Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bret Stephens is one Smart Fella

So, someone wants to build a mosque in Lower Manhattan.  Offensive?  Yes.  Must we defend someone's right to freedom of religious expression?  Yes. 

But there are limits, especially when past performance should be indicative of future results.

Read the following from Bret Stephens.

This is why Israel will always Lose the PR Battle

You may have read reports of the former Israeli soldier who posted photos of herself sitting next to blindfolded and handcuffed Arab prisoners.  Like the "dancing soldiers" video, popular a couple of months ago, the photos are in bad taste, at the least, destructive at worst.  (I'm not providing links to these images because I do not want to do my part in perpetuating them.)

What's the big deal?  It's simple, really.  A picture, it is said, is worth one thousand words.  And with every juvenile posting propagated by Israeli progeny, the case for Israel's defense becomes increasingly problematic.

As a kid I was taught that I represent all Jews.  When I litter, someone will say, "Look at that Jewish kid littering," and NOT, "Look at Alan littering."  It's exactly the same thing with young Israelis.  They have an obligation to think ahead 10 steps to the possible reputational repercussions of their actions.  Adding insult to stupidity, is that Israeli soldiers - who are as technologically advanced as anyone - think that by posting such material on the Internet, it wouldn't spread like wildfire across the Globe.

So, this is why Israeli will forever be playing catch-up and defense against itself: Israelis across the board need to understand they play a crucial role in their country's - and people's - reputations.  It isn't only an issue to be managed by elected officials and "someone else."  Every single citizen must take responsibility and behave accordingly.

Public relations, as I am fond of saying, is about what you do and NOT what you say.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Dome

My wife bought me a great present a couple of weeks ago: The Dome, by Stephen King.  He is a master storyteller with a brain that should be studied.

I haven't been able to put the book down, though it weighs in at 6.17 lbs (1,074 pages, soft cover - much like that all-in-one Lord of the Rings tomb my son is working through). As of page 812, the story, in a nutshell, is Lord of the Flies-like.  People get stuck in a New England town and, in a matter of days, all hell breaks loose.  Riots.  Murder.  Suicide.  All good King fare.

But what does this have to do with  my usual topic of pontification?

I wonder, inexplicable/supernatural events notwithstanding, how accurate is King's narrative?  Very, I would venture.  Psychological experiments have shown it again and again.  Here, we have a small town where everyone knows just about everyone.  Yet, at the drop of a hat, teams coalesce and it quickly becomes "us versus them."

It's amazing how innate it is to find someone to blame for a problem rather than focusing on a solution.  We see this all the time when it comes to emergencies and crisis situations.  First response by most people is to say, "It's not my fault!"  Preschoolers to Fortune 500 CEOs do it.

Here's my thought for the day: in a crisis situation, focus on solving the problem, not laying blame.  Your constituents won't necessarily remember who caused the problem (unless perhaps you pour a bazillion gallons of crude oil on them), but they're likely to praise and forever remember who solved it.