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Photoshop Into Reality

In 1989, Oprah Winfrey appeared on the cover of TV Guide. Nothing unusual there, unless you expect to see… what you think that you see. Here’s the cover, and here is what you are really seeing. (The Atlantic)

Oprah

Someone at TV Guide decided to put Oprah’s head on a 1979 photo of Ann Margaret’s body. The magazine had not asked permission from either woman to perform this “photo manipulation”. Today, it is simply referred to as photoshopping . It’s even taught as a means to fix hair, faces or red-eye photographs.

If a magazine will do it for the supposed purpose of selling magazines, then it certainly does not surprise us when we see it in politics.  The following are two examples from oppositie political spectrums.

First, the 2002 picture of President George W. Bush that went viral. The President was already under attack about the topic of his reading. When this photo of an upside book came out, it just fed into that image;  No matter what the real photo showed.

Bush

Next, during the 2004 election, John Kerry was under attack and under question over his policies and his service. So, out came the photoshop to place an old Jane Fonda war demonstration speech photo, with an old photgraph of John Kerry. Side by side, it looks like Kerry is supporting Jane Fonda’s anti-war statements. Instead, it was just putting two photographs together… to create the desired message of manipulation:

Kerry

 

The law blog application? It’s how I feel when I see these ads for car insurance. When I watch TV, I see USAA talk about dates when families become members. It appears to be a special family time. When I talk to the adjusters about taking care of their insured, they remind me that they have to pay “what is fair and nothing more”. “What is fair” could be one of my long blog epistles. You know where I am headed here and I may again be beating a dead horse.

beating a dead horse

Still, in my world, negotiating claims with many of these companies seems like they are photoshopping their ads. Of course, I am also the same person who wonders why a talking pig or a slimy reptile  are good “spokespersons” for insurance sales.   Just sayin’

And now for “Did you know?” ( NY Daily) Below shows the combination of Abraham Lincoln that was actually a photograph of Lincoln’s head placed on John C. Calhoun’s body. Did you know that this was the same photograph of Lincoln’s head that was used for the original Lincoln five-dollar bill.

abraham-lincoln

Here is the seated “head of Lincoln” used on the above body.  Seated

And despite the fact that I have gone picture crazy for the blog… here is pic o’ day. It’s a quiz about the smartest dogs:

smart dog

A Bendy Straw Contract

     The recent Parade magazine listed “What People Earn“. It’s an annual article that even has Tiger Woods on the cover. I guess you probably already know that golf pays pretty well.

     We are fascinated with being nosy about others. The Oprah unauthorized bibliography would not be a big seller if it only listed Oprah’s charity efforts. One songwriter even hit it big by singing “Give us Dirty Laundry, We need Dirty Laundry“.   

     In our need to know, it has always been fascinating to find out what entertainers are being paid and what else in in their contract. I remember one country singer who was from Norfolk. Part of her contract demands  included having lunch meat in her dressing room. Now, I don’t know what Juice Newton is doing.  I guess that  meat didn’t help the career.

     Much has been made about what Sarah Palin is being paid for speaking. The Wall Street Journal tells us that her speaking engagement contracts include language that requires that she receive two bottles of unopened still water and bendy straws, to be placed near the podium where she delivers her speeches; Her flight requirement include, at a minimum, two first-class commercial tickets when she approves, or a private jet of at least the size of a Lear 60;  She is also to be driven from the airport to her speaking venue, in professionally licensed SUVs or, at the very least, black town cars.

     All this uproar has been made, because she is scheduled to speak at California State University. I admittedly am interested in what is in the contract. Purely interested out of being nosy. However, everyone that is upset seems to be missing the point. If you want her to speak, then you sign and abide by the contract.  I didn’t even see anything about lunch meat.

      If it were me, I might demand some organic yogurt and maybe even a requirement that “Pants on the Ground” be playing, as I enter the dressing room. Well, I’m just kidding because I think a lot of chocolate and ice cream would be more my style. Oh, and throw in some exercise equipment to work it off. 

     I wanted to see what other speakers or entertainers require in their contracts and actually typed “Diva Contracts” into google. The concept of Divas was on my mind because I keep seeing the “Diva Snickers commercial“. There were tons of articles on the Diva Contracts, as you’ll see if you pull it up. Even the Palin articles are in there.

     From that google search, I learned that the Rolling Stones require a full-size snooker table; Jennifer Lopez had a contract that demanded “white room, white flowers, white tables and/or white tablecloths, white drapes and, counters and couch. Apparently she once “had to settle” for a green one.

     Paula Abdul has demanded large bath-sized towels, which seems pretty reasonable to me; Mariah Carey has some of the most interesting. Supposedly she can only be photographed from one side of her face and she wants brewed Poland Spring Water only.

     The bendy straws sound like a good idea. Good for fighting germs.  I guess they don’t work too well for coffee and good coffee would be one of my demands. All of this just shows how we can get worked up about other peoples’ business and that a contract can even control how fluffy the towels should be.

What is Real?

     At the conclusion of the Masters Golf tournament, CBS went to the “cabin” for the green jacket presentation for the winner, Phil Mickelson.  Jim Nance, experienced announcer, stepped next to the Masters chairman, Billy Payne, and humbly bowed his head, as though he had never been on TV before.  Was I really watching an awards presentation to the winner?

     The absolute emotional impact of Mickelson hugging his wife as he came off the 18th tee was somewhat lessened in my eyes, as CBS replayed that hug about 5 times, while Nance provided his astute observation in pointing out that we should “see the tears”. I think I felt a bit of a lump in the throat, until Nance decided to ruin the moment with his observation as though we were a radio and not a TV audience. Of course, this is the same Nance that testified in his 2009 divorce that his wife had lost such interest in him that she would not even allow him to hang his self portrait in their family home.  I wonder if he testified about such a trauma with his golf whisper voice.  

     The theme of this blog is the discussion of what is real. Some topics grip me, A short blog is just a glimpse of my thoughts.(even a blog too long, like this one!) In the alternative, if I had to write on “Dancing with the Stars”, I would have a difficult time mustering a whole lot of pathos.

     I see that an unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey is coming out. It suggests, with sources, that Oprah is not the “real” person that we see on TV. That suggestion comes from such nuggets as claims that she really wasn’t poor as a kid but merely has claimed that, since such claims make her seem more real. Her relationship with Steadman is allegedly all  for show too. I’ll let you read the attachment for more on that if such claims have not yet made it to the local gossip column or on Entertainment Tonight,  yet.  

     That huge wandering introduction brings me to the meat of this blog. It relates to the recent Miners who were killed in a West Virginia mine explosion. (story) If you read public statements from Massey or see it’s officers on TV, explaining about the rescue efforts and how sorry they are, it makes you think that they might care. In fact, days after the explosion, I began to see stories pop up about Massey and all the good things that they did for charity and community. Do their words and actions match with their past conduct? What is real here?

     Since January 2009, the US Government has ordered that Massey mine to be closed on 61 occasions.(Bloomberg) The closings related to the mine ventilation violations, the very issue in these recent deaths. Prior to this tragedy, Inspectors repeatedly stated that the mine created “significant risks“. In the past year, Massey has been fined over 900K for violations. Despite these fines, they have appealed them and shown a propensity for continuing to operate the same way. A jury argument would be that they are repeatedly putting profits over safety.

     Not surprisingly, Massey’s PR department is in full swing by saying that  “the safety of our members has been and will continue to be our top priority every day”.  The statement went on to include that they would, “work in every way possible to ensure that a similar incident doesn’t happen again.” The Canada article that I am attaching also paints a picture of the CEO of Massey as combative with inspectors, lawyers and even his maid. Again, What is real?

     The saying of “What’s good for business is good for America”, has been attributed to President Calvin Coolidge. The thought behind this is the “trickle down” theory that all would benefit. After looking at lip service versus reality in the Massey mine explosion, as well as their past; perhaps it should be re-stated as “What’s good for America is good for Americans”, and maybe allowing a big business to skate by on press releases and promises is, at some point, going to generate enough publicity to make safety a real priority. What’s next, the Massey CEO,  crying during an interview on Oprah?

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