Hey Marvel Comics, you can’t take a stand in the passive voice

When Marvel Comics artist Ardian Syaf secretly inserted Indonesian political images into his X-Men comics, Marvel fired him. Its passive statement about the incident isn’t fooling anyone. Ardian Syaf inserted secret messages into comic art In the Muslim-dominated nation of Indonesia, some Islamist groups are now in conflict with the Christian and ethnically Chinese governor of Jakarta, Basuki … Continued

The 11 qualities of highly paid, ultra-valuable editors

Some editors get paid $40 per hour. Others charge $400 — and their clients are glad to pay it. What could an editor possibly do to be worth this much? An ultra-valuable editor is a writer’s essential partner, enabling writers not just to accomplish their goals, but to become better writers. To be an editor like that, you … Continued

United breaks passengers (and apologizes feebly)

I didn’t want to write another United Airlines post, but so many of you insisted — and United’s apology is even lamer than the one from two weeks ago. On an overbooked flight from Chicago to Louisville, United Express needed space to ferry four crew members to another assignment. After an $800 bribe persuaded only two passengers … Continued

Some stuff that doesn’t matter and some stuff that does

I was just thinking about what matters and what doesn’t matter, because, being human, we get it wrong a lot. It doesn’t matter whether the new Yahoo/AOL product from Verizon is called “Oath.” What matters is if Verizon can take a bunch of lame and aging properties and make them relevant again. If they don’t, … Continued

The inflamed rhetoric of the Trump justification for bombing Syria

President Trump, outraged by the use of nerve gas on civilians, launched 59 cruise missiles at the airfield that Bashar al-Assad uses in Syria. Then he made a statement justifying the action. It’s a case study in Trumpspeak — does the pileup in intensifying adjectives and adverbs make a statement more persuasive, or more suspect? In my … Continued

Pepsi delivers a clueless apology for a clueless ad

Pepsi’s launched a poorly thought out, protest-themed commercial starring Kendall Jenner. Actual protesters protested the commercial, and Pepsi withdrew it. But Pepsi’s apology is as mild and clueless as its commercial — and demonstrates how advertisers had better steer clear of political minefields. The ad is set in a diverse street protest clearly based on Black Lives … Continued

Trump statement on Syria chemical weapons: blame but no solutions

Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad apparently used nerve gas in the Syrian war, killing civilians. The situation there remains impossible. Trump’s blame-filled statement can’t change that. The six-year multilateral conflict in Syria features a murderous dictator backed by Russia, Islamic State terrorists, and “moderate” rebel factions backed by the U.S. — with civilians caught in the middle. It … Continued

What advertisers said (and didn’t say) about the now radioactive “The O’Reilly Factor”

According to The New York Times, five women have accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment or similar behavior and received $13 million in settlements. Some “O’Reilly Factor” advertisers have pulled their advertising; others haven’t. But what these advertisers share is their mealy-mouthed, platitudinous statements. Here’s what they are actually thinking — and how they should permanently … Continued