We have to better value life

March 2, 2010

In the wake of another natural disaster, another opportunity for humanity to rise above its surroundings materializes. Only, instead, we continue to see misery, lack of compassion and lack of valuing life and principles.

As it is, it’s hard to fathom and grasp the concept of suicide bombers, monsters that not only don’t value their own life, but are prepared to end the lives of others. Now comes the sickening and depressing anecdotes of victims being victimized – again. It seems that looters are prepared to rob others of anything they need or want, at the worst possible time. Looters in Haiti and Chile don’t discriminate. They target large stores, mom & pop stores, it really doesn’t matter, all in the name of taking advantage of a situation, no matter the cost to others.

As humans, parents and citizens of the earth, shouldn’t we be bound to instill decency, mores and compassion  into our youth? How is it actually possible that we are raising people who can commit such hateful and disrespectful acts?

What goes through the mind of someone when they are committing a murder or robbing the already victimized? Is it mental disturbance? Morbid satisfaction? Brainwashed purpose? What is it? And furthermore, how can a functioning brain process ending the life of a fellow human being? It’s just something I can’t wrap my head around.

This sadness, this senselessness, its’ enough to wreak havoc with your ability to hope and rationalize and forgive.

We must do something as a collective. But what? There can really be only one answer – education. It’s the only weapon we have in the fight against evil. Educating the young. Educating the incarcerated. Educating the enemy. The fight can’t merely be on the battlefield, it has to spill over into the academic realm.

Right and wrong isn’t innate, it’s taught. Everyone has their own variation of what’s right and what’s wrong. The key is to simply be on the same page, worldwide.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group or become a follower of Matthew at Twitter.com/matthewrossmtl.

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My 10 best sitcoms of the last last 30 years

May 22, 2009

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group or become a follower of Matthew at Twitter.com/matthewrossmtl.

Ordinarily, my blog is reserved for more reflective entries, but I couldn’t resist a stab at my favorite ten situational comedies of the last 30 years. Obviously, this is an exercise in opinion, nothing more. I wouldn’t pretend to speak for a generation, or two. Contrary to what sites will claim, EVERY cheesy top ten list is subjective, every single last one of them.

At any rate, I’m someone who has always found refuge, comfort and a sense of reassurance through television comedies. Call it interesting, sad, pathetic, whatever you want. But our family always bonded over a good episode of a classic sitcom. Whether it was gathering on the couch after dinner, flopping on my bed and watching after school, or catching a late night rerun – TV comedies always had their place in my life, growing up.

Nowadays, I don’t have the same amount of time to devote to these great shows. But, I still catch an episode every now and then of a great comedic program. And when I do, a specific scene or joke can instantly take me back to the first time I saw that episode. It could have been laughing alongside my dad, watching my mom cringe at a bad innuendo, or making fun of my sister after an unusually loud cackle (followed by the launch of an object, most of the time a tissue box, at my person).

What makes a good sitcom, according to me? Glad you asked. First of all, I believe you need to have at least two unique characters on the show. Characters that are no doubt funny, but also quirky, multi-layered and very charismatic.

In terms of actors, you want to great timing, a good range of facial expressions that match the dialogue and the ability to make you want to see where they will take their character.

So, as I have explained, this is not a list that I believe to be the best of all-time, it’s just my favorite ten programs. Take from it what you will.

# 10. WKRP in Cincinnati – The oldest entry on my list, this sitcom ran from ’78-’82, but ballooned in syndication. Howard Hessman was the real genius in this program. He worked hard at making Dr. Johnny Fever look like he didn’t work hard at anything. Gordon Jump was priceless as the bumbling station manager Arthur Carlson and Richard Sanders was even more clueless as newsman Les Nessman.

The plots were outlandish, the cast turnover done seamlessly and who could forget the episode where they dropped live turkeys from a helicopter?

# 9. Family Matters – I know what you’re thinking, “Are you crazy?” But this show was well done. Think about it. A comedy that ran from ’89-’97 and mainly on Friday night, when people are supposedly not watching television. This show really took off when the rapport between Steve Urkel and Carl Winslow was harnessed. Their misadventures and tried and tested formula of Steve pissing off Carl never got old.

The show waned towards the end when the cast kept changing, but it was a great bridge from traditional comedies from the 70’s and 80’s, to the newer sitcoms that were ushered in during the 90’s.

# 8. Cosby Show – Some readers will be shocked that this series is this low on my list. However, the last few years of the show were a shell of the first few. Changeover in cast really made this series go out with nothing more than a whimper. Still, watching Bill Cosby interact with kids and lay down his parenting laws was the key to its success.

From ’84-”92, this NBC show broke ground and was more a part of pop culture than any other show during its tenure. The incredible guest star power also had fans coming back for more.

# 7. Night Court – Another NBC show that also ran from ’84-’92, this series excelled by playing to the strengths of its actors. I personally liked this show so much because of the eccentric characters, the multiple ‘aside’ conversations that went on during every episode and the creative idea of having a courthouse as the central focal point.

While Harry Anderson got on your nerves every once in a while, you could never get enough of the outrageous antics of John Laroquette’s Dan Fielding character. One of the best ‘skirt chaser’ creations ever hatched for television.

# 6. Fresh Prince of Bel Air – The most popular show amongst my peers during my high school days, this was the coolest show to ever come around. Mixing the element of whatever was cool at the time, and a ton of fat and short jokes helped this series stay alive and vibrant.

From ’90-’96, this show was the talk of school recesses everywhere, and cemented Will Smith’s place in pop culture lore. It’s one of those rare shows that could have gone on another couple of seasons without losing its appeal. But Smith decided to pack it up and try his hand at feature films. I’d say it worked out well. Still, it would have been great to see another couple of seasons of Uncle Phil throwing Jazz out the front door.

# 5. Roseanne – A tremdous cast chemistry and an ever-evolving main character made this series special. The impeccable timing of Roseanne Barr and John Goodman made this series go. From ’88-’97, it was ABC’s mainstay in the top rated Nielsen shows.

While the program started to get a little silly with its plotlines towards the end, those first few years depicting a lower middle-class family were precious, to say the least. Any family that struggled with money could intimately relate to the Connor family.

# 4. News Radio – A very underappreciated series in its time (’95-’99), this was one of the quirkiest programs I’ve ever seen. Similar to WKRP in that it was a radio station setting, this show had some of the most silly and creative storylines on television.

The brilliance of Phil Hartman as newsman Bill McNeil and the irreverance of Stephen Root as Jimmy James, kept me watching each season. Root’s portrayal as the eccentric billionaire James was, in my opinion, one of the greatest characters in the history of sitcoms.

Still, the show could get annoying with Andy Dick and the whining of Maura Tierney. But it was still one of my favourites.

# 3. Seinfeld – Some who know me would ask how this series is only third on my list. I’m not sure. Perhaps it is because I am a little sick of it at the moment. It just never went away. The show is on more times a day than weather reports.

However, from ’89-’98, no show was celebrated or created more catch phrases than Seinfeld. The show’s first couple of years weren’t anything to write home about. But, by the third season, it really rounded into form.

The ability to turn nothing into an entire episode was its trademark. That, and the incredible timing and chemistry the four main characters developed. Perhaps it was the lack of innovation that stunted its rise on my list. No matter, it was still a fantastic sitcom.

# 2. Two And A Half Men – Some will be surprised to see a current sitcom crack this list. But, if you have ever watched one episode, you will absolutely fall in love with the series.

Since 2003, the same formula has prevailed. A lot of sexual innuendos that push the boundaries of network television, several jokes at the expense of the dim witted son Jake and the romantically inept father Alan, and a whole lot of deadpan reactions from Charlie Sheen. Sheen and Jon Cryer are stunningly on the same page every episode and flourish as an on-screen duo. The characters have stayed true to form from day 1 until today.

# 1. Cheers – Not a contest. Airing from ’82-’93, no program ever stimulated my imagination or had so many lovable characters as this series. The cast chemistry was outstanding, the ‘aside’ conversations and storylines were very complimentary and the lead character Sam Malone was someone you always rooted for.

I loved the blue collar characters mixing with the white collar characters and guest stars, and the ability of the show’s writers to tease a romantic plot was simply unmatched. I sorely miss seeing where each character would have ended up and I think it was by far the best sitcom I ever followed.

I hope you enjoyed my list. It was a blast to create.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group or become a follower of Matthew at Twitter.com/matthewrossmtl.

Education fixes all

May 8, 2009

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group or become a follower of Matthew at Twitter.com/matthewrossmtl.

Everyone wants to know how to combat terrorism, how to get rid of prejudice and how to stop the spread of disease. It might be the most elementary and simple explanation of all-time and it can be said with one word; education.

Indeed, it is my adamant stance that if the U.S. wants to curb terrorism abroad, they are going to have to help fund state schools. The supply of suicide bombers will undoubtedly dry up once these young souls see how much they have to live for and what they can do to fix their current situation.

Imagine if you will, a smarter world, where common sense, diplomacy and rational thinking prevail rather than shooting from the hip and religious fundamentalism.

And how about the spread of HIV in poor countries? Educating the population on how sexually transmitted diseases are spread is the obvious key to slowly down the title wave of death.

Governments don’t need to fund militias in other countries, they need to fund and build schools. But, because the results are not seen right away and because it’s not seen as a popular move for politicians, we don’t see enough of this.

A solution as simple as broadening the mind can actually change the world for the better.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group or become a follower of Matthew at Twitter.com/matthewrossmtl.

In this case, activist=vandal

March 17, 2009

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group.

Dear Word Press Reader, it’s been several months since my last entry. I am sorry for this inexcusable sin. We will try and make things right with this attempt at eyeball entertainment.

So, what’s gone on in the world since my last entry, anything? Well, if you count Obama being sworn in (twice), the stimulus package, the Madoff scandal and the harsh economic climate, I guess there are some items worth commenting on.

However, my ire is reserved for those that demonstrated in a violent and destructive manner. Living in Montreal, you can’t help but pick up the paper read about someone demonstrating about something. The latest malcontents were out and about to draw the public’s attention to police brutality.

It seems there have been more than a couple of recent incidents of excessive force by the police around North America. It’s always been like that. That doesn’t make it right, but it’s definitely a part, no matter how small, of law enforcement, to be sure.

But, the spectable that these recent demonstrators made in Montreal, on an otherwise fine Sunday afternoon, was shameful. Over $200,000 in vandalism was caused by these so-called demonstrators against brutality.

So let’s see. To speak out and show your contempt for violence, you (the demonstrators) chose to cause havoc, chaos and damage to the property of innocent merchants. Hmmm, yeah, sounds like a constructive plan. Well done. Well thought out.

Now, as is the case with any of these activist groups, they say that the vandalism was caused by a few bad apples and that this was not their fault. Riiiight, these vandals were just out for a stroll with ski masks and rocks in their hand. That Jim Carrey quote from The Mask comes to mind, “It wasn’t me, it was the one-armed man!”

Why does destructione of property have to be the solution to a plight or problem? What do these mindless, moronic, idiotic, inbred, classless, ignorant fools hope to accomplish with their actions? Perpetuating their stupidity? If so, well done!

But the best part of all of this was that this activist group refuses to cooperate with the police and the city of Montreal to let them know about their demonstration route. Are they hoping to incite disorganization and foster ill will? What is the point of not cooperating?

Any group that either encourages violence or vandalism, or does very little to prevent it, should be looked upon as a problem in society. The truth is, just as police brutality is a problem, so too are anarchists who don’t offer solutions and who add to society’s problems. This bunch may not have brutalized anyone gravely, but they certainly didn’t help anyone or anything, either.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada. You can view/join the show’s Facebook group.

Little Options for Israel

December 29, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

I am not the most opinionated person when it comes to the middle east conflict between Israel and Palestine. However, it’s hard not to weigh in after the latest clashes in the region. It’s a very troubling time for Israelis and Palestinians and it is very unfortunate that violence has once again escalated on both sides.

As far as my take goes, I never like to see innocent men and women killed in any country for any reason. However, there really are very little options right now for the state of Israel when it comes to Hamas. As demonstrators denounce the recent attacks by Israel on the Gaza Strip, the sight of thousands of people voicing their displeasure with only the Israeli side has really started to eat at me.

Let’s examine the situation here, shall we? Before people scoff at the reasons Israel has for eliciting such casualties and death tolls in Palestine, we must look at the entire picture.

First, the mere fact that Hamas’ mantra is the destruction of Israel makes the avenue of diplomacy a little difficult, to say the least. How do you negotiate in good faith with an organization that wants to wipe you off the map? What can you honestly do to appeal to their needs and wants?

Next, the constant barrage of rockets being fired on Israeli citizens necessitates Israel exerting themselves in some fashion. The question then becomes how much force is too much force.

Yes, the West Bank settlements may or may not be just by Israel. Are a few hundred homes on disputed land really worth the wrath, ire and trouble from Hamas? The answer, in my opinion, is no. But the problem isn’t with the settlements angering Palestinians, the problem is that even if Israel removed the settlements, it wouldn’t change a thing.

Again, we have to remember that Israel is dealing with an entity that wants to completely eliminate their existence. So, do you really think giving small land concessions is going to change anything? Not likely.

And what about how it would look to the rest of the Arab world if Israel stood by and did nothing following recent attacks by Hamas? Wouldn’t they then appear to be vulnerable to the rest of the Arab world? Wouldn’t it then open them up to subsequent attacks from Hamas allies? Maybe. Maybe not. Tough to say. Restraint could be looked upon in a favorable light. Or, as we mentioned, it could be a sign of weakness.

So there really isn’t any simple recourse right now for Israel. They MUST protect themselves at all costs. Critics will argue that there is such a thing as over-aggressiveness and blanketed violence is simply irresponsible. That is true to a point. The killing of innocent Palestinians is not the way to go about achieving peace.

But where are the constant condemnations of Hamas or of the daily rocket launches into Israel? Why do we not see daily demonstrations against Hamas for wanting to eliminate Israel and for not wanting peace? Where are the Palestinians standing up and denouncing terrorism and wanting peace?

If it was only about tenements in the West Bank, this would be about diplomacy and we wouldn’t have violence on both sides -but it’s not. It’s about a terrorist organization that’s not interested in open dialogue.

Moreover, to condemn Israel’s recent attacks and denounce their policies as genocidal is extremely ignorant. Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets to protest Israel’s actions but not the reason for their actions in the first place!

Do you think Israel wants to be at war and wants to risk the lives of their citizens with intense fighting? No. They want peace and they want prosperity. Yes, there are extremist Zionists who want more than they should and who aren’t willing to negotiate with Palestine or recognize its existence. It does go both ways, to be sure. But the bigger issue right now isn’t Israel defending itself by going on the offensive, it’s the mere purpose of Hamas and how they are not interested in political channels.

It’s a topic that is very personal to many people and for someone like myself, who has never been to Israel and who has no interest in visiting any time soon, even I can see the bigger issue and realize that it seems to always come down to terrorism and it’s not simply about excessive force.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

If you’re English and you know it, clap your hands – then vote!

November 21, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

As an anglophone residing in Montreal, Canada, I am afforded many great luxuries in life. I have free access to healthcare, crime is fairly irrelevant and my education was more than affordable. But there’s one element that has always been a battle for me and for all 13% of us English-speaking Quebeckers: our right to speak our own language in public.

For many years now, it has become increasingly harder to function in our own tongue. You can’t call any government service, provincial or federal, without getting a unilingual francophone on the other end of the line. The last time I checked, no referendum on sovereignty was passed as of yet and a new country was not declared. As long as Quebec is a part of Canada, they too must be a fully bilingual province just like every other province. Imagine, living in a country, no matter where, and not being served in one of the official two languages.

Now comes word with the Quebec provincial election approaching, that the separatist Parti Quebecois wants to make things even tougher for English people in the province (read this article ASAP) – and English businesses too for that matter. Citing the erosion of the French language as carte blanche to continue to violate the rights of English people in the province, the PQ are acting as though if they get into power they are saving the French language from the big, bad English people.

These are the same people that brought us a funded language police, allowed to go around to stores and shops and fine businesses for having any English signs or lettering that is the same size as French lettering. They have also managed to ensure that any non-Quebec born English person living in the province has to send his/her children to French schools. Riiiiight, and the French language is the one eroding. Makes sense.

The upcoming December 8th election in Quebec could actually determine the fate of English people in the province for the next decade. If somehow the underdog PQ overtake the incumbent Liberals for control of Quebec, they will continue their systematic dismantling of everything and anything English.

With Montreal hosting this year’s CFL Championship termed the Grey Cup, thousands of Canadians have flocked to the city. You’d think Quebec would be welcoming of the tourist bump, roll out the red carpet for visitors and make them feel at home. Wrong. The city couldn’t even mandate bilingual menus at public festivity food stops – no doubt the work of the meaningful language police.

Bottom line, let’s hope the Liberals win the election so us English folk are allowed to continue practicing our crazy way of speaking. If not, I may be forced to translate this blog into French and perform several hundred hours of community service. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if indeed Quebec did separate and I simply missed the memo. “Sigh,” I miss Canada already.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

One Word – Passion

October 30, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

Passion. It’s something that helps to drive me in anything I undertake. I have to have passion about something in order to really push myself to succeed. But, passion can also get me into trouble if I want it too much. Passion. One word – and yet it’s says so much about me.

Being a sports nut, passion has always fueled me to give it my all (no matter how insufficient that may sometimes be) all the time. It doesn’t matter if I am playing in a softball league or in a pick-up game of ball hockey. I play to have fun and I have fun when I am competing hard to win. I don’t necessarily need to win. But, I do need to feel as though I and my teammates are playing our hardest. Unfortunately, when you are playing a meaningless game of ball hockey at 10pm on a Friday night in a local gym, it’s kind of hard not to look like a jackass when you are hollering and howling.

Having passion means I can’t stand it when others don’t try. Indifference is a turn-off. So is laziness. I have always battled for everything I have ever gotten, so it pisses me off to see someone doggin’ it. I was once playing ball hockey with this goofy big guy (playing forward) who would never come back and help on defence. His explanation made me want to punch him square in his ridiculous chicklets. He said “I don’t run that hard. I have an office job now.” What? Are you kidding me? Exactly what is the point in competing if you are not going all out? Do you enjoy embarassing yourself by looking like you don’t care? Do you like appearing incompetent?

Passion is also what excites me about my work. The notion that I can cleverly craft content and make it intriguing and attractive to others gets me hyped. My passion for this high lets me step on the gas and get the job done. Whether it’s entertaining listeners on my radio show or completing a marketing project for a client – if I don’t have passion driving me, the project is going to just plain suck.

And so it really is a double-edged sword wearing my passion on my sleeve. My highs are sometimes too high and my lows are pretty low. The key is to put things in perspective and maintain an even keel. For the most part, I tend to stay grounded and keep the big picture in mind. And what is my big picture? Well, it’s providing for my family, advancing my career in various disciplines and seeking out the next great passion in life.

Passion. One word – and yet it says so much about me.

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

Voters Don’t Get A Passing Grade

October 15, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

When I was in school, 60 percent was a passing grade. When my dad was in school, 50 percent was a passing grade. Some schools peg 65 percent as their passing or failing point. Whatever your definition of sink or swim, democracy in Canada lost big time with the recent federal election. Unbelievably, only 59 percent of eligible voters turned out to support their candidates at the polls. It’s an apalling number when you consider that the United States and Brittain were safely over the 60 percent mark in their last elections.

So what does this say about the campaign that politicians ran in Canada? Well, it says they didn’t inspire, they didn’t identify with voters and they didn’t stir up any kind of passion one way or another during the entire campaign.

Personally, I think it was a disgusting turnout. We should be embarassed as a nation to turn out less than 60 percent at the polls.  What’s next, 55 percent? How about 50%? Maybe it will be 45 percent? At that point, we may as well be overthrown by a military madman and become a dictatorship (Gilles Duceppe would make an awesome hated dictator).

Why bother having a democracy if we don’t re-affirm it each election time? The old adage of people dying for the right to vote in various parts of the world should never grow old. We all lost face with these results and we should be ashamed of ourselves. What was the problem, was it too much time for us to spend at the polling station? It took me only 25 minutes round-trip, how much more could it have taken at the worst-run polling station.

If you didn’t vote, then you should take a good long look in the mirror and wonder what you are doing living in Canada. You did your country a grave disservice by not voting and you disrespected all of the freedoms and liberties that our troops fight to protect and promote all around the world. By abstaining during this past election, you may think you were proving a point or harmlessly displaying indifference, but you did more than that. You tarnished the image of Canada as a free state populated by people with intelligence, a sense of right and above all else; pride in their country. Our pride swagger is a little less evident today.

What does it say about a country when the province (Quebec) that wants out the most turns out the best voter percentage? Judging by the amount of Bloc MPs going to Ottawa, it says all is not right with the process.

Exactly what does Canada need to get back on track? Well, seeing as we will probably have another election in two year’s time, it says we need some new leadership and it says we need politicians to listen to what the people want. But just because our leaders failed us, doesn’t mean we are all off the hook. It also means we need to show up in droves and put this pathetic turnout behind us if we want to restore the image of Canada as a democratic nation that believes in what it stands for.

You may think I am being a little over-dramatic, but I don’t. We are on the brink of economic destruction and we get a record-low turnout? You have got to be kidding me. I understand we need our leaders to be more charismatic and unifying. But, we also have to rely on ourselves as well. The election down south may be intriguing for most of us, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore what is going on in our own backyard. Let’s accept our reprimand for a low turnout like good men and women and right the wrong next time around.  For the sake of Canadian democracy, we must!

Matthew Ross is the founder of ContentServicing.com, a content and communications provider. You can view/join its Facebook group. He is also the host of Game Points on THE TEAM 990AM in Montreal, Canada.

Going Negative

October 7, 2008

Matthew Ross is the founder of www.ContentServicing.com, a content and communications-providing company. You can also view/join the company’s Facebook group.

In marketing and communications, you try and always spin things in a positive way. You try and ensure that your company or entity is always looked upon in a positive light. Makes sense, right?

Well, in politics, the notion of positivity is second to the notion of going negative. Each side, no matter how many times they initially say they are above attacking the other, eventually goes negative. It’s not enough to merely dispute an opponent’s claim or to refute a claim by the other side. Instead, the flavour of every election is to go for the throat as many times as possible – no matter what side you’re on.

It happens in Canadian politics and it certainly happens in American politics. No matter how many polls reveal that the general public doesn’t enjoy seeing negative ads, everyone invariably goes negative. Why? Well a different survey comes to mind. A couple of years ago, CNN conducted an experiment. They tested the subconscious activity in the brain when subjected to various types of political messages. The results were quite interesting. Even though we all believe that negative ads are simply cheap and hit below the belt, we apparently are affected by them – and in some cases, influenced by them as well.

But the Republicans in the U.S. and the Conservatives in Canada already knew this. Their usage of various scare tactics have become legendary over the years.

Recently, the Conservative Party of Canada has been running ads portraying their chief rival, Stephane Dion, the head of the Liberal Party of Canada, as a risky choice that would raise taxes and be too unpredictable for the country. Down south, GOP Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin recently accused Barrack Obama of “pal-ing around” with dangerous world leaders. In both cases, the insinuations are mostly off-base, but it doesn’t matter.

These scare tactics are effective, regardless of the messages’ merit. It’s incredible to think that simplistic mud-slinging can yield such great results. But unfortunately, many voters in North America think simplistically when it comes to how they view their leaders.

The problem with the left wing negative ads, is that for the most part, their attacks usually focus on the narrow-minded thinking and potential dangerous decision-making of their right wing opponents. Everyone knows the usual risks with right wing candidates. Tell us something we don’t know.

The bottom line is that right wing parties on this continent are good at what they do. They use voters’ fears as fuel to lasso as many votes as possible. Usually, the key for them is to identify the biggest fears of the time and craft their attacks around these issues.

In 2004, 9/11 was still on the minds of voters and so the Republicans focused their efforts on their seemingly tougher stance on terrorism. It worked. In 2008, the chief issue WAS the war in Iraq. Now, it’s all about the economy. And with more and more Americans identifying the GOP’s de-regulation ideals in finance as the root cause for America’s economic meltdown, it appears as though Democrats finally have enough fuel for their most effective negative ad campaign in years.

Time will tell if another issue trumps the economy prior to the U.S. election in November. For John McCain’s sake, he certainly hopes so.

Matthew Ross is the founder of www.ContentServicing.com, a content and communications-providing company. You can also view/join the company’s Facebook group.

If Obama wants to win, here is what he has to do

September 19, 2008

It’s so simply. I am going to keep this entry short and sweet. Barack Obama can win the November election quite easily if he does one thing: name his team beforehand.

Surrounding yourself with the best is what George Bush did. Only, Obama should name his team prior to the election. And even though he may not want to make this election about leaders other than him, it’s something he has to do to pick up some of Hillary Clinton supports and some of the soft Republican votes.

Here’s the plan:

-Name Hillary Clinton in charge of fixing healthcare

-Name John Edwards in charge of eliminating poverty

-Name Michael Bloomberg in charge of fixing the economy

-Name Joe Biden in charge of foreign policy.

If Obama demonstrates the organizational skills of a true leaders and gives undecided voters some of these heavy-hitting names to chew on, it would help him immensely. All of the Clinton supporters that were lost to McCain would suddenly come flocking back.

It’s ingenious and it would work.