazine won’t tell you, part 1
Will you let Working Mother magazine speak for you?
What Working Mother magazine won’t tell you: Abbott
Psst! Scientists prove girls prefer pink! Pass it on!
SLBTM: Unilever/Dove’s ‘real beauty’***

Posted by Becky @ 4:10 pm | 18 Comments  

Politics: The Telephone Game

February 25, 2008 | 2008 campaign,Barack Obama,Blogging,Ethics,Hillary Clinton,Journalism,Media,MSM,Politics

whisper.jpg

CityMama at the MOMocrats accused Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., of leaking a photograph of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., wearing a turban. Where did CityMama get her information?

CNN’s Political Ticker.

Where did CNN get its information?

The Drudge Report. (CNN editors: “No need for fact-checking. Get this published now!”)

Where did Drudge get his information?

An e-mail sent by “stressed Clinton staffers” “obtained by the Drudge Report.”

Really? Hmm.

I found the picture published by HAN-Geeska Afrika Online in September 2006. Anyone with a mouse and five minutes could have found it. It’s already been “circulated.”

Posted by Becky @ 11:26 pm | 4 Comments  

But the emporer has nothing on at all!

January 23, 2008 | Advertising,Airlines,Customer service,Economics,Ethics,No clothes!,Norway,PR

emperor.jpg

I was discussing the Gates of Hell chapter of the Nightmare in Norway with someone the other night.

“I would have said, ‘I want to speak to your boss, and your boss’s boss and your boss’s boss’s boss, NOW’ … you know … go up the chain of command,” he said.

Chain of command. Yeah, the military does that to a person, I guess. Maybe that works in that world.

But, really, how much latitude does a customer-bot (we’re not human beings anymore) have in an airport before going from concerned about service to a security threat? I mean, how many times could I have told Haris, “I want to speak to your boss,” before he felt “threatened” by me and sent me spiraling into the Circles of Hell to, you know … stun guns, shackles, detention, jail … that sorta thing? I mean … really?

Besides, who’s to say Haris the employee-bot (they’re not human beings anymore either) wouldn’t have just said, “No.”

Then what?

It’s happened before. I called a “customer service” line to ask for, well, customer service. (Oh, silly me.) When I got nowhere with the employee-bot, I asked to speak to his supervisor. He put me on hold. He came back and told me his supervisor refused to speak to me.

Refused to speak to me.

I asked for the name of the president of the company. He said he didn’t know. “Well, could you check?” I asked. He put me on hold again. He came back and said, “It’s against company policy to give you that information.”

It was against company policy to tell me who runs the company.

He was right. I couldn’t find the president’s name anywhere on the company Web site. In fact, three companies were involved, and none of their contact information was available through any of the companies. I had to look them up by other means. But, hey, I found them. (I need to write a love letter to the Internet.) I sent an e-mail to all of them and the customer-service department. To their credit, they actually resolved my problem. Very satisfactorily, even.

Apparently, though, it’s become standard operating procedure that employee-bots (and their CEOs) do not work for customer-bots — even if they are in the service industry. Hell, employee-bots don’t even work for their CEOs anymore. They work for the computer screens in front of them. They can only do what their computers tell them to do, which — when it comes to customer-bots — usually isn’t much.

I suppose PR bullshit goes way back, and none of this is new. Am I the only one who can remember things like “the customer is always right” … or was that just PR bullshit too? I couldn’t help thinking about The Emporer’s New Clothes, which I recently grabbed off the shelf for my son. (I got the Virginia Lee Burton pictures from a 1968 version of the book by Scholastic Book Services.)

You call your employees co-workers and expect them (and us) to believe it?

No clothes!

emperor3.jpg

You say you “work hard to earn my business every time I fly”?

No clothes!

emperor3.jpg

You say, “They’ll hold the plane for you”?

No clothes!

emperor3.jpg

You say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do”?

No clothes!

emperor3.jpg

It’s not like I’ve never gotten good customer service. I got incredible service yesterday, in fact. More than once. (I’ll write about it one of these days.) But when I get excellent or good or, heck, even fair-to-middling customer service, isn’t it a shame that it makes me want to weep with joy? Why should it be the exception and not the rule?

I ran across a few examples of suckass non-service just skimming through my feeder this morning. Matthew at Childs Play x2 warns his readers not to shop at Home Decorators. Planet Nomad writes about inexplicable weirdness at Starbucks. CrankMama has a few choice words to say about Verizon. Updated: I just found this priceless exchange on Hotfessional. Updated2: Wow. They just keep coming. Karen at A Deaf Mom Shares Her World was denied service at Steak ‘n Shake.

What’s your suckiest non-service experience? Who deserves the “No clothes!” seal of disapproval?

Posted by Becky @ 7:54 pm | 3 Comments  

Gentlemanly Conduct

January 2, 2008 | Daddy bloggers,Ethics,Family,Guest blogger,Guest post,Opinion,Parenting,Politics,Quotes

(Guest Post by Todd, The Bullshit Observer. How I know Becky: I’m just another blog-mirer.) New Years day, My 5 year old and I took a break from watching college football to play wiffle baseball in the back yard. At one point he had a little tantrum and threw his bat. As is my fatherly duty, I scolded him. “OK, not cool. You don’t throw your bat when you’re upset, Nick,” He picked up the bat and hit a few. Then he threw his bat again and I immediately barked, “Nick, that is unsportsman-like conduct,” somehow expecting him to know what that means.  “What does that mean?” he asked.  “It means that it’s….not cool….and….not how you are supposed to behave when you play baseball,” I said, somewhat feebly. “It’s not respectful of the game or your fellow players,” I added.  Then I thought, “Well, what the hell does that mean?”  Then I started thinking. Where has the idea of sportsmanlike conduct gone anyway? I just watched at least a half-dozen college football players get busted for late hits, pushing opponents, and celebrating in their opponent’s face. That kind of behavior seemed normal. Even routine. Then it occurred to me that the ideal of gentlemanly conduct (which “Sportmenship” is based upon and which can be defined as acting with an acute sense of respect and propriety), is one that is in dire need of a revival.When I pledged a fraternity in college, the active members made us “poopies” (pledges) memorize a poem by John Walter Waylen entitled, “The True Gentelman.” It goes like this: 

The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety, and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others, rather than his own; and who appears well in any company, a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.     

The idea of this passage was clearly too good for the fellows that made me memorize it in the back of a station-wagon at 80 miles per hour with a hood over my head and then recite it while a match burned down to the tips of my fingers. Oh precious irony. Oh precious Neosporin.  As we hop back into our lives this January 2nd, let us take a moment to absorb this ideal. Ladies too, for this is surely a gender generic idea with a gender specific name. Unlikely though it may seem, especially during an election cycle, it is possible for this true gentleman/gentlewoman ideal to make a comeback. Let us resolve ourselves to expect nothing less that this. Because if we start expecting dirty, underhanded behavior from those around us, above us or in the spotlight, then we will have accepted it and we will have succumbed to it and then the new ideal will more closely resemble Machiavelli’s The Prince. In a sense, that’s really what this blog, Deep Muck Big Rake, is all about. Isn’t it?

Posted by Todd @ 2:43 pm | 3 Comments  


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