Nick Hornby on “How to Read” applies to politics
August 26, 2006, 7:20 pm
Filed under: candidates/campaigns/elections, marketing, writing/language

Nick Hornby had a piece in the London Telegraph that displays compassion about readers who just can’t get through the latest biography of an early 20th century figure– and he’s right. Slogging through is overrated. The peice also held this nugget:

“If reading books is to survive as a leisure activity – and there are statistics that show that this is by no means assured – then we have to promote the joys of reading, rather than the (dubious) benefits.

“I would never attempt to dissuade anyone from reading a book. But please, if you’re reading a book that’s killing you, put it down and read something else, just as you would reach for the remote if you weren’t enjoying a television programme…”

So many political practitioners are, frankly, humorless grinds– who are willing to do anything ANYTHING to win. That intensity obliterates their humanity, and renders them ill-suited to use humor and emotion to make their legitimate points. “Benefits” based appeals aren’t always enough to put you over the top.


Subtext in communications
August 9, 2006, 6:55 pm
Filed under: candidates/campaigns/elections, marketing, writing/language

Subtext exists in all media– but here’s a great description of exactly how much can be communicated “between the lines” even if the “lines” are just the beeps of a telegraph operator. (thanks to

Further proof, if any was needed, that it’s not just what you say, but how you say it, that communicates your point of view.

Especially important for first-time candidates to understand: don’t write off any element of your voter-contact media– as “just” a mailer, or “just” what the TV says. Everything the voter receives allows a voter to judge you. Mail out a grungy attack, and be judged as grungy. Put up a feel-good, contentless TV ad, and be prepared when someone else’s is more substantive, relevant, and thus more powerful.

To quote ad pro David Ogilvy (a long time ago): “The consumer is not an idiot; she is your wife.”

Kinky Friedman for TX Governor slogan: “How hard could it be?”
July 31, 2006, 12:35 am
Filed under: candidates/campaigns/elections, writing/language

WaPo profiles him here.

Soda or pop?
July 31, 2006, 12:26 am
Filed under: writing/language

I’m late to this, natch, but I love it anyway.

Words that have no name.
July 30, 2006, 6:20 pm
Filed under: writing/language

I love this.