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Don’t Call It a Comeback

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The Freedom Forum

We’ve been here for five years, publishing the first edition of the Newes From America on October 17, 2012. Beginning as a traditional news site, rehashing top stories and writing up celebrity and gossip ‘snacks’ that most web surfers like to read, the work was tedious and boring. When a 20-year old kid confused reality with one of his violent video games, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012 was the first, big news story that we tried to tackle as an editorial story. We wanted to try and make sense of that insane tragedy, and that led directly to the screed that you see here before you. It was impossible to look at the huge problem of gun violence while being overwhelmed with the many, pressing news stories that crop up every day. The still unexplained horror of Sandy Hook, similar in some ways to the tragedy recently unveiled in Las Vegas, reveals deeper, more fundamental issues that go far beyond the Second Amendment or whether the N.R.A. supports the banning of ‘bump stocks.’ Our society has been manipulated by corporate interests that have made a lot of money tapping into our minds, changing our behavior and attitudes through advertising that fill our most important psychological needs – and define our very personal identity.

With the pages of flattery on this website for our President, Donald Trump, the reader may have the impression that I’m obsessed with him. Since his nomination, little else has concerned me as dozens of non-Trump related stories have gone unwritten. I’m also certain that Trump supporters who read these pages know that I am an asshole liberal who just likes to hear the sound of my own voice. Beyond the fact that my voice is silky smooth, (and I have a face for radio), I have to admit to acute bouts of Lapham’s Disease, even though Harper’s magazine wouldn’t print my (awful) writing with a ten foot pole. That said, the Trump MAGA phenomenon, feeding on violent and salacious stories such as Sandy Hook and Orlando, channeled popular fear and anger to gain power, now it’s Trump who must confront the results of our broken system. Who better, he argued during the election, to ‘drain the swamp’ than one who knows how the (broken) system works. Pushing the Reagan-era mantra of ‘small government,’ with Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan selling ‘A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats’ to the working class, aspiring to rise to a higher class, was (and is) the deal from Republicans, make it easy to stay rich – and when you get there, you’ll be happy you did! The problem is that 99% of us never get there. As the long odds that most working adults rely on – their weekly state lottery outlay – the hope for a better future is offered at a 1% return on investment, and we voters keep coming back for more.

The legendary ad man Jack Trout passed away this summer at the age of 82, a pioneer of the concept of ‘positioning’ in brand advertising. Positioning is closely related to the concept of subjective value in economics, referring to the place that a brand occupies in the mind of the customer, and how it’s distinguished from products offered by competitors. After a career that began at GE, Trout wrote Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind in 1981 and Marketing Warfare in 1986, seminal books in the advertising and marketing business. A follower of David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, and known as the ‘Father of Advertising,’ Ogilvy trained at Gallup, attributing the success of his campaigns to meticulous research into consumer habits. After founding Trout & Partners, Jack Trout later headed the ‘Brand America’ program, launched by the George W. Bush Administration in 2002 in the build-up to the last Iraq war. When he arrived in Washington, Trout felt the image being projected by the Bush Administration was simply awful. “America had one idea attached to its brand. We presented ourselves as the world’s last superpower,” said Trout, “And that was the world’s worst branding idea.” Over the next few months, Trout and his team groused as W. began to make the case for war in Iraq. In their view, the problem wasn’t policy but presentation. Markets, as Jack Trout knew very well from his years introducing U.S. products to the newly opened Chinese market in the 1970s and 80s, are highly subject to persuasion. Brand USA re-positioned the debate about American power and hegemony to include a discussion about Iraq’s ‘mobile’ chemical weapons program, and how unacceptable that was to American citizens. Mobile? They could drive them down Main Street! It didn’t matter if the weapons turned out to be real, it just mattered that consumers bought into it. Prospects (or marks, as con men call them) enter a communication agreement with a brand that must be simple and straightforward. ‘Coke is it.’ ‘Evildoers are bad.’ ‘Plop, plop fizz, fizz; oh, what a relief it is.’ Then, the marketing strategy must be ‘rolled out’ with the goal of conquering market share. As Bush Chief of Staff Andy Card said truthfully before the Iraq War build-up, you never roll out an ad campaign in the summer, because in brand marketing, timing and positioning is everything. To gain control of market share, brand managers must employ warfare tactics in which very few people actually die in ‘battle,’ but a marketing ‘attack’ is made on the very same ‘targets’ of a war – leading with public opinion. The campaign is designed to be total and overwhelming – as in ‘Shock and Awe.’

The Russian cyber-war against the United States, relying heavily on brand marketing strategies developed by these brilliant American advertising executives, extended the techniques successfully in 2016 to subvert the American presidential election. Russian operatives set up an array of misleading web sites and social media pages to identify American voters susceptible to propaganda, then used targeted advertising on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google with complicated, expensive tools to repeatedly send them messages designed to influence their political behavior. Trump, also, used these marketing techniques to target political consumers who could (and would) be persuaded to vote against their very interests. As a result, Brand America has slipped significantly under Trump’s leadership: U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 ‘Best Countries Ranking,’ reads like the sports pages with America lagging behind Britain, Canada and Switzerland in the standings, slipping 3 slots from the 2016 season finals to #7, risking being relegated to the minor leagues behind surging Germany, Sweden and perennial contenders Japan. With a humming U.S. economy, this baffles, yet nearly three-quarters of survey respondents said they lost some respect for U.S. leadership after the 2016 presidential election. The Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index, which uses the same tools marketing consultants use to value corporate brands, estimates the ‘Obama effect’ raised the value of ‘Brand America’ by over $2 trillion in the first year of his presidency alone.

A case study in business schools the world over, copier titan Xerox is very often used as the prime example of a great brand name gone bad. Once the gold-standard of photocopier brands, creating and expanding the copier market worldwide in the 1950s and 60s to find themselves a corporate behemoth in the 70s with a 90% share of the business. The fall of Xerox in the 80s and 90s was paralleled by once great companies across America at that time, old and calcified, these great brands were subject to the same assault that we now face from the marketing warriors, hatched by the ‘me generation’ of the 1980s. In Republican-speak, the consent letter signed by Xerox in 1975 is what directly led to their fall from greatness. The government fucked up Xerox. But why would the Federal Trade Commission and the Fed destroy a great American company, opening up their sacred patents in photocopier technology to foreign competition? These foreigners would go on to build the same machines smaller, cheaper and faster and sell them back to an eager public drenched in toner ink and service contracts. By the way, my latest Canon all-in-one cost me $99 way back in 2011 and is still going strong. Our Canon ImageClass machine at work has never needed service.

Canon famously used Lanchester’s Laws to attack market share (instead of land and infrastructure as in war) and the ‘Canon–Xerox battle’ as it became known, looked like a classic ‘force concentration’ military campaign in hindsight. In this case, Lanchester’s famous laws, drawn from studying Lord Nelson’s unquestioned inspirational and tactical military skill, were used in Canon’s establishment of a ‘revolutionary base’ by concentrating all their resources on a single geographical area until total dominance could be achieved. In the UK this meant Scotland, for Canon defined specific regions to be individually ‘attacked’ again and again, with focused allocation of resources based on changing consumer demand. Sales and distribution forces were built up to support these regions, and in turn, were used in the final ‘push’ into London with a numerically larger sales force than Xerox (or Rank Xerox as it was known in Europe). Within 10 years, Xerox’s market share fell in half to under 40%. Within 20 years, Canon was the number one copier manufacturer in the world. Today, Canon has 75% of the worldwide copier business and Xerox, which once literally meant ‘to photocopy,’ is an also-ran. Since then, ‘divide and conquer’ has prevailed as an ethos in the world of finance.

The genius behind photocopy technology, inventor Chester Carlson, took his inspiration from copying patents for a law office he worked for early in his career, and his curiosity took hold of him as he wondered if he could make perfect copies with light instead of the mimeograph’s messy (and expensive) carbon transfer system. After he perfected the process, he formed Xerox with partners in Rochester, New York and London, England – and within ten years became filthy rich, and in 1968, Fortune magazine ranked Carlson among the wealthiest people in America. He sent them a memo: “Your estimate of my net worth is too high by $150 million. I belong in the 0 to $50 million bracket,” this because he spent many years quietly giving most of his fortune away. He told his wife his remaining ambition was “to die a poor man” and ended up donating over $150 million to charitable causes while he was alive, and was an active supporter of the NAACP. Inspired by his wife, he built various Buddhist temples in the New York area, as well as endowing the New School for Social Research in New York City, the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Virginia (for parapsychology research purposes only!) among many other pursuits. That Carlson was a humble patent clerk, as Albert Einstein had been, is made even more interesting because the original reason that Xerox was required to sign the punitive ‘consent letter’ was because they created an illegal ‘patent thicket’ that had nothing to do with the copiers that they sold and serviced. The vast majority of Xerox-owned patents were acquired only to block competitors from using similar technology, the judge ruled in 1975. This ‘patent monopolization’ is why the Federal Trade Commission went after Xerox.

Steve Jobs, in his famous ‘lost’ interview in 1994, blamed Xerox for fumbling away one of the greatest brands in history because they got greedy, lazy and stupid. He almost gloats how he and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (then selling illegal AT&T ripoff hardware) were given a tour of the famed Xerox/PARC and the future of computer technology – where the mouse, Mac-style GUI and other goodies that Xerox wanted to ‘park,’ patent and prevent competitors from using in their own product lines were spirited away. This anti-competitive, stupid behavior is why Apple Computer, as we know it, exists today. Jobs said that Xerox could have been ‘bigger than Microsoft’ (and Apple, of course) if they had just realized what they had actually discovered in their precious labs. Instead, the ‘toner heads’ were relegated to the dustbin of history because their marketing-bred management team ran them straight into the ground. Last year, Xerox paid a ‘golden parachute’ package to one of the few female African-American CEOs in the country, Ursula Burns (also an Uber board member), over $17 million for guiding the company through it’s last spin-off, leaving a few thousand employees and a once great brand name in her wake. Earning an average of $18 million a year during her tenure, Burns lamented the ‘terminal niceness’ at Xerox before she left the collegial, old money crowd that nearly bankrupted the company.

The sequel to the original strokes of genius that began some of the world’s greatest brands have oftentimes been their death-knell. I think of the great Edwin Land and the Polaroid Corporation, inventor of instant photography and the revolutionary Land Camera here in Cambridge, Massachusetts – gone forever, a victim of the digital revolution, with Japanese behemoth Canon Corporation a leader in this market as well. Much of Canon’s success against Xerox was on the watch of then company president Fujio Mitarai, a nephew of one of the founders of Canon. He spent 23 years working in New York before returning to Japan in 1995 to head the company. “I never dreamed Canon would eventually match Xerox,” he recalled. “For me, Xerox was a giant.” Interestingly, the brand name ‘Canon’ is an anglicized spelling of ‘Kannon,’ which in turn was named for the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin (short for Guanshiyin), meaning ‘[One Who] Perceives the Sounds of the World.’

A simpler, more concrete example of marketing gone bad is the concept of the sequel. I’m a huge fan of the original Blade Runner (1982), and with the release of Blade Runner 2049, and the rave reviews for the film, I’m apprehensive. Good reviews of sucky sequels have caused me to waste my hard-earned dollars through the many years I’ve been able to get into R-rated movies. The box office for the Blade Runner reboot is lagging, however, (especially considering it’s $160-185 million budget) so I’m going to take this a sign that it might actually be a good movie, after all, the original Blade Runner tanked at the box office as well. The last truly funny movie I remember seeing was The Hangover (2009), with Mike Tyson in a perfect cameo appearance and the introduction of the hilarious Dr. Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow. The $35 million investment returned $44 million the first weekend alone and the film eventually grossed $277 million worldwide. Beyond joining a class-action lawsuit against Warner Brothers and director Todd Phillips for The Hangover, Part II (don’t believe it, it’s a sequel), I promised back in 2011 that I would never pay to see another sequel again. Period. For the record, The Hangover, Part II grossed a quarter of a billion dollars. The Hangover, Part III grossed another $100 million, however with a budget of 100 mil, they just broke even, so we’ll have to wait a few years for The Hangover 2020 – Trumped Up. Producer and director Todd Phillips broke through with Old School (2003), another very funny movie that grew from his previous documentary work, 1998’s Frat House.

In movie sequels, audiences are lured back into the theaters with the promise that a story that they thought was over, was really just beginning. Sequels have never been about great storytelling, they’re really just brand extensions of successful movies. Sequels to the hugely popular James Bond and Pink Panther films from the 1960s set the stage for the episodic movie franchises such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones and The Lord of the Rings tentpoles to follow, each sucking a little more than the last, except Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, (2005) – which was actually Star Wars 6. The James Bond franchise, starting with Dr. No in 1963, has produced over 20 sequels and not a single one is as good as the original. The only truly great sequel (or prequel) of all time, the Godfather, Part II, (1974) really started the sequel trend in the 1970s with awful sequels French Connection II (1975), Jaws 2 (1978) and Rocky II (1979) cashing in shortly thereafter.

All the Indiana Jones sequels, except the fourth, were pretty good but they were based on ‘Saturday serials’ on TV to begin with, but I digress. Sequels rarely live up to expectations. Lately, they’re just episodes, designed to carefully lead you to the next three episodes in the boring, effects-driven trilogy. This sucks. All great drama has a beginning, middle and an end. They don’t have to be in that order, but they have to be in your story, unless you’re some genius like Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman or Charlie Kaufman. A story must end in order for it to mean anything. Endless retelling of a successful story will be endlessly boring. Steven Spielberg, well aware of the conundrum of the follow-up, had the best idea I ever heard for a sequel. After the success of Jaws (1975), the pressure to follow with Jaws 2 was immense. Spielberg wanted nothing to do with reliving his horrendous experience of the soggy production, regardless of the rich payday, and took himself out of the director’s chair – unless he could remake the blockbuster franchise as a comedy. Producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown thought about meddling with their newfound riches for about three seconds and, as most producers since Jesse Lasky before them, made a shitty sequel instead. Spielberg’s title was going to be: Jaws 2, People 0. That’s absolutely hilarious. We got the comedy 1941 (1979) instead, and that was kinda funny! Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead 2 took Spielberg’s angle and made a spoof sequel that stands, weirdly, as a truly funny flick (and a cult classic), and the only sequel ever made that’s better than the original. Wes Craven, with his Scream franchise made a billion dollars with this tilt on the genre.

You’ve never seen the film The Fall of a Nation, because it’s the first movie sequel of all time – and not coincidentally a lost film. Released in 1916 as a follow-up to D.W. Griffith’s epic, racist The Birth of a Nation released earlier that same year, the film bombed at the box office. Producers and distributors in the 70s figured out the optimal turnaround time to let popular demand build for a sequel is about two years. Blade Runner waited a very long time between sequels and you would think that more time between sequels would be a good thing. It isn’t, as countless stinkers such as Psycho II; Blues Brothers 2000; 2010 (A Space Odyssey) and, unfortunately, The Godfather, Part III prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Only George Miller’s recent Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and perhaps, Blade Runner 2049 will join the very short list of decent sequels. Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money (1986) should be mentioned here for bucking the trend as a fine follow-up, fifteen years after the superb The Hustler. Aliens didn’t appear until seven years after the original Alien and should be included here as well. These few examples pale in comparison to the overwhelming tide of shitty sequels, delayed or not. In fact, what was once known as the ‘summer blockbuster’ has been all but killed by them as a result.

My favorite director, Martin Scorsese, was never tempted to make a sequel to Taxi Driver and we are all the better for it. Robert DeNiro’s searing Travis Bickle is a character for the ages and will be remembered without the distraction of Vince Vaughn in Taxi Driver 2: The Last Fare. Fans of the indie masterpiece Easy Rider (1969) with Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hopper would be smart to steer clear of the unimaginably bad Easy Rider 2: The Ride Home (2010), easily one of the worst sequels ever made. When tempted by the success of Goodfellas, a perfect film, Scorsese followed it with the almost perfect Casino and even then, the stench of the sequel wafted over to spoil the full enjoyment of this great film, even though it wasn’t even a sequel, just the same theme and style with many of the same actors. The marvelous character actor Frank Vincent, who died this past summer, was totally in his element – I remember him as Frankie Marino using a lollipop to block his lips while whispering to Joe Pesce’s smoldering, violent hitman Tommy DeVito, as the Feds train their mics and cameras on them in this awesomely good movie.

In 2010s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the shitty sequel adage holds, with Oliver Stone returning to helm this steaming pile of (sleepless) money. A brilliant director, even Oliver Stone can swing and miss. Other than starting out in real estate and having a raging case of narcissism, Gordon Gekko is not based on Donald Trump. Stone actually cast and shot The Donald in his Wall Street reboot, only to have his cameo end up on the cutting room floor. Oliver Stone said that Gekko was inspired by Ivan Boesky, the arbitrage king of the 80s, who unlike Trump, was finally taken down by the SEC in 1987. Boesky also took down Drexel, Burnham Lambert and Michael Milkin with him, Milkin recently having a comeback, though, and is now #200 on Forbes latest list of richest Americans at over $3 billion. Boesky famously gave the actual ‘greed is good’ spiel to UC Berkeley Business School graduates in 1986 and was last seen looking like an actual wizard rather than a financial one. Boesky’s biblical fall from grace – he was a professor at NYU and one of the most successful brokers on Wall Street – prompted him to remove himself from society to live as a hermit in a home he won from his (richer) wife in the divorce settlement.

Wall Street was released in December, 1987, two months after the Black Monday stock market crash and just one week before Boesky was sentenced to three years in prison for securities fraud. Stone said that he also based the Gekko character on Burt Lancaster’s towering performance as J. J. Hunsecker in The Sweet Smell of Success (1957), one of the best films of the Fifties. In my favorite moment of the film, the sleazy hypocrite J.J. Hunsecker, leaving his swanky NY club with Tony Curtis’ sycophant turned ‘hero’ Sidney, encounters the raw energy of the streets of Manhattan at night and whispers, “I love this dirty town.” An ego to match Hunsecker, Donald Trump loves the dysfunction and chaos of life as much or more than the fictional, bilious character so masterfully handled by Lancaster.

As art imitates life, Donald Trump exposed Palm Beach’s racist, anti-Semitic underbelly in order to buy his way in to Palm Beach society (as in Caddyshack!) and that is the first place that Trump divided the electorate in his fledgling career as a rich ‘man of the people.’ Shackled as a sequel, Caddyshack 2 (1988) had to revisit the same plot points and references to the original that distort all sequels, yet it did try to introduce a much more robust defense of the rich ‘everyman’ hero, this time with comic Jackie Mason playing the lead. Donald Trump was the real ‘everyman’ who made it big, never forgetting where he came from. He’s crude and talks plain and likes to take on the ‘establishment’ and their (unfair!) policies. ‘Forget all that shit, let’s party!’ as Trump pushes another supermodel into the pool. Indeed when Trump invaded Palm Beach in the 80’s, the old money knew that the understated, sedate Palm Beach of yesterday was gone forever. They worried that the super-exclusive Bath and Tennis Club, or the ‘B&T’ as they chummingly called it, would come to be known as the ‘Bridge & Tunnel,’ for the crude crowd Trump brought with him from New York – an assortment of celebrities and new money assholes that were an affront to the old Palm Beach set who took pride in being in the news but three times in their lives – birth, marriage and death. Palm Beach also took discreet pride in excluding Jews and African-Americans from mingling with the jet-set: Jewish members had to be content with the kosher Palm Beach Club and black millionaires were still welcomed at the back of the jewel-encrusted bus at the Breakers Club. African-Americans were called ‘blacks’ by the European-American ‘whites’ back then, but that was before The Donald made Palm Beach a haven for African-American and Jewish millionaires and billionaires. For the working-class and the poor, there’s West Palm Beach and the real world beyond, yet back then in the days of Caddyshack and Rodney Dangerfield’s 80s hedonism, Trump represented the new ethos rising up from urban centers such as New York, against restricting ‘minorities’ – especially if they were rich. Decades before Charlottesville, Donald Trump spoke to the African-American and Jewish communities as equals, as long as they could pay their yearly dues to Mar-A-Lago. This was in contrast to Trump in the early 70s, when he and his father were still redlining against largely poor, black New York tenants. If Trump had just been accepted in the B&T back in ‘82 in the first place, President Donald Trump* would still be just a punchline. Now we have President Gekko.

In the original Wall Street, Gordon Gekko’s most famous line, lifted from Ivan Boesky, was that ‘greed is good.’ Michael Douglas has said that he couldn’t believe how many business-types told him through the years that they got into finance because of his portrayal. Gekko going to jail at the end of the film is never brought up. The more character-revealing line in the film was when Charlie Sheen’s Bud asks Gekko why he would wreck a longstanding, profitable company, a company where Bud’s father (played by Charlie’s own father Martin Sheen) worked, Gekko yells back at him indignantly, “Because it’s wreckable!” For his zeitgeist-inspired icon Gordon Gekko, Michael Douglas was rightly awarded the Oscar for Best Actor in 1988. Oliver Stone’s own father was a broker and was the inspiration for the old-fashioned broker in Wall Street played by the commanding Hal Holbrook. President Trump, the unparalleled Wall Street hero, a card-carrying ‘victim’ of liberal establishment regulations – killing entrepreneurial spirit – was at the crest of 80’s Wall Street cool, a new-breed of players placing old school brokers and investors, such as the Hal Holbrooks of the world, out on the retirement rolls. By the late 1990s, reality had taken hold and Trump went bust for the first time, and for his sequel, he penned another shitty book called The Art of the Comeback, a follow-up to his best-selling The Art of the Deal. Written with (by) Kate Bohner, a knockout CNBC and Forbes magazine writer described as ‘leggy’ by Page Six, wife at the time of Michael Lewis, future author of Moneyball – she left Lewis shortly after he wrote an article for his (then) job for the New Republic magazine titled Scenic Beauty where he unfortunately complained about being married to a beautiful woman. Kate was ‘blindsided,’ by the article, recalled Joshua Levine, who worked with her at Forbes. Apparently, Lewis didn’t tell her about the article before it was published in the spoof ‘sex issue.’ Whoops! With Harvey Weinstein’s recent sexual harassment allegations, the energy between The Donald and his young, attractive employee back then seemed, well let’s just say it was interesting – and the sexual tension between them was palpable. Her good looks were central to Howard Stern’s pubescent fascination, as usual, when Trump appeared with Bohner on Stern’s radio show in 1994:

Stern: Yeah. And evidently she will give you a boner. I bet he [Trump] did her too. I wonder, cause Gary says she’s really hot.

Robin: Well that kept him interested in the book probably.

Howard: How did you choose — Please. How did you choose Kate?

Donald: Purely on her looks. She’s very talented.

Howard: There’s nothing wrong with [judging] someone based on their appearance. Did you work nude?

Robin: Where did you work on it?

Donald: In my bedroom.

Howard: Did you work on a laptop? Kate, your last name is Boner?

Kate: It’s Bohner, Howard. I knew you’re gonna go there.

Howard: Did you do it in a hot tub? I — cause Donald loves to relax and he enjoys, you know, fine things in life. Would he take you to somewhere special to work on a book?

Kate: Howard…

Howard: All I know was I’m distracted by your co-writer. Are you wearing — What are you wearing underneath that? Is that — You just have a jacket on, and no shirt underneath. Wow you are cute.

Kate Bohner was, and is, a knockout. Smart and sexy, she’s a real keeper. The character played by Kim Cattrall, Samantha Jones in the HBO hit Sex and the City was inspired by her, and one could draw the conclusion that she was a woman on the make back in the Clinton Era. She would later date the (then) CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt for four years. Her best friend Candace Bushnell, (writer of the original New York Observer column on which the show was based) wrote in a later column that Kate was devastated by the experience. Unable to talk about their relationship due to a confidentiality agreement, bff Bushnell (whose character ‘Carrie Bradshaw’ was played by Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex and the City) spoke up for Kate and related that Schmidt, one of the richest men in America worth more than $10 billion, promised to leave his wife for her and broke her heart when he traded Kate in for a younger model. It all plays like an episode from the TV show. Bohner cleaned up, got her act together and today is one of the few Buddhist nuns to run a PR company, specializing in governance and compliance. For research purposes only, I see that she’s still single. Hmmm. Contrary to popular belief, Carrie Bradshaw’s love interest in the show, Mr. Big, was not based on Donald Trump, even though he did make three cameo appearances on the Sex and the City TV show back in the 90s. He’s been here for years, folks.

Sex and the City: The Film was a huge commercial success, making $27 million in North America on its first day alone. The three-day opening weekend total was $57,038,404 – the biggest opening ever for an R-rated comedy (or for a romantic comedy, for that matter). The worldwide gross revenue for the movie was $415 million, making it the highest-grossing romantic comedy of 2008. Of course, the awful follow-up had to be made and Sex and the City 2, nominated for seven Golden Raspberry Awards, including worst picture (winning three of them), grossed $295 million for Village Roadshow and HBO Pictures. Although a quarter lower than the first film, it was still 2010’s highest-grossing romantic comedy. No word yet if Kim Cattrall can be coaxed back for one last time for Sex and The City 3. I sure hope so, it has such a nice ring to it.

In the Art of the Comeback, Trump recalls how he singled out a homeless man on the streets of New York and said to his daughter Ivanka, “That guy is rich compared to me. He has $900 million dollars more than I do. He has nothing, and I have $900 million in debt.” Trump did recover from bankruptcy, and as usual, instead of learning his lesson, he capitalized on his experience with America’s rigged laws to figure out a way to actually make money by going bust by the time his fifth bankruptcy was submitted to the courts in Puerto Rico in 2015. When people are too stupid and lazy to care about the truth, pitch men like Donald Trump will always be there with the Next Great Thing. Don’t believe it, it’s just another shitty sequel.


John Underhill
October 17, 2017

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