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Word of Mouth 09.22.2012

Part 1: Big Fundraiser Flame-Out, Circa 1884

Mitt Romney’s campaign is trying to contain blow back from a secretly recorded video at a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser. With less than fifty days until the election, Romney’s leaked comments, in which he dismisses 47% of the country as “dependent on government,” is dominating political coverage at a time when Romney is already down in the polls. It may be little relief to Romney staffers to know that there is an historical precedent to this media debacle. Colombia University historianRichard John wrote in Bloomberg about a dinner with high rollers that sank presidential hopeful James G. Blaine, back in 1884. For more political satire from the early 1900's check out Puck Magazineand Judge Magazine

Here is the video from Romney's fateful fundraiser: 

Part 2: Addressable Ads/Maple Syrup Heist

Personalized, addressable ads are finally hitting our televisions. Ad Age'sBrian Steinberg explains how they're doing something that seems a little too Minority Reportto be true.


We in New Hampshire tend to think of ourselves as living in the heart of maple syrup country –in reality, Canada is by far the largest producer. Seventy-five percent of the world’s supply is tapped in the province of Quebec alone. News of a recent – and rather daring heist at Canada’s strategic maple syrup reserve had us wondering what happened and, since when does Canada have a strategic maple syrup reserve? Jordan Weissman answered those sticky questions in an article for the Atlantic magazine – he joins us to fill us in. 

Part 3: Gamers as Athletes/Atmosphere at Hardees

For the industry that makes and sells them, video games are an over twenty-five billion dollar business. For the millions of consumers they sell them to, they’re an every day part of home life. And for a select few, playing video games is even a competitive and potentially lucrative career path. The BBC's Matt Danzico recently attended an event held by the MLG – or major league gaming – where international gaming champions square off for big money in front of big crowds. The event prompted Matt to ask the question,“are pro-gamers our 21st century athletes?” 


Credit Powerplantop via Flickr Creative Commons

Since spring of this year, our Shifting the Balance series has explored how environmental and social factors affect the way people eat…and how those factors play in to America’s obesity epidemic. A recently publishedstudy in Pyschology reports demonstrates how setting the right mood at meal time can help diners cap their calories.  

Part 4: My Heart is an Idiot

In his new book, My Heart is an Idiot, Davy Rothbart chronicles his shocking and sometimes disturbing real life stories about traveling around America, looking for love, and meeting strangers who take strange to a whole new level. He’s also the creator of Found Magazineand a regular contributor to This American Life


Check out the documentary about Davy:

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