Pearl's Paradise

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled teams yearning to breath free…"

July 29, 2010
by Steve Pearl
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Where There’s Smoke, It Might Just Be A Smoke Machine – Part II

(Editor's Note: This is Part II of a multi-part series offering a new take on the age old question, “Who do you trust?”  When selfish motives often lurk in the shadows, how can you really know whether spoon-fed “truth” is really “the whole truth and nothing but the truth”?”)

Just the Spin-Free Facts, Ma'am.

Selective truth telling – “spin” – masquerades as trustworthy “fact” with alarming frequency these days.  We see it in White House press briefings, from Republican and Democratic administrations alike.  We see it in those BP oil spill briefings which virtually nobody takes seriously.  We see it in Wall Street financial reports when a company highlights its up-tick in earnings while downplaying the fact that it just laid off 1000 workers to reduce expenses.  We see it every day on C-Span as both sides of the political spectrum bash each other, pretending as if the very solvency of the Union is teetering on the brink of disaster if one ideological slant is not pursued to the exclusion of all others.

Carefully selected snippets of targeted facts and figures are used to bolster this position or that, making one person (or company, or special interest group) look really, really bad while another looks really, really good.  What is thoroughly messed up about all this spin-mongering is that honest, hard-working reporters, pressed by rampant cost-cutting and a general lowering of editorial standards, regurgitate hand-picked “spin” as if it is hard-edged fact.  This new editorial expedience means that people or organizations with narrowly-targeted agendas get away with monopolizing the thought cycle of the day, often to the detriment of exposing deeper, trickier truths that get swept under the rug.

So perhaps it’s the awareness that we increasingly tiptoe through a “spin-controlled” world that gives me a more jaded sensibility about what gets offered up as “truth” these days.

Click to continue reading “Where There’s Smoke, It Might Just Be A Smoke Machine – Part II”

July 28, 2010
by Steve Pearl
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Where There’s Smoke… It Might Just Be A Smoke Machine – Part I

(Editor's Note: This is Part I of a multi-part series offering a new take on the age old question, “Who do you trust?”  When selfish motives often lurk in the shadows, how can you really know whether spoon-fed “truth” is really “the whole truth and nothing but the truth”?”)

Help!  I'm Stuck in the “Spin” Cycle!

When you spend the bulk of your adult life working in and around the advertising industry, you tend to absorb a thing or two about the art of “spin.”  Call it effective product positioning, building a memorable brand identity, or whatever you wish.  Understanding your target audience and knowing how to leverage just the right communication mix to reach and motivate that target audience plays an enormous role in bumping up sales, salvaging a damaged reputation, destroying a competitor, or convincing people that eventual rewards outweigh short-term costs.

Or, as the old song goes…

“You gotta ac-cen-tuate the positive…  E-lim-inate the negative.”

Click to continue reading “Where There’s Smoke… It Might Just Be A Smoke Machine – Part I”

July 12, 2010
by Steve Pearl
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Two Little Words with the Power to Hurt or Heal

Matthew 18:21-22 (New International Version)

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"  22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.


Today we ponder the power of words. 

No, I'm not talking about great works of literature.  Even as we approach the 50th anniversary of the publication of Harper Lee's ground-breaking, "To Kill a Mockingbird," I thought it was time to get a little more elemental, to dig deeper into the underlying meaning and power of smaller, more discrete building blocks of language.

Today, we consider two, inconsequential, three-letter words and the ways in which their placement in a sentence can either destroy a shaky relationship or heal a longstanding rift.

Today, we consider the sublime importance of those tiny, building-block words "did" and "you."

Click to continue reading “Two Little Words with the Power to Hurt or Heal”

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