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Author Archive for Carter Breazeale – Page 2

Thinking of Southeast Texas

As Florida residents, Russell and I are acutely familiar with the impact a hurricane or tropical storm can have. I distinctly recall the ravages of Hurricane Charley in 2004—emerging from the house after hours of blistering rain and wind gusts mimicking freight trains to find my neighborhood in seeming disrepair.

The 2004 hurricane season brought four named storms through Orlando—Charley, Ivan, Frances, and Jeanne. I remember having to call my girlfriend’s mother—who had taken the family to New Orleans in the aftermath of Charley—to let them know their roof had collapsed. Nothing adequately prepares you for something as violent, as visceral, and as devastating as a strong hurricane.

But we’ve never seen anything like Hurricane Harvey. For that I’m thankful.

Hurricane Harvey has decimated the southeast coast of Texas, and continues to dump millions of gallons of rain on Houston and the surrounding areas. Reports have stated that the area has already received nearly a year’s worth of rainfall—with more on the way.

The images out of Texas are harrowing. Buildings and homes leveled. Water nearing highway overpass signs. It’s akin to something out of post-apocalyptic fiction.

But then there are the images of Good Samaritans rescuing people in their own boats and rafts. Ordinary individuals taking to the flooded streets to help strangers. It’s these situations where all differences are set aside and the only issue on the table is lending a hand.

Texans are quite the proud bunch, and in the wake of such a monumental natural disaster, they’re showing the rest of the world their strength and resilience.

We empathize with those affected in Texas, thank the brave first responders, and hope that Mother Nature eases up a bit in the coming days.

If you have the resources, please head over to the American Red Cross website and donate a few bucks to the relief effort.

 

 

An Interview with Russell

For your Tuesday afternoon blog consumption, head over to QualityTalk.com for a fantastic interview with The Prez himself, Russell Trahan.

In an insightful interview, Russell speaks with Ron Rosenberg about strategic marketing and building name recognition through placing articles in business, trade, and association publications.

Charlottesville is a Symptom

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

That was the prescient, final Facebook post by Heather Heyer, a 20-year old woman who was mowed down by a car during a counter-protest against white nationalists, the KKK, and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The anger and division in this country has been simmering beneath the surface for decades—and within the past few years appears to finally be boiling over.

What took place in Charlottesville over the weekend is yet another symptom of the dangerous direction that we’re heading as a nation. A nation that refuses to find middle ground—where people are entrenched in their opinions, insulated by their social media echo chambers, and acting with the ever-perilous “Us vs. Them” mindset that always finds an “other” to cast as a convenient scapegoat.

In a country that has withstood so many external threats to maintain its inherent strength and resilience, it’s demoralizing to see it seemingly torn in half by threats from within.

The scenes from Charlottesville were horrific. It was yet another flashpoint in the populist movements in society and politics—a continental drift of community, cooperation, and conscience.

Heather Heyer was murdered by a coward for expressing her aversion to an abhorrent belief system. Her life taken for speaking out against the scourge of hatred and bigotry. The silver lining in these awful situations is that they can present unwanted opportunities to learn and move forward. Unfortunately of late, America seems immune to education.

This can change, but only if we’re willing to thoughtfully engage one another and avoid retreating to the ideological cocoons that we’ve established for ourselves.

Football is Back, But What About the NFL’s Ratings?

I’ve been waiting for this week since February 5th, the day I felt my soul separate from my physical body as I watched Tom Brady engineer the most incredible comeback in Super Bowl history. I still have the Atlanta Falcons chili that I made for the game, freezer burned and petrified, as some sad reminder of what became of Atlanta that night in Houston. I can’t bring myself to throw it out. It’s become an inedible symbol of my grief.

But this week—oh, this week; the three words I’ve been longing to hear since The New England Patriots disposed of the Atlanta Falcons like a spoiled batch of chili are finally true: Football Is Back.

The 2017-2018 NFL campaign technically kicked into gear with last week’s snoozer of a Hall of Fame Game between the Cowboys and the Cardinals, but this week marks the first official slate of preseason games.

Fans are scouring Twitter for team news. Gamblin’ types are earmarking dues and setting draft dates for fantasy football leagues. All feels right in the world.

But how’s the outlook for the NFL?

As one of the most recognizable brands on the planet, the NFL is experiencing a bit of malaise of late. Amid shrinking ratings, negative news stories surrounding players, and an embattled commissioner who draws universal ire, the National Football League is mining for methods to reconfirm itself as the premiere sports league in the United States.

The solution? Touchdown celebrations.

The NFL announced in the offseason that it was relaxing the rules regarding touchdown celebrations, allowing players to better express themselves after getting on the scoreboard. If you’ve ever gone down a touchdown dance YouTube rabbit hole—think Chad Ochocinco with a Santa Claus bag, Terrell Owens mocking the Patriots for Spygate—you’ll agree that the NFL was simply more fun. It was a more entertaining product.

And with this rule change, the No Fun League is attempting to reinject the pure entertainment back into the sport alongside the bonkers feats of athleticism.

So, football fans, rejoice: snow angels and the Cha Cha Slide are back. We’ll see if this rule change will provide any kind of boost in viewership, but those who are glued to their televisions on Sundays regardless will absolutely appreciate it.

The Mooch Has Left the Building

When your newly-minted White House Communications Director prefers to communicate in…ahem…creative terms, he may not be long for the position. When that same comms director appears to assume that conversations with reporters are automatically off-the-record—well, same result.

This is the cautionary tale of Anthony Scaramucci—The Mooch—who was ousted as the White House Communications Director less than 10 days after his slick arrival to the press room podium. Scaramucci’s initial appearance was one of admiration and praise for the President, and he seemed to ingratiate himself to media types alike. Words like “unflappable,” “professional,” and “effective messenger” were used by talking heads across the news talk show spectrum.

And then the Mooch lost his cool to a reporter.

Scaramucci’s now-infamous tirade to The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza (caution: extremely strong language) ignited another White House firestorm on Friday, leading to some lukewarm defenses of Scaramucci’s statements.

The Mooch claimed that the conversation was off-the-record at the time—Ryan Lizza insists that the White House Comms Director never issued such a caveat.

Rule One of top-level communications professionals: you should understand the common rules regarding on-the-record conversations. A neophyte in conversations with reporters does not a communications director make.

So, along with Mike Flynn, Scaramucci joins an inauspicious group whose White House tenure was shorter than a season. So who’s up next? Hopefully someone who understands the interviewer/interviewee relationship.