Tag Archives: Dr. Jennifer Mercieca

Reactions To Election 2020

For the last four years on his nightly MSNBC show, Brian Williams has counted down the days of the Trump presidency. As November 3, 2020, drew closer, the polls and the pundits were giddy with excitement as they predicted a blue wave. Of course, true to form as in any soap opera or reality TV show, things never go as you expected. The producers make sure there is a dastardly twist at the last minute to keep you attached to the screen for yet another episode. In this scenario, the wicked villain had already telegraphed that he would make sure that there wasn’t going to be a ball unless he could be crowned princess and accompanied by his ugly sisters. (Ok, that’s a reference to traditional British pantomimes, but the concept is the same – the bad guy messes things up and has a tantrum). By around 2.20 am Eastern Time on November 4, when Trump slouched forward to the podium in the White House he assured the world he follow through on crying foul when not a single chicken had crossed the road. So it was with many votes still to be counted across numerous counties in a number of states, we asked a panel of guests to share their immediate reactions to Election 2020.

Our panel of guests, each with an abundance of acclaim in their chosen fields are:

Jared Yates Sexton Author and political commentator. He is an associate professor in the Department of Writing and Linguistics at Georgia Southern University. Latest book: American Rule – How A Nation Conquered The World But Failed Its People

Dr. Jennifer Mercieca Historian of American political rhetoric. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A&M. Latest book: Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump.

Dave Hill Comedian, actor, musician, radio host, and author. Latest book: Parking the Moose: One American’s Epic Quest to Uncover His Incredible Canadian Roots

Steve Brodner Caricaturist, illustrator, educator & political commentator

Dr. Binoy Kampmark Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University, Melbourne. Author & commentator

Mark Haskell Smith Author, fiction & non-fiction, including, Blown, Naked At Lunch, Raw, Moist, Delicious, Salty & Heart Of Dankness. Educator and cultural observer

Show 397

Four Traumatic Years Later

In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, we asked a panel of distinguished guests to share their opinions on the outcome. Dr. Jennifer, Mercieca, professor of communications at Texas A & M University questioned the media’s involvement, “They put the camera in front of Donald Trump for a year and a half and they gave him over five billion dollars in free advertising, and they helped to normalize him as a credible candidate when he was a reality TV star.” Dr. Binoy Kampmark, senior lecturer & researcher in Global Studies at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia opined, “The very individuals who did matter in this vital and different election, call them the forgotten people, or the invisible ones, did actually turn up to vote. The blue-collar, white voter, a strange species who have been neglected by policymakers over the years. They were in the states that mattered.” Best-selling author, Mark Haskell Smith chastised the DNC, “We have to take the super delegates to task, they chose Clinton before there was even a vote in the primaries. She has turned out to be a complete disaster.” Famed caricaturist, Steve Brodner was angry, “Trump will damage the constitution! His backers are the alt-right!” Entertainment entrepreneur, Terry Morgan was saddened, “The number of people who did not vote, that was shocking. It’s the old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’.” “I shocked and depressed.” Said talented author Stephen O’Connor adding, “One of the best things to come out of this is that we on the left have a common enemy, we know what we have to fight for.” Comedian, actor, musician, author, and radio host, the irrepressible Dave Hill did not hold back, “Less than 25% of the country has helped to put the greatest piece of s*+t in office! This is without question the saddest week of my life! This is a triumph of ignorance and hate!”

All of those quotes are from four years ago. Yes, four undeniably traumatic years have passed by. And here we are facing another election. The “most important election of a lifetime” is heard ad nauseam. We are less than three days away from Election Day, but it may be days, weeks possibly before the official result is announced. Yet by Wednesday, November 4th we should all be certain of the outcome. This is why we will once again ask our panel of esteemed guests to share their opinions on the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. 

Show 396

How To Enjoy Social Distancing

No matter who you are, where you live or how much money you thought you had at the beginning of this past week, the fact is, we are all now living in uncertain times. Is this the same feeling of uncertainty my parents suffered at the beginning and throughout World War Two? Can we equate this pandemic with anything we may have endured before? The rows of empty shelves at the supermarkets, the stockpiling of food and, yes, toilet-paper is bizarre and disturbing. Restaurants, bars, and almost all businesses are closed, streets are empty of people and rush-hour traffic has dwindled to mostly UberEats deliveries. “Weird!” “Unbelievable!” “Crazy!” Are just some of the descriptive words you hear repeatedly in any given conversation. And, a new vocabulary has stormed our everyday dialogue. “Coronavirus” may be slightly amusing if you choose to believe Mexican beer is associated with a plague from China.  “COVID-19” is just plain scary. Forget the initials, what does the “19” mean? Then, there are two words that you never thought you’d hear together, “Social Distancing”. Talk about a wacky contradiction. “Social distancing? It’s a bit millennial-biased!” Exclaimed my friend MS who also believes, “Good music stopped being made around 1977!” I will admit to feeling a little awkward when I first uttered, “social distancing”. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue and yes, it does come across as a bit affected. Yet, here we are letting each other know we are doing it, we are “social distancing”. Now what? To help answer that bewildering question, we called upon some of our favorite guests who also happen to have exceptionally creative minds to share their thoughts on how to enjoy social distancing.

Film and media critic, Bob Ross, jaded as he sometimes pretends to be, always enthuses over his favorite movies. With a new book on the way, Demagogue For President – The Rhetorical Genius Of Donald Trump, Dr. Jennifer Mercieca turns away from politics to talk about baking while social distancing. The dry-humor of comedian, writer, musician, Dave Hill is unavoidable as he gives his sage advice on social distancing. While, best-selling author, Mark Haskell Smith offers pertinent tips for social distancing, plus enthusiastically raves about must-read books. Crosswords are Adrienne Raphel’s passion, her fascinating book, Thinking Inside The Box – Adventures With Crosswords And The Puzzling People Who Can’t Live Without Them was published just a couple of days ago, unavoidably in time for social distancing.

 

Show #365

Two Questions About Love

With Valentines Day just around the corner we gathered together a stellar cast of participants to share their thoughts on love by asking two questions:

1. What is love?

2. What is your favorite love song?

Dr. Jennifer Mercieca from Texas A & M University teaches classes on politics, media, and propaganda, but she also uses her academic acumen to answer our questions about love. Acclaimed creative director Robert Newman always has fascinating, cultural information to share, so you can expect his take on our love questions to be notable. Laura Palmer operates the impressive online station, WNRM The Root, her encyclopedic music knowledge suggests she will come up with a treat for What is your favorite love song? The distinctive voice of legendary singer-songwriter, Ronny Elliott suggests he has seen his fair share of love, so how will he answer our two questions? In our recent conversation, the unbridled honesty of new-discovery, Sylken Somers, we knew her views on love had to be included. The man who works with words for a living, Penguin-Random House copy chief, Benjamin Dreyer was an obvious candidate to answer two questions about love.

All of our guests tackle the first question, “What is love?” In a similar fashion, yet their answers are distinctive and clearly personal. For question number two, ‘What is your favorite love song?” Their answers are as surprising as they are different. Try and see if you can match the guest with their favorite love song:

Laura Nyro – Sexy Mama

Judie Tzuke – Under The Angels

Santana with Rob Thomas – Smooth

Sade – By My Side

Ella Fitzgerald – Always

Dayna Kurtz – Venezuela

 

Show #359

Shithole = Weaponized Communications

Once again, we are scratching our heads in what seems like a perpetual state of bewilderment. “How low can he go?” We continue to ask. A couple of days ago during a meeting in which the President rejected a bipartisan deal on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he described certain nations as “shithole countries.” The resulting worldwide reaction to Trumps’s language and sentiment is universal outrage. We already know we are in a new and different age with Trump, but what does this mean to us in daily life? What we will now accept in common discourse? To help us understand the question and search for answers we turn to Life Elsewhere contributor, Dr. Jennifer Mercieca, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Texas A & M University. The learned professor offers her well-considered opinions, always with an engaging twinkle of humor. Maybe he is not actually used to being listened to, so maybe he doesn’t understand as President he has a real impact on the world,” Says Dr. Mercieca, adding, “Trump has weaponized communications!”

The reports of Trump’s inflammatory comments at the meeting about peoples from what he calls, “poor and troubled countries”, prompted Norman B to revisit a compelling conversation he had with Dr. Rogy Masri of Doctors Without Borders. The dedicated Canadian doctor speaks from a makeshift medical facility, attending refugees in Tripoli. Do the unfortunate people Dr. Masri tries so hard to help, fit into Trump’s description of countries they may hail from?Rogy’s moving account of infants ravaged by rat bites, scabies and worse may one day if they manage to survive, remember the President of the United States showed his take on compassion by calling their homes, shitholes!

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The photo of a young Syrian refugee by Michael Goldfarb

Show #255

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