Suing Seinfeld

When it comes to defamation lawsuits, there would be no better unofficial capital for them than Hollywood, California. Perhaps it’s the money, or the hundreds of celebrities, or maybe just a little too much sun, but the reality is that Hollywood has been the point of origin for almost every famous defamation case of the past century. A great example of one such case would be a recent one involving a plaintiff Missy Chase Lapine, who claimed her cookbook was plagiarized by Jessica Seinfeld, wife of Jerry Seinfeld, and that Jerry Seinfeld proceeded to defame her on national television on The Tonight Show with David Letterman when he allegedly suggested Ms. Lapine’s insanity.

            As a disclaimer; the case remains undecided to this point. However, if one were to judge by nothing but the words said by Mr. Seinfeld to Mr. Letterman, then this would be an open and shut case of defamation on the part of Mr. Seinfeld. Why then, are people calling this suit ridiculous? Well, it all comes back to perception. You see, if a random person makes statements to another random person about the insanity of a third party, while that party is, in fact, not insane, then you have a clear cut case of libel. However, it is Mr. Seinfeld’s job to make jokes, or, to put it in better lines with interpreting it through law, it is Mr. Seinfeld’s job to be joking in most everything he says in public. With this key detail taken into account, it becomes very clear that this man did not actually intend for the public to take his assertions of Ms. Lapine’s insanity as a legitimate warning of the dangers she might hypothetically pose, but rather, they were to laugh at the joke he made pertaining, in this case, to his legal adversary’s “insanity.”

            This entire debate comes down, ultimately, to Mr. Seinfeld’s first amendment rights as an American citizen. While he might be a comedian with a great deal of public spotlight, he is a comedian nonetheless, and that should be the first thing taken into account when reviewing his public statements. Include with that the fact that every American has the right to make jesting comments about whosoever they may please, to whichever audience they so choose, and the reality of this situation becomes painfully clear to a judge and jury: Mr. Seinfeld did claim Ms. Lapine to be insane, however he did so as a man who tells jokes for a living telling a joke, not as a man who diagnoses people’s sanity diagnosing an individuals sanity. Because of this, Ms. Lapine’s allegations of defamation should be dismissed. 


BP:We’re Sorry

When it comes to negatively viewed companies, no one in the world can say their image has taken a beating as hard over the past few years as BP Oil, the company responsible for the infamous 2010 Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon Oil spill. As far as public image goes, their CEO would have to kick a puppy on camera to make them any more hated. Actually, it might have to be a few puppies, because according to many 2010 surveys, BP Oil was the most hated corporation in the world. And for it being only a year and a half after Lehman Brothers crashed and Wall Street executives were staying rich while many Americans lost everything, that’s really saying something. One need only examine this article: to get the picture.

            To combat this as a public relations firm, I would tell BP I need three things; money, time, and more money. What would I do with them? Well it’s a pretty simple idea in general, and it would be far more complicated on the large scale, but theoretically, it could work.  I would start by pumping money into clean up efforts and charities. More than the government told them to, or a sensible man would require, but truly charitable work to show BP’s acknowledgment of their wrongdoing and sincere repentance. Next, I would look into developing green energy initiatives, like solar, wind, geothermal, and biofuel based energies, and making them an integral part of BP’s Gulf operations.  This would employ thousands of people in the region, many of whom BP destroyed the livelihood of in the first place. The public relations campaign would simply be an en masse distribution of commercials, internet clips, and print advertisements explaining BP’s ultimate goal and their current status and rate of progress throughout the region.

            While this campaign would take a while to sink in around the gulf region, it would conform to all PRSA guidelines for proper ethics, and for people to see this coming from a corporation that is all too well known for its deceit and negativity, will cause at least some positive affect in terms of public image. BP would simply have to stay the course throughout the entire process, sticking to the PRSA’s first point in ethical practice, to protect and advance the free flow off accurate information, through their campaign. Eventually, if BP, or any other person/company of ill-repute, stuck to this concept and these principles, they would ultimately win over the public favor once more, thus rendering their PR campaign an overwhelming success 

Farm Love

For my multimedia ad campaign post, I’ve found what can only be described as a real gem. And that gem is ,a dating site devoted completely to, you guessed it, farmer-to-farmer social connections and dating. FarmersOnly(FO) is a U.S. and Canada based farmer dating website, and I happened to come upon its advertisements for the first time on Maryland’s eastern shore, in the Easton Star-Democrat, a local newspaper. 

            FO, quite frankly, is brilliant. It appeals to a virtually untapped market in most forms of modern advertising media, and offers them a service that, to my knowledge, is of interest in one way, shape, or form to everyone on this planet. However this is only half the brilliance, the latter part comes in their total advertisement package.  While they make use of the internet, the typically least farmer-friendly place in the world, to market their product, they built trust amongst their target clientele through ways considered more traditional and better accepted to many people in more rural, farm based areas. Medium such as the local newspaper, and commercials on the evening news solidify what appears initially to be a very shaky concept amongst the target audience. In addition to the timing and placement of the advertisements, the advertisements themselves are quite appealing as well. Ranging from their informative tv spots, to simple internet banners, to half page spreads in rural newspapers, the ads all focus around a simple and easy to interpret message. They all, in some way shape or form, show a lonely female farmer walking through a harvested cornfield, and a lonely male farmer baling hay. These two simple features highlight one simple message for the service: if you’re a farmer, and you’re lonely, we can help. All these ads are followed with the tell all tagline of “because city folks just don’t get it” and this nails the coffin shut on their advertisements, saying that even if you’re among the rare sector of farmers who has tried online dating, we realize that you’re probably not looking for a hedge-fund manager or taxi driver, but someone to plow the fields with.

            In terms of reaching and sticking with their target demographic and psychographic, FO hit the sweet spot. Perfect timing, proper content, and pure brilliant ingenuity all came together to form a perfect business for these entrepreneurs. Simply put, while kids in the urban regions of a cable company’s area of general provision might get a laugh at what they think to be a late night commercial about a farmers dating site at four thirty in the morning, quite some distance away, there’s a strategically targeted farmer who is actually just waking up for work and watching the morning weather forecasts, while checking the local morning news paper, and both of those are telling him to get to a computer and sign up to find a girl to eat breakfast with in the morning. He signs up and finds a girl, the people at FO make a killing, and the kids from the city suddenly stop laughing at what they think is stupidity and start admiring what they realize to be a great idea.


Fallen Angels

A book that has greatly affected me over the course of my life is Walter Dean Myer’s Fallen Angels Simply put, this book was a major influence over my thought process and morality ever since I read it.

My fascination with the work began with my introduction to it in seventh grade by my school librarian. My middle school had put in place an initiative to get more kids reading in the school, specifically targeting students who preferred the sports field to the classroom. Fitting the bill perfectly, my school librarian, who is coincidentally now an acquaintance of mine, decided that she would try to find some books that I might like. Trolling for hints, she quickly discovered that I didn’t read mostly due to the fact that the stories we covered in class were quite droll, and largely unappealing. Knowing that I had a particular preoccupation with physicality in sports like football, lacrosse, and others, she gave me books about those topics. And they were boring. Then she gave me books about the men who played them. And they were, mostly, boring. During the final week of school before Christmas break however, she pulled me aside and informed me that rather than try a book about kids, sports, and the athletes they grew up to be, she was going to give a book about kids who loved the same things I do, but instead of growing up in a mostly privileged community and getting to go to college; they got drafted into the Vietnam War.

I was hooked. I occasionally took interest in Sports Illustrated articles, but this was a whole new level of fascination. I couldn’t put it down. Thirty pages, eighty pages, one hundred eighty pages, and just like that, I was done with it the following afternoon. Why so quick a read from the uninterested jock? Well the plain and simple of it was this; Myer’s had managed, through his excellent narrative and plot structuring skills, to place me perfectly in the shoes of a fictitious character who was incredibly similar to me, while at the same time, being a world apart in terms of differences between us. The book follows Richie Perry, a black teenager who just graduated from high school in Harlem. Richie and I are quite alike; he likes sports, music, his brother, and he has a particular distaste for schoolwork. Richie and I are quite different; he grew up a black kid in Harlem in the late sixties, and suffered the repercussions of that. I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, went to private school, etc., and reaped the benefits. It is this dichotomy that makes the novel so interesting. Basically, I read it as if I hadn’t been born so fortunate, and this was what my experience of war would have been like.

And that made it certifiably terrifying. Myer’s crafted the novel perfectly, blending first person horror with the deep pondering of the events that followed. To summarize: death, drugs, and the questioning of right and wrong can make for the most psychologically torturous experience one can imagine. So terrifying, in fact, that merely reading it has burned imagined images of Vietnam into my mind.

Fallen Angels changed my ideas about life. I used to like violent video games; I don’t now. I used to be big fan of army movies for violence, and hated the talking; now it’s the opposite. Perhaps most importantly though, I have a greater respect for life and the human condition. I don’t think of Afghan or Iraqi insurgents simply as terrorists; I see them as kids my age who are just as terrified and opposed to their conflict resolution methods as the American kids my age that their fighting. The book made me love war literature, and I now dissect characters’ statements and relationships in far deeper detail, and I find that makes for a much more enjoyable literary experience across the board.