Randazza’s Morality Law Review: Mandatory MiD

What if I told you the United States Patent and Trademark Office has never  registered a trademark containing the word “fuck?”

Step back for a second and just look at the word “fuck.”  Say it.  Does it create a “shock or jolt of dismay” when you hear it or read it?  Why?

What emotions does “The Slants” evoke in your mind when you read it or see it?  Do you take offense to that?  What if I told you that was the name an Asian-American party band chose and summarily had their trademark ejected on the grounds “others might find it offensive?”

These questions are all prime for Mediation is Dead, and that’s why I’m declaring Marc Randazza’s latest law review article, “Freedom of Expression and Morality Based Impediments to the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights” Mandatory MiD Reading Material.

Randazza’s take on the need to jettison the “moral utility” doctrine with regards to trademarks and copyrights is a discussion worthy of merit, because intellectual property is a form of communication, and Mediation is Dead is about a discussion of effective communication. I wouldn’t normally review a law review article, nor would I say that the layperson should read one, but when you have a discussion about topics like “Screw You” “Nut Sack Double Brown Ale,” and whether pornography should get copyright protection, the public will find Randazza’s take both entertaining and educational.

Here are the big takeaways I got from Randazza’s view on injecting morality into trademarks and copyrights.

1. Morality is a circular definition, it changes with the times, and has no place when determining “soft intellectual property’s” worthiness of protection. 

What is morality? That’s the framework with which we need to begin.  It is “principles concerning the distinction of right or wrong or good and bad behavior.” This is fluid and changes constantly, no matter how uncomfortable some people may find it.

It’s a little easier to justify denying a patent for a device on “moral utility” grounds if it’s affecting the human condition. For example, if a device or  procedure cuts away at human dignity then we may reject government protection of its creator because its “moral bankruptcy” doesn’t show usefulness or benefit to society.

With “Soft IP,” such as trademarks and copyrights, it’s a little harder to justify giving a government agency control over whether the creator gets the protection of intellectual property based on notions of what is “moral.”

Let’s take a few examples from the United States.  We have a provision in our intellectual property code that denies trademarks (where protection attaches on registration) or copyrights (where protection attaches on creation) based on whether they are “shocking to the sense of truth, decency or propriety, disgraceful, offensive, disreputable, giving offense to conscience…” You get the point.

We have tended to throw out any notions of whether the “marketplace” or a “substantial component of the general public” would find the trademark or copyrighted work offensive.  “CUMFIESTA” got the trademark because the people consuming their content were searching for pornography, and that’s not a situation where the government should deny protection.  The same with “Madonna” wine or “Nut Sack Double Brown Ale.”  Alcohol consumers won’t particularly take offense to it, so there’s no need to deny protection to the creators of said trademarks.

And then there’s In re Tam., the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals decision that may burn Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act to the ground.

Simon Tam wanted to call his band “The Slants.”  They’re an Asian-American party band. They chose that name.  The government rejected Tam’s application for a trademark, because “Slants” is an ethnic slur against Asian-Americans, and they might find that offensive.

Tam appealed his case all the way to the United States Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and won.  The Court found that excluding “disparaging marks” from trademark registration violates the First Amendment.

2. There is a real danger the United States Supreme Court will have to decide “morality” and how it affects freedom of expression. 

Tam isn’t binding precedent on several levels.  It’s a good standard to follow, but it’s not close enough.  Right now, there’s a case in the Fourth Circuit that’s fully briefed involving the NFL’s Washington “Redskins” trademark.  If the Fourth Circuit, a historically conservative court, rules against the ‘Skins, then it’s going to cause a split in the law, and the United States Supreme Court will most likely have to decide what the law is.

Allowing the most dangerous branch of the Government to determine what morality is, and whether it should apply uniformly across this country, is absolutely frightening.

3. Morality based impediments on intellectual property violate human rights.

Did you know Budweiser’s trademark isn’t protected in Portugal?  Now you know.  Budweiser’s current owners took the case to the European Court of Human Rights over this matter, saying that denial of their trademark in Portugal interfered with the basic right of a human to freely enjoy his or her possessions.

4. The Morality Police have no place in stifling creativity. 

This is a trend we’re seeing in intellectual property laws as they’re decided across the world.  It still has the potential to shift at any given moment, and that’s a troublesome approach to take.  If we invite bureaucracy to determine what is right or wrong and good or bad for us, then we are good and truly screwed when it comes to free expression.

Imagine the most terrifying figure you can inhabiting the White House.  Now imagine that person having the ability to tell you at any given moment, with the blessing of the legislature, what is “right” or “wrong” for you.

Now ask yourself if that’s the world you want.  If the answer is “no,” your legislature is arguably a phone call away.

5. Stop placing value judgments on the message, and consider the message on the merits.  

“If we accept the theory that morality based restrictions are supportable then it threatens…free speech.”–Marc Randazza

That statement makes the entire article worth reading on the merits for those who frequent Mediation is Dead.

“Soft IP” is a form of communication.  It’s transmission of a message to an intended recipient. Don’t place a value judgment on the message transmitted before you start a fight.  It may be more appropriate to ask “What do you mean by that?” instead of jumping to “I find this offensive and must be silenced.”

You don’t need to place a value judgment on a person’s message to have an effective discussion with them on it.  In fact, your discussion will be better if you speak from a place where you put zero value judgements on your counterpart’s message.

That’s the Mediation is Dead approach.

If you want to download the entire law review article, it’s worth a read.
It’s mandatory MiD.

 

 

Disavow the current notion of “Disavow.”

The first time I remember hearing the word “Disavow” was in the television show “Mission: Impossible.” “The Secretary of State will disavow any knowledge of your actions.” Now the word “Disavow” is being used to influence the current Presidential campaign, and it’s time to have a clear discussion on what the word means, how it’s being used today, and why you need to disengage from the word “Disavow.”

Disavow (transitive verb) 1. to deny responsibility for. 2. to refuse to acknowledge or accept.

There’s a certain candidate who’s getting national attention because he won’t “disavow” a white supremacist organization that hasn’t been relevant or held power in years.

“I don’t know anything about what you’re even talking about with white supremacy or white supremacists,” he said. “So I don’t know. I don’t know — did he endorse me, or what’s going on? Because I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.”–Donald J. Trump

That sounds like a pretty clear example of the word “disavow.” Trump knows about David Duke.  He knows that white supremacists are out there.  He’s not as stupid as some people would have you think he is.  That’s Donald Trump “refusing to acknowledge or accept” the endorsement of David Duke, an alleged member of the Ku Klux Klan.

It’s not good enough for the media though.  You must worship at their altar.  They decide what words mean, not some silly dictionary.

Disavow (transitive verb): To expressly, explicitly condemn someone or something in a manner or fashion with which a mainstream media outlet agrees. –Mainstream Media Dictionary

It gets to a point where the term “reductio ad absurdum” applies when Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, is taken to task for not “disavowing” Trump by a “conservative” news network.

The creator of Dilbert went on Fox News to talk about how Trump’s candidacy was a significant event in studying the human condition.  He even managed to implant suggestions in Tucker Carlson’s head without Tucker realizing it.  And Adams has never “supported” Trump.

Yet this is the reaction he gets after giving that interview.

“Apparently I didn’t disavow the right way. I got labeled a supporter anyway.”–Scott Adams

Watch the video here.

Scott Adams didn’t say he was a Trump supporter.  In fact, he said up front he “disavows” everyone.  Yet he was labeled a Trump supporter shortly after giving that interview to Fox News.

The “news” networks want you to think as they “think,” say what the “say,” and do as they tell you, without ever considering what might happen.

Here is my suggestion.  Disavow the notion of “disavowing.”

You don’t need to take your counterpart’s suggestion that you MUST explicitly reject an idea, person or anything else when communicating.  Your message is your message, and getting it across matters most.

When you “buy-in” to the modern definition of “disavowing,” you buy in to another person controlling you.

That’s embracing conflict.  It is the antithesis of MiD, and it is the antithesis of living a “conflict free” life.

Don’t play into the hands of “Disavow.”  People will make their own decisions on who you are based on your own personal conduct.  People will expect you to conform to their demands and decisions because that’s how life works these days.

Disavow the notion of “Disavow” as currently played in modern society.
Then you’ll live the “wrongless approach” to life.

It’s already met its goal, but I may have to chuck some funds into the production of this no-bullshit documentary against the war on free speech as a result of writing this.

 

Dean Ambrose Lives the “Wrongless Approach.”

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Jonathan “Dean Ambrose” Good gets the “Wrongless Approach” better than most people.  He’s been in the midst of some of the strangest angles in pro wrestling history, said “fuck it” numerous times, and became one of the hottest talents in that business because of his ability to play the role of the “Lunatic Fringe.”

Dean was a guy who did Death Matches under the name “Jon Moxley” because he lived the “wrongless approach” to life before it was near a national audience.

When Dean got to the WWE, he decided the best way to get attention was to pick a fight with a really respected performer.  That performer’s real name was Mick Foley. The ensuing debacle was so strong Dean had to disengage from the feud and just say “fuck it.”

Dean Ambrose made so many people uncomfortable that he had to disengage from a “worked” feud to keep everyone happy. 

Dean was a part of “The Shield,” where he did a three man team of such  quality you haven’t seen since the Fabulous Freebirds. I just about guarantee you that if you watch a Shield match today and you know about Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, and Buddy Roberts, you think of the Freebirds.

When The Shield split, Dean became the “Lunatic Fringe,” and played with that concept like nobody’s business.

He stole a hot dog cart from Coney Island and used it as a weapon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNeARpitAQg

Dean also took the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to a new level.

Dean has managed to get to a point in his career where he can say little and mean something, because he works with a mindset that says “No matter what, I’m going to have fun with this.” 

Flash forward to the February 29, 2016 episode of Raw.  Long story short, he tells the current champ Triple H the champ knows he can’t “Beat” Dean, and challenges the champ to a match for the belt “right here, right now.”  The champ says he’ll take it under advisement and give him a response by the end of the night.

So Dean gets beaten down by a bunch of dudes, then Triple H comes in, stands over Dean, and says “You get your shot.”  There’s a mic left in the ring.

Go to 2:30 or so in this video.

The reaction from that one word “Thanks” caused a reaction most couldn’t with twenty minutes of verbiage.

Dean keeps endearing himself with fans, because he understands that no matter what, it’s important to live life and have fun doing it.

That’s the secret to the “Wrongless Approach” to life. 

You can learn more about how to have fun, no matter what, in any situation too.

 

The Art of the Pipe Bomb Promo

Let’s discuss the communication tool called the “pipe bomb.” 

I’ve been discussing promos quite a bit.  The “pipe bomb” is the singular highlight of a promo.  It incorporates audience rapport, the performer’s own dialogue, and raw truth to create that singular suspension of disbelief: “Wait a minute, that wasn’t supposed to happen, was it?”

Pipe bomb

A worked shoot promo where the wrestler giving the promo appears to break kayfabe. The wrestler, usually scripted to be extremely frustrated, can rip anything from their own circumstances, fans, other wrestlers, backstage personnel, even the company itself. Usually the wrestler dropping the pipe bomb will incorporate what fans are already thinking and complaining about. While appearing to be unscripted, backstage personnel are usually aware of them ahead of time and can be used to dramatically alter story lines. This was a term first used by CM Punk.

Phil “CM Punk” Brooks was the man who made the “pipe bomb” famous with this bit.

That bit caught the attention of ESPN’s Jim Rome, who offered Punk time on air to voice his grievances with WWE anytime he wanted.

That led to this segment.

It took people some time to finally figure out that this was a “work,” but CM Punk’s invention of the “Pipe Bomb” became something for which he would be remembered for generations to come.

Want to create a larger audience for your message?  Want to make sure you have them in the palm of your hand?  Master the art of the “Pipe Bomb” promo. 

“In anybody else’s hands, this is a microphone.  In my hands, it’s a pipe bomb.–Phil “CM Punk” Brooks.

Learning how to unleash a “Pipe Bomb” on his foe gave Punk an edge.  It made him the “go-to” guy for WWE when they needed something fresh and different.

The pipe bomb promo made WWE shell out royalties to the band Living Color for the song “Cult of Personality.” Vince McMahon doesn’t pay royalties to bands unless he has to. 

The “pipe bomb” didn’t just get Punk his requested theme song and deal.  He got a run as WWE champ that was one of the longest in history.  He even got Living Color to play him to the ring at Wrestlemania 29.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9ww66t4TX4

If you learn to communicate your message through the “pipe bomb,” you’ve mastered the art of language.  You are an expert communicator.  You can get to people at any level, no matter the message that you want to convey.

Prior to this moment, Brooks had a time where he was leading a group called the “Straight Edge Society.”  He played the role of a “cult” leader to people who swore an oath to him.  One night he was in a certain town and did his thing, and a grandmother slapped him and said “You’re not God!” as Brooks walked to the back.

When he got to the back with his partner, Luke Gallows, Brooks said “We did it.  We finally got to them.”

Phil “CM Punk” Brooks made the “Pipe Bomb” promo famous because he didn’t care what others thought of him, and he wanted to create something extraordinary.

Here’s the big question.

When you transmit your message to your audience, are you able to create your own version of the “pipe bomb?”

If you’re at that point, you get the “wrongless approach” to life.

When you’re ready to transmit your message to the world, figure out the art of the “pipe bomb.”

This page delivers written “pipe bombs” to your inbox during the work week from the best legal minds in the world.  No spam, no marketing, and no gimmicks.  All you have to do is sign up.

 

Conor McGregor’s Inspiring Obsession

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I’ve had a lot of late nights recently because of my obsession: Mediation is Dead.  That’s why this is my inspirational quote of the year, and it’s coming from a guy who reinvented a sport that was starting to get very boring: Conor McGregor.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship started with very marketable faces and names.  Ken Shamrock.  Royce Gracie. Matt Hughes.  Tito Ortiz.  If you were looking at the “World’s Most Dangerous Man,” saw the “Gracie Train” coming to the Octagon, heard “Country Folks Can Survive” pipe through an arena, or listened to the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” run his mouth, you heard people react.  These guys knew how to sell fights and get the UFC to a point where UFC 100 got over one million buys as a pay-per-view event.

Then as deals started getting made with other mixed martial arts promotions and new weight classes were introduced, the UFC started getting boring.  The fights were entertaining, but the pre-fight and post-fight banter meant nothing.  The fighters weren’t “selling” the event.

Enter Conor McGregor, master of the art of the verbal takedown.

Conor stands out because of his obsession.  He knows what he wants, and that’s to be a face that can’t be ignored that makes money like nobody’s business in the sport he chose.

When most fighters would show up to a press conference, they’d come in and give the standard answers you’d expect an American football player to give if a mic was placed in their face.  They’d casually discuss the fight.
McGregor shows up to press conferences and cuts promos on his opponents. By the time he’s done dressing them down, the fight has sold itself.  Moreover, I submit that if the UFC ran a card in Dublin and put McGregor in the main event it’d be sold out in minutes.

UFC 196 is this weekend, and McGregor was to fight a guy named Rafael Dos Anjos at lightweight to do something special.  McGregor wanted to hold two belts at the same time, his Featherweight belt and Dos Anjos’ Lightweight title.  Dos Anjos broke his foot, and then, as Joe Rogan said, “shit got real.” Nate Diaz, another fighter unafraid of cutting a promo, took the fight.

Watch the press conference in full if you want twenty minutes of pure entertainment.

“You throw up gun signs with one hand and make balloon animals with the other.”–Conor McGregor to Nate Diaz

McGregor and Diaz, in that twenty minute time frame, sold that fight.  Tonight the UFC’s going to make a hell of a lot of money because these two took the time to cut promos on each other.

If you watch that video you’ll notice people want to talk to McGregor more than Diaz, though, and that’s because the press knows if they can get McGregor to open his mouth he’ll give them a soundbite they won’t regret publishing later.

Conor McGregor is obsessed with being different in a sport chock full of plain fighters, and that speaks to his obsession.

McGregor and Diaz are going to draw in a lot of eyes tonight because of the way they talk.  They may bring in a few crossover, disinterested people who want to see this because they know these two are acting like guys who want to beat the ever loving hell out of each other.

“If you take four street corners, and on one they are playing baseball, on another they are playing basketball and on the other, street hockey. On the fourth corner, a fight breaks out. Where does the crowd go?.. They all go to the fight….” Dana White

They go to the fights in record numbers when guys like McGregor show up, because he’s obsessed with being the biggest name in MMA.  He’s obsessed with being different in a world where everyone wants to be the same.

Conor McGregor is obsessed with living life the way he wants to live it: extraordinarily. 

I’ve spent late nights learning how to embed code.
I’ve spent late nights writing pitches and meditating on topics for MiD.

I’ve spent time studying the way others managed to contribute to society and stand out, and craft MiD.

I do all of this because I’m obsessed with teaching a world that can’t communicate how to speak again, and how to live a conflict-free life. 

The difference between “work” and “obsession” is when you are so entrenched in what you’re doing that you don’t even realize it’s 2:30 in the morning and you should be asleep, but you’re having so much fun with your obsession that you don’t even realize it.

There’s no reason to be the same when you can be different.  You can be obsessed.  You just have to figure out your obsession.

Once you do, you’ll achieve goals you never thought possible.

Sign up on this page to see how it’s “Just Us In The System.” No spam, no gimmicks, just 100% pure thoughtful, driven insight from incredible legal professionals.

Learn how to find your obsession here.

Take the “Wrongless Approach” to life here.

 

Nine, Ten Never Sleep Again

I got up that morning and all I wanted was to

SLEEP

I had gotten the call from my wife in the evening.

“Your son is exhausted.  He’s been to sleep four times and woken up each by your daughter, who is banging on the door every chance she gets.  I’m about to strangle everyone in this house.  You need to come home.”

I practically flew back to the house, because I love my family, and I wanted to get out of the business meeting in which I sat.

By the time I got back my son was asleep.  My daughter?  Not so much.

Regardless, I came back and started working on MiD.  I managed my daughter while my wife had a chance to relax.

I stayed up late learning to code for MiD, working on implementing a MailChimp.

Around 2:15 in the morning I heard my daughter start banging on the door.

All I wanted was to make sure my wife and son, who were asleep, stayed that way. So I went to my daughter’s room, knowing that when she bangs on the door that late, she’s woken up and doesn’t want to be alone.  Because she needed

SLEEP

I went into her bedroom and laid down next to her.  Apparently I fell asleep at some point.

I say that because when my wife woke up around 2:30 for some reason, she knew I wasn’t asleep in bed with her.  She came to check on my daughter and saw me next to her in bed. As a result, she ordered me back to our bedroom to go to

SLEEP

My wife then stayed up from 2:30 to 3:30, laying in our kid’s bed to make sure that my daughter, whom she’d inadvertently woken in getting me back to

SLEEP

had somewhat of a restful night.  When she came back to bed around 4:30, she started to relax and rest again.

When my daughter started banging on the door at 5 AM my wife woke me up and said “You need to get up and deal with our daughter.  I need to get at least one hour of

SLEEP

If I’m going to be able to do surgeries properly today.”

So I got up.  I broke my caffeine fast.  Had the first cup of coffee I had in a week.  Drank some Pu’erh tea.

All at that point I wanted was

SLEEP

When my wife left to go do surgeries two hours away, I called my kids’ caregiver during the day.  I asked her if she could get here soon, because I didn’t know how I could keep going without

SLEEP

She came, and I tried to get some work done.  I couldn’t.  I had to take the day to relax.  I went and got a massage.  I had lunch with a friend, who worked with me on some MiD principles.  I emailed some people.  I took a call.  I went to the grocer’s.  That was all I could realistically do.

I enjoyed the “Nightmare on Elm Street” series as a kid.  The villainous Freddy Kruger and his glove were a favored topic of my attention in the movies.  Wes Craven, the mind behind the movie series, started writing the films after learning of a guy who died in his sleep after having sporadic nightmares.

At one point when the franchise re-booted, the topic of “micro sleep” came up.  When you don’t

SLEEP

after a certain point, your body makes you

SLEEP

through these intermittent bouts of falling asleep constantly. Because your conscious and subconscious are now running haywire in your brain, you will see things that you wouldn’t normally see in life.  You might hallucinate, because you’re dreaming without actually being asleep.

I was finally able to relax last night, have some fun, and write, because I’ve made some conscientious lifestyle changes.  I worked on MiD.  I reached out to some business partners.  And I finally went to

SLEEP

and could work again this morning without interruption while playing the “attention management” game with my kids.

One thing people don’t get enough of is sleep.  When you have two kids as close in age as we do, it’s understandable why my wife is tired.  I took it as an exercise in empathy to see where she’s been for the last year.  Yesterday, for most of the day, I was nearly unable to function as a person because I didn’t get any sleep.

Now I get it a little better.  And I understand why Mrs. S. is such a badass for “embracing the suck” for the betterment of our family.

This is the “wrongless approach” to life.

Learn how to “embrace the suck” here.

 

 

Faces, Heels, and Fault Lines

I’m proud of the work we’re doing at Fault Lines.  It’s become a place where all sides of the criminal justice world are voicing their thoughtful, intelligent perspectives.  That being said, I consider some of us “faces,” and some of us “heels.”

babyface (n.) — A heroic or good-guy wrestler. (Also known as: face; baby [archaic].) (Antonym: heel.)

heel (n.) — A bad-guy wrestler. Antonym of babyface. A monster heel is a massive, frightening villain.

Being a “heel” requires you to master the art of pissing people off.  Before certain people decided to expose the business, heels would have to carry guns with them from town to town in order to avoid getting killed for some of the things they said or did.

I consider guys like Ken Womble and Josh Kendrick in the “face” category.

We’ve got a guy who’s a hell of a heel at Fault Lines.  His name is Andrew King.  He’s a prosecutor, and I’m damn glad we’ve got him at Fault Lines.

Andrew King isn’t heel because he’s a prosecutor, he’s a heel because he’s mastered the art of pissing people off.   

I know this because his latest Fault Lines post managed to piss off my mentor, Scott Greenfield.

Andrew writes today about the antipathy toward Black Lives Matter.  I hated his post. Not because of the writing, which was strong, or the reasoning, which was supported by others who share his perspective. No, because it is diametrically opposed to what I believe.  And the subject is so inflammatory that it’s the sort of post that makes you want to scream at the screen.

If you can master the art of pissing people off, you’ve got an edge people don’t normally have.  The thing about Andrew King is that he’s a Paul Heyman level heel.  He can make you love him or hate him depending on how he chooses to transmit his message.

The post today on Fault Lines  Andrew wrote about Black Lives Matter pissed me off.  He’s heeling it up like nobody’s business, and he’s doing it in the same level that Paul Heyman does: with smart, reasoned, intelligent work.

You’re going to get a lot out of Fault Lines.  It’s going to piss you off, and it’s going to make you love what is written there, and you need to read all the posts daily, be it from a “face” or a “heel.”

We’ve actually made it really easy for you to get the content from Fault Lines.  There’s a new subscription service that’s just been launched.  Go here, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and enter your email address.

You’ll get a daily dose of incredible content that you can tailor to suit your needs.  But take Scott’s advice. Read the heels first.

But I urge you to read and think about perspectives with which you disagree. Not because they will necessarily change your mind. Let’s get real. Minds don’t change all that easily. But because they will expand your mind, open your thoughts to a better and deeper understanding of what you’re beliefs are up against.

If you don’t know the arguments against you, you will never be able to test the validity of your beliefs.  And if your beliefs can’t withstand scrutiny, then you’re living in a fool’s paradise.  Many on the internets do so, reading only those who validate their love and hate, their bias.  If that’s not good enough for you, if you are tough enough to challenge your bias, then read ideas you despise.

Study the heel just as much as you would the face.  Study the heel more.
They’ve mastered the art of pissing people off, and you need to know how to counteract that.  If you don’t, then go play in Facebook.

Again, I’m going to make this ridiculously easy for you. Enter your email address, first and last name, on this page, and hit “subscribe”.  There’s no bullshit, no marketing gimmicks.  Just quality content to your inbox every day.

And I may just have to go cut a promo on Andrew King for his Fault Lines post.

On Trump, Politics, and The Art of the Promo

Mike Cernovich tweeted the following point worthy of discussion.

Politics makes total sense if you watched 80s pro wrestling. You think Hulk Hogan and the Russians hated each other once lights were out?

There was a Republican debate last night, and I’m rather upset that I missed it.  I haven’t watched professional wrestling in a good bit, and I need a good promo fix on occasion.

Promo
An in-character interview or monologue.[1] Often includes either an “in-ring interview” or (on television) a skit by wrestlers and other performers to advance a storyline or feud.[1] The act of performing a promo is referred to as “cutting”, as in “cutting a promo.” When the promo is aimed at a specific opponent (which can be an individual, team, or stable), it is said to be cut “on” the target.

Apparently, the Candidates spent the entire debate cutting promos on one another.

Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, fighting for their political lives, relentlessly demeaned and baited Donald J. Trump at Thursday’s debate, all but pleading with Republicans to abandon a candidate with a long history of business failures, deep ties to the Democratic Party and a taste for personal insults.

Bad move, guys.  Bad move, especially if you’re going after Trump.

At times, the face-off in Detroit also deteriorated into the kind of junior high school taunts that have startled many Republican elders but have done little to dent Mr. Trump’s broad appeal. As Mr. Trump and Mr. Rubio traded insults over their manhood, Mr. Trump recalled Mr. Rubio’s innuendo that Mr. Trump’s “small hands” correlated with another part of his anatomy.

Mr. Trump, who has boasted about his sexual exploits, insisted that nothing was small about him. “I guarantee you,” he continued with little subtlety, “there’s no problem. I guarantee you.”

You can’t cut a promo on a guy who literally learned how to cut pro wrestling promos.  He’s going to beat you every single time.

You know who taught Trump how to cut a promo for this election cycle?  This guy.

courtesy Online World of Wrestling

courtesy Online World of Wrestling

That’s Vince McMahon, for those of you who reading who don’t follow pro wrestling.  He and Trump have done business together on multiple occasions.  Trump Plaza hosted Wrestlemania IV and V, and in 2007, Donald Trump actually faced Vince McMahon at Wrestlemania 23 in the “Battle of the Billionaires.”

They didn’t actually wrestle, but they did get numerous chances to “cut promos” on each other leading to their selected proxies actually fighting at the biggest event in pro wrestling each year.

Trump “won” the debate last night because he spent active time with the biggest professional wrestling promotion in the world, and actually practiced “cutting promos” on people before getting into the Presidential race.  

His speech patterns are absolutely fantastic to analyze, although some say his language patterns are on a fourth grade level.

You can’t get under the skin of a guy who took time to observe and learn how to speak about his opponents in a manner that gets himself over and make the other guy look weak.  That’s what Trump did nine years ago when he sat at the McMahon Family Learning Tree.

If Trump gets the nod from the GOP, or “goes into business for himself,” his opponents are going to need a “promo coach.”

“going into business for yourself”(exp.) — making yourself look good at the expense of your opponent, or changing the scripted outcome of a match on the fly to work in your favor.)

My suggestion would be James E. Cornette, the semi-retired manager of the Midnight Express, Heavenly Bodies, and other pro wrestling talent.  He has a podcast every week where he blasts anything and everything, especially in recent weeks Republicans.  He’s an unabashed Sanders fan and can’t stand Republicans, so I think he’d be up for the job.

“On a personal note to Hulk Hogan, you are a household word, but so is garbage, and it stinks when it gets old too” is a line that’s stuck in my head ever since I saw that back in the nineties.

I had a chance to meet Cornette when he was in Knoxville at a comic book convention, long before Mediation is Dead got started.  We had a mutual friend who made the introduction while my son was in the NICU holding on for his life. He signed a tennis racket that sits in my office.  I couldn’t help but ask him about that particular promo, since it was cut right around the time talent stopped getting talking points and started getting handed scripts.  He was kind enough to tell me the backstory.

Apparently it had started on an internet show WWF had called “Byte This,” and Cornette was told he could say whatever he wanted because practically no one listened and it’d pay him $500.  That last line caught his boss’s attention.  They ran everything by McMahon family attorney Jerry McDevitt, and then flew Cornette to RAW, where his words were typed up and he read them off a teleprompter.  Corny sped up at the end and sounded more irritating because the teleprompter was moving a little too fast for his liking, but he got the last bit out.

Donald Trump has his promo coach a phone call away.

Maybe someone in the Democratic Party should start looking for Jim Cornette’s number.

Regardless, in politics once the lights are out and the heels and faces go home, they all still smile, nod and appreciate “working” the audience.

You can buy the book that gave me the brain reboot to start Mediation is Dead here.

My latest podcast is here.

A Lesson in Location, Setting, and Message

Image courtesy GC Hutson

Image courtesy GC Hutson

Over at Simple Justice, my mentor Scott Greenfield posed a question on the lunacy that has become academia in the context of two teachers and the way their “academic freedom” is handled. I’m going to stab at answering it.

Or is it just crazy to think that there should be anyone in higher education who realizes that they’re all nuts?

It’s absolutely crazy to think anyone in higher education circles should realize they’re all nuts.  Students in higher education right now have been so insulated from having uncomfortable discussions, with their lives spent largely in the digital world, that they don’t know how to effectively communicate or respond to others.  Add to this the “special snowflake” mentality most parents take with their children, continually playing the role of “helicopter parent” enforced by the police state and you get a toxic combination of people who will not listen or communicate to others.

The educators are a harder nut to crack.  It might be because they’re sincere in their belief structure, and truly grasp certain aspects of this lunacy.

Take a look at the image Scott posts here.

That’s a professor at Oberlin College, known heavily for being a hotbed of this new crazy that is straying from uncomfortable discussions and challenging ideas, including becoming the laughingstock of the nation when the students complained about the ethnic authenticity of food served in their college cafeteria.

It’s an awful set of ideas, and Scott makes no bones acknowledging that.

That Karega’s ideas are reprehensible is, frankly, no big deal in itself.  Academics think lots of stupid thoughts. And on rare occasion, their stupid thoughts turn out to be right, which is why we let them do so without storming the Ivory Tower with torches and pitchforks.

But look at the other example Scott mentions.  Andrea Quinette was chased out of her classroom because she was attempting to pander to those students she taught.  She was attempting to be a communicator, and discuss her shortcomings when it came to “white privilege.”  In having that discussion with her students, she ended up using the dreaded “n” word which White People Must Not Utter, and as a result is now “under investigation” for not doing what students want her to do.

In case you’re struggling to follow, it’s as nuts as it first appears.  In the course of discussing her own white privilege, she used a forbidden word, prompting outrage from her students who then sent out an open letter to demand she be fired.

This is a good time to look at the way the message was sent and received.  In the case of Karega, she gets a pass because of the environment in which she teaches.  She’s been around a place where words hurt and harm so long that she can’t realize she’s adding to the toxicity when she posts her drivel about “Zionism.”

Quintette was, in contrast, in an environment she didn’t completely understand.  She knew she wanted to convey a message and do so from a vulnerable spot.  What she didn’t understand is that the students were so insulated in their own little bubbles that the moment she used a less than optimal word in communicating her message, she’d placed her neck on the chopping block.

Is it really PC hysteria, though?  Is this the stifling of “academic freedom?” I’ve been turning this thought pattern in my head all morning.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s an issue of “location, setting, and message” gone completely bonkers.

Students don’t want to hear things with which they disagree.  Take a look at any Facebook or Twitter account and see the number of times you see the phrase “If you disagree with me on (x), delete/unfriend me.” That’s a person who doesn’t want to have a rational, logical conversation over any uncomfortable idea.

They head to higher education, which is a business.  Those who are in higher education have to justify the outrageous sums charged for tuition in degrees like “gender studies” or “race theory,” so the teaching staff is more likely to pander to the student and either attempt to discuss or propagate the “social justice” mindset, which continues to cannibalize itself on a daily basis.  If you do that, and you give yourself enough time to buy into that frame of reference, then you will eventually adopt it to the point of madness.

Karega is a shining example of the lunatics completely running the asylum.  Oberlin’s gotten to the point where they buy the Social Justice mindset so much they’ll never return to sanity.  The location, setting, and message are all congruent to produce such an environment.

Quinette, on the other hand, is the proverbial canary in the coal mine at the University of Kansas.  She’s a communications professor.  She tried to communicate with people in the language she thought they understood.  When she did so, without remembering the audience receiving her message, she got silenced for making students feel “uncomfortable.”

The location and setting were only slightly congruent.  Quintette’s message, as a result, was completely incongruent, and that’s why she’s being punished for attempting to reach her audience on their level.

Academia is a place where people either don’t understand the concepts of “location, setting, and message” and how all three intersect work or simply just don’t care.  That’s why Quinette got a roll of dimes and a ticket home, while Karega will continue to bask in the toxic Oberlin environment.

And that’s the best I can manage to answer Scott’s question in the world of Mediation is Dead.

Hear my recent podcast.

My Conversation With The Professional Opportunist

At nine AM Eastern time, I find myself sitting in the chair in my daughter’s room on a Skype chat with none other than James Brown, the “Professional Opportunist” and writer of POWA. What followed was nothing short of a magical discussion between two people who took the time and the energy to live a conflict-free life.

I actually took time between my brain warmup, tea and juice to put myself in the POWA mindset.

“I’m going to have a conversation with James Brown.  This conversation will let me learn things that will be beneficial for Mediation is Dead.  No matter what, I will learn something from this discussion that will be enlightening.”

What followed was a forty-five minute discussion that turned into an hour.  I now consider James a guy I’d hang out with on a regular basis if we weren’t on separate continents.

I specifically asked him about conflict and how to approach things using the POWA mindset, and various applications of the techniques I’d learned from James and Daniele’s courses.

We eventually began discussing kids.  I told him of mine.

“So you have an interesting way to approach your practice by observing your children at their current age.  Notice the way most of their communication is done via body language.  At their respective ages, they’re not entirely verbal yet or cognizant of the English language.  They will communicate based on non-verbal cues.”

A lightning bolt of realization hit me, especially with the “messages” I’ve discussed on the Collaborative Compound Podcast.

“Consider the way you react to them as a means of communication.  Notice when your child starts to walk.  They will fall, and they will cry.  When you react, consider your reaction.  If you approach them as they cry with a smile and wide, accepting eyes, they’re more likely to get up and try again.  If you approach them with a look of fear and worry, they will react to that, and potentially not try again or be far more hesitant to move forward.”

We spoke at great length, and I’m sure we shall again, but this is the central focus of my conversation with the Professional Opportunist that I want to share.  If you want to communicate effectively with others, look at their non-verbal cues and respond to them in the manner you want to best.

Are you in conflict with the other person?  Look at their body language.  See them tense, focused, and angry.  They want you to respond in more than likely the same state.

Instead, take the Professional Opportunist’s Approach.  You respond with a calm, relaxed attitude, knowing that no matter what happens in the discussion you have with your counterpart you will reach a result.

You just might direct the discussion in the way you want, and you just might get to a more effective discussion.

More to come from my time sitting at the feet of the Professional Opportunist.  In the meantime, you can check out my review of James’s book POWA here, and if you want to buy a copy you can do so here.