Here’s the deal. Tuesday night represented the first of three presidential debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and using the word debate here is debatable in itself. The reaction from around the world was extremely critical, mostly saying it made a mockery of American politics. Indeed, you would likely see more intellectual content in an argument on Love Island, where one girl famously asked if Brexit would mean “we wouldn’t have any cheese?.”
It didn’t just make a mockery out of the U.S, but the elderly too. Biden, 77, and Trump, 74, can not exactly be excused for being young and foolish, yet they seemed to defy their age in an odd paradox as the debate more closely resembled an argument between toddlers than a coherent discussion between old men. “I feel like I am intruding on an intimate moment at a nursing home” and “Next time they should get Supernanny to moderate” are two highlights from the YouTube comment section of the debate, and the newspapers were not much kinder. In the UK, The Times wrote “The clearest loser from the first Presidential debate... was America”, The Guardian described it as a “National humiliation...the rest of the world - and future historians - will presumably look at it and weep.” French newspaper, Liberation, described it as “chaotic, childish and gruelling” whilst La Republica from Italy suggested “Never had American politics sunk so low.”
There were many ‘never’ moments, in fact. Never had something been so entertaining, boring and frightening simultaneously. Entertaining because you cannot help but chuckle at the current state America has found itself in, boring because their arguments were devoid of any substance or policy and frightening because these two men have been selected as the prime candidates to run the most powerful country in the world.
‘Twitter Trump’ was out on full display. He constantly interrupted Biden - 73 times according to CBS, and justified the lack of the 77-year-olds intelligence by his college degree, claiming Biden “graduated with the lowest or almost the lowest in (his) class. Don’t use the word smart with me.” This is the same man that justified his own intelligence by completing an ‘Alzheimer's test’. The President also failed to denounce white supremacy, acting more as the leader of ‘Proud Boys’, the far-right neo-nazi male only organization. When pushed to tell the group not to cause violence, Trump told them to “stand by and stand down”, words which have since been celebrated by Proud Boys, whilst switching the attention to the far left, saying they were much more of a problem.
Biden fared better according to most, if only because Trump didn’t let him speak. He kept composed throughout most of Trump’s attacks, although he did lose his cool a few times, notably calling Trump a “a clown” and shouting “would you shut up man”, but few could blame him for that. Biden also failed to truly use the insurmountable amount of ammunition, including Trump’s ‘hidden taxes’ and his response to Coronavirus, to form a cohesive attack at Trump, who always seems to drown any scandal out with his own contradictory words. Biden also failed to clearly state what the deal actually was, despite saying “here’s the deal” a countless number of times.
Reports suggest that the rules are now changing for the next debate; including a measure to cut the microphones if candidates try to interrupt each other. 74 and 77 years old, fighting to be the leader of the most powerful country in the world, and external forces are having to impose measures so the two candidates can talk. That’s the deal.
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Is Zoom becoming too popular for its own good?
Zoom, in less than a year, has become the most popular video conference app, beating Skype who held that title for several years. Yet, with Zoom becoming an integral part of our ‘new normal’, people are thinking that it is on its way to becoming ‘genericised’.
No longer is Zoom simply a name for an app, but it has become a noun (I have a 9am Zoom), adjective (they’re having a Zoom wedding), and even a verb (let’s Zoom!). This is very similar to how many say, “I’ll google it”, when they actually mean “I’ll look for an answer.” Genericised brands certainly aren’t a new thing though, with Hoover, Bubble Wrap, Velcro & Jacuzzi all being so synonymous that people use their brand names to refer to all similar products.
Surely this is great news for Zoom, whose revenue jumped 355% between May- July of this year to £497m? Well, if Zoom’s popularity continues to rise and the demand for the product continues to grow, the business may end up like Aspirin. Bayer, the producer of Aspirin, actually lost a battle to keep their trademark because of how popular it had become. The court claimed that because people only knew the drug by its brand name Aspirin rather than by “acetyl salicylic acid”, that other manufacturers were allowed to start selling their tablets under the name Aspirin too.
Should we be napping at work?
Whether you’re having to do your morning meetings in the office or Zoom from home, there are undoubtedly workdays when you would love nothing more than to go back to sleep. Well James Maas, the man who coined the term ‘Power Nap’ thinks that businesses and their employees would both benefit if napping was encouraged, with people, both in the UK & US, usually achieving less than seven hours of sleep a night!
According to an article in the journal Sleep, “napping facilitates creative problem solving and logical reasoning, boosts the capacity for future learning and consolidates memories.” Of course, napping will never give the same level of benefits as a good night’s sleep but maybe more companies should join the likes of Google & NASA who have sleeping pods installed in their offices, to allow their workers some time to reset in the day. Proctor and Gamble even use special lighting to regulate melatonin, helping employees to relax more in the afternoon so they should sleep better than evening.
However, not every business can facilitate sleeping rooms and high-tech, music-playing napping pods. Yet, simply allowing initiatives like flexi-time has been seen to improve people’s moods and productivity, allowing early birds to start work early in the morning, and those who love to lie-in can work later into the afternoon, allowing them to follow their own body clock more closely. Some businesses, in an attempt to push back against the typical corporate lifestyle, are even enforcing rules where you’re not allowed to send emails outside of working hours as people should focus on properly relaxing after a hard day’s work.
Word of the week
to get or achieve (something) by guile, trickery, or manipulation.
‘To finagle a presidential election’