Eli's Observations

Month: July, 2012

It Isn’t JUST Semantics

In the late 1940s, only a few Americans were talking about a slim book called “Language in Action,” written by a little-known Japanese-American professor named S.I. Hayakawa. Behind the book’s innocuous title was a revolutionary idea: language describing any action could actually shape that action and its effects. Now, we casually refer to this effect as semantics. If you add pictures, you have advertising. Or, rather, it has you.

Businesses had already realized that semantics could sell products on radio, products that were not necessarily good or good for you. Lifebuoy soap could conquer B.O. (body odor.) From there, it was just a step to television ads and a visual vocabulary coming together. “You get a lot to like from a Marlboro.” One more jump and we were in politics, seeing through a new semantic prism.

Candidates no longer proclaim stiffly from a podium or the largest tree stump available. (Hence, the phrase stump speech.) Any candidate worth a few bucks was presented to us surrounded by a photogenic family or perhaps perched on a tractor or a pick-up truck. What did that have to do with the issues? Nothing. “Debates” had become TV auditions. Had Nixon lost to JFK in 1960 because he perspired and had a “five o’clock shadow?” And today, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has been criticized gingerly as perhaps being too ugly to be presidential material. What would they have thought of Abe Lincoln?

Patent Medicine salesmen had long ago learned that really wild exaggerations worked better than any other kind. Doans little liver pills had nothing to do with one’s liver and probably was just another in a long line of placebos that catch on.

An example of a modern-day placebo is “weapons of mass destruction” that made us feel better about 9/11 by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Cheney’s bitter little pill of the Iraq invasion. We are only now realizing that this massive con-job convinced this country that they could be the world’s sheriff without even paying the bills.

In this election year, we’re being asked to buy a “job-creator” president, while his own political party tells us that government can’t create jobs. Even after Wall Street bankers brought us a massive financial failure, the snake oil salesmen tell us we need to elect a businessman!

Draft-allergic Cheney and John “Boots on the Ground” McCain urge us to trust them on foreign policy because President Obama is too weak! Their credentials include a useless war and a huge deficit. McCain also wanted us to buy a cute, sassy vice president who it turns out can’t read a newspaper without moving her lips.

Fortunately, none of the three above became president but they always have a new brand of snake oil on sale. This one is called “Romney’s Magic Economic Elixir.” Don’t buy it, folks. It won’t cure anything!



(A recent report came to Eli’s Observations from a conservative think tank. We thought it worth your attention.)

In the midst of all these depressing stories by the left-leaning Harvard economists about the failing U.S. economy, our Super Pac (Americans for Truth, Liberty, Vanilla Fudge, and Military Excess) is offering some good economic news with new employment areas due to continue to grow in the future.

Domestic Servants. Our unjustly vilified billionaires are busy creating a fast-growing market for butlers, chauffeurs, and gardeners as well as dog walkers and security guards. Please see our (USA Serves You Right) website.

Toxic waste disposal workers are clearly in demand. With the end of federal red tape and burdensome safety regulations, we expect to see a surge in workers who deal with ground and water pollution and unwanted radiation. Another new niche job category will be MMM specialists: Massive Mess Managers. Keep an eye on stock offerings from these companies especially American Spills Unlimited. Stock prices on these should triple.

Certain SSG (Socialist Second-Guessers) claim that we’re just shifting jobs around, firing cops, teachers and firemen, while inflating our job figures with gains in low-paying jobs such as prison guards and TFA’s (Toilet Facility Attendants) and, of course, our nation’s ditch-diggers. Attempts to smear such honest and socially useful work are shameful!

Social Rehab Workers are all in for big increases. Many of our prisons are woefully understaffed, creating unsafe conditions for prisoners who work on such tasks as making license plates for outside contractors.

Two and Three Wheeled Transporters. Pedicabs and Rickshaws will be a potential win-win addition to our major cities, decreasing traffic congestion, air pollution, and traffic accidents. Unfortunately, most of these vehicles will be produced in Pakistan. But the muscle to move them is all good American muscle.

Another enormous side benefit of this transportation boom will be healthy exercise for many of our out of shape young men, especially our deserving veterans back from overseas.

Border Expansion. The success of our fences between the US and Mexico have proved their economic value. By adding another 72 miles at the US/Canadian border and 150 miles around our vulnerable Florida coastline, American companies will create pick-and-shovel jobs.

This solves the vexing problem of what to do with illegal immigrants once the agricultural season ends. And let us remember the wise words of our revered national poet Jack Frost: “Good fences make good neighbors.”

One last encouraging thought: many iconic American companies are coming back to the US. For example, York Peppermint Patties are considering returning their manufacturing plant to York, Pa. See what can happen when US wages become comparable with those of Mexico and Bangladesh?

For more great stories about our economic future, be sure to call “Job Creators R Us,” our phone answering service (located in India.) So speak slowly and distinctly please.

Campaign Buzz

Last night I met a man from Bain. 

Who said he wasn’t there.

Today I saw him there again — 

He’s getting to be quite a pain!

So, limericks aren’t my strong suit. But I’m getting really tired of serious discussions of the Invisible Man (Romney) and whether he did or did not personally throw widows and orphans out into the snow. (Bear in mind that corporations are people too!)

I’m much more interested in what he claims would qualify him to be president. We scraped together a rough compilation of bits and pieces of what Wilbur seems to be saying. (You’re allowed to skip over the sound effects.) Here’s a sample:

Squawk — bist — zak — please stand by — squawk — having technical — spfft — bsst — Obamacare — bzz — more tax cuts — squawkspt — job creators — bzz — red tape — know how to create jobs — zzz — big govern — bzz — cut Planned Parent — splat — sst — self-deport illegals — zzt — tax cuts — pst — red tape and burdensome regulations — mfft — tax cuts — ack — Rombamacare — fft –I’ve made a lot of money — buzz –– stay in Iraq — crackle — off-shoring — awk — deaf, dumb and blind trust — bzzz — Obama’s failed policy — bzzz — really like firing people — pfft — pop — Deerfield Academy — squawk — sft — Muffy, Dickie and Bunny — Swiss bank accounts — bzz — Robamamamacare — zzz — we will block all action — ffft — job-killing taxes — cluck clack — Cheney fundraiser — tax returns — stay in Afghan — zz — pow — more tax cuts — repeal Roe Versus — zack — no more of my tax returns — zz — ownership society — ssstincrease defense funding — cut deficit — zzzt –Cayman Islands — bft bft — God Bless America — fap — ssst — please forgive the inter — splat —

I think that clears things up pretty well. Mitt Romney is an ex-Governor, ex-corporate take-over artist, ex-missionary, ex-moderate, and he runs for office a lot. Oh, and he wants us to know he’s definitely not Obama!

Hiding In Plain Sight

Anyone who watches a few police dramas knows the expression ‘hiding in plain sight.’ It’s a little like blending in. If you saw a crowd of, say, postal workers, all in uniform and a fugitive in the same uniform was among them, no one would see him. Mitt Romney is doing a reverse: we see him campaigning but we don’t see or hear his campaign.

It’s easy for the Mittster to stand out at a campaign rally: usually in a white shirt, smiling and grimacing wildly. But when he leaves, nobody can remember what he said or why he came. That’s exactly what our own mini-Mitterand wants: ‘don’t judge me by what I’ve said or done, but what I say I’m going to do.’

“Did he say he was for Obamacare,” asked a man in a send back Barack t-shirt! “Or is he against it?”

“I thought he said he was against Romneycare … ”

Things Mitt says he’ll do reflect the grandiosity and fake machismo Republicans have all embraced lately. Romney will cut the federal deficit while increasing defense spending by 50%! He’ll also tell the Chinese to stop manipulating their currency! Oh, can’t you see Chinese leaders quaking in their boots when President Mitt issues that demand?

Looking back, we probably owe Newt Gingrich an apology. When he described the executive order the President Gingrich would issue on Day One and so on, repealing the law of gravity, outlawing global warming and choosing the drapes for the Oval Office, we laughed. “Presumably, on the seventh day, He would have rested.”

We all assumed Newt was a nut but now we realize he’s just a Republican, with the usual delusions. Not so with Romney. He knows who calls the shots: billionaires like the Koch Brothers. Mitt’s goal is to tip-toe past the sleeping middle class, while throwing just enough raw meat to the GOP base to keep them frothing at the mouth against Obama.

Will Romney’s non-campaign work? It shouldn’t, unless voters are too busy watching Spike TV and The Bachelorette. (Doesn’t that word sound like a tiny apartment with a built-in microwave and a fridge?) The apathetic, uninformed voter often decides elections and that sliver will be bombarded with misleading ads courtesy of Karl Rove and his billionaire buddies. This election may be the first to put a dollar figure on a vote. No matter what, the Koch brothers still think it’s a steal. They end up with The White House.