The Business Behind the Glamour “Woman of the Year Award”

Newsflash: Husband of 9/11 hero returns “Woman of the Year” award from ’01 after Caitlyn Jenner gets it.

Glamour has just awarded the “Woman of the Year” award to Caitlyn (formerly known as Bruce) Jenner which has prompted James Smith (the widower of Moira Smith who was the only female NYPD cop who died after rushing into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001) to return the award which Glamour awarded to his late wife.

When Glamour presented the award to honor Officer Moira, the award recognized the ultimate sacrifice made by one human in an effort to save thousands in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. With the award now going to Caitlyn Jenner, I’m guessing it recognizes the courage of the most famous man who became a woman.

Bruce Jenner isn’t the first man to become a woman but he is the most famous. As a former Olympic champion who once graced the Wheaties cereal box at the breakfast table to more recently his part in the Kardashian franchise, Caitlyn as a brand certainly offers monetization opportunities on a silver platter.

Like it or not, we live in a word where “what’s trending” directly relates into money. The more people talk about something, the more opportunities exist for advertisers to reach their audience, and that equates to financial opportunities. It’s a revenue stream – and a huge one. Caitlyn is big money right now. If you don’t agree, spend some time on social media and see just how many for-profit companies are talking about Caitlyn.

In the end, the award should go to anyone who fit’s the criteria in which the entity that created the award (in this case a for-profit company) deems fit. After all, it’s their award – and their busine$$.

Award or no award, what people do is what they do. Who they have an impact on is who they have an impact on. While awards are nice, we should always identify the fundamental reasoning behind an award so we an then apply the appropriate “value” of the award.

I’m don’t have an opinion as to whether James Smith is doing the right thing by returning the award given to his heroic wife and I don’t have an opinion on whether Glamour is doing the right thing by awarding one to Caitlyn Jenner. Glamour is a business and as such they are about making money first and foremost. Once you understand that intellectually, it completely negates any emotional aspects because they can’t fundamentally exist to begin with in this situation.

When Glamour says “we stand by our decision to honor Caitlyn Jenner”, they are standing behind their decision to be a for-profit company. No matter how you spin it, it only comes down to money.

For what it’s worth, I am eternally grateful to Moria Smith for her sacrifice and I give kudos to Bruce Jenner for giving inspiration to those who want to venture down that same path. Both admirable, one profitable.


John J. Simpson

On twitter @johnjsimpson





Review: Spinning Wheel by Engelbert Humperdinck & Gene Simmons

Engelbert & Gene

What happens when two music icons join forces to record an already great song? In this case, it’s pure magic! Engelbert Humperdinck and Gene Simmons joined forces and recorded “Spinning Wheel” for Engelbert’ “Calling” album and the result was magnificent.

Engelbert and Gene independently have charismatic, expressive, strong and mellifluous voices. They both exude total confidence and control yet can pepper in a dash of vulnerability when it suits the song.  In fact, there is an undertone to each of their voices that is quite similar and results in what seems to be a natural collaboration. Yet, at the same time, there voices offer very divergent characteristics that somehow couldn’t be more complementary to each other.

There are 12 notes in music. Therefore, what sets every melody, every groove & every song apart is what we do with those notes. Not just the arrangement/timing of the notes, but how we get from one note to the next. This process is what I call the “emotion of music” and both Engelbert and Gene exemplify an acute understanding and display of tremendous emotion in “Spinning Wheel”. This duet is real treat.

The song opens with an accelerating stacatto movement that immediately grabs your attention then quickly transitions into a slightly relaxed groove. Right as you get comfortable and settled in, Gene & Engelbert have a brief conversational-type exchange that lets you know you are in for a real treat and then the show begins.

In addition to the great vocal work by these two icons, the musicians who played all those instruments as the foundation of the song also did an outstanding job. “Spinning Wheel” holistically is strong, well recorded, mixed and mastered. It’s delightfully pleasing to the ear and emotionally energized for the soul.

“Spinning Wheel” – two iconic legends working together to create a unique work of art for the world to enjoy.

In a word: magnificent.

—John J. Simpson

on twitter at @johnjsimpson




Bill Cosby – To Be or Not To Be

Bill Cosby: To Be Be or Not To Be

There are several perspectives from which the Bill Cosby rape allegations situation can be viewed from. One of those perspectives is what I call the 50,000′ view. This perspective is exercised by those who have absolutely no vested interest in the case and who don’t have an opinion regarding the allegations because they realize they simply do not have the facts.  Another perspective is that of those who admire Bill Cosby and will be by his side no matter what. Yet another perspective is that of those who believe the accusers are doing the right thing by finally coming forward. In other words, completely neutral or the choosing of one side or the other. The latter two perspectives each offer a veritable plethora of opportunities for those seeking to find a highly-publicized event for which to accentuate/justify their own cause. Depending on your particular agenda, you likely have adopted one of these perspectives. I use the word “agenda” very specifically because every single person discussing this situation has a reason they are discussing it, myself included.

It’s all about opportunity in one form or another, and this situation affords itself a cornucopia of opportunity.  While this case should only be about truth, it has become much more to to so many. For that subset of people looking for justification to solidify their predetermined ideas and the opportunity to further their personal causes, this case is about race, sex, feminism, money & power.

For anyone to go through what the women who have come forward are saying they experienced is morally, ethically and legally wrong. Justice should be and needs to be handed down, there is no doubt about that. But, before you jump the gun and make an assumption of what I mean, read on. If Bill Cosby did as he is accused, justice needs to be served by him. If the accusers are making false allegations, then justice needs to be served by each and every one of them. There is an abundance of wrong doing in this case and each side has something to lose and/or gain. The stakes are high & therefore the extent to which each side will go to win cannot be ignored. But to keep things in the proper perspective, we must realize that winning  the legal case doesn’t always equate to what really happened. That, in and of itself, is demonstrative of our need to look deeper (assuming our agenda is truth and not opportunity).

From a structural standpoint, the legal case involves the defendant and his legal team & the prosecution & their legal team. The defense has 1 job and that is to defend their client & get a not guilty verdict. Everything they do is done with that end-goal in mind. This means, in part, looking for loopholes, looking for a lack of credible evidence, looking to discredit accusers & prosecution witnesses, etc. Loopholes have always been an interesting concept to me. For example, if a policeman enters your home without a warrant, searches your home and finds illegal drugs, the drugs aren’t admissible in court because the officer didn’t have a search warrant. Therefore, no charge. And yet, the fact is drugs were in the home.

The prosecution  also has 1 job and that is to win the apposing guilty verdict. They too look for, in part,  loopholes and ways to discredit all defense witnesses. Establishing the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt is up to the prosecution and must be done within the rules of law. As previously established, law enforcement can’t afford to make any mistakes or they risk critical evidence being dismissed and potentially a not guilty verdict (even though guilt may be factual).

As is often the case, the only people who know what actually happened are those who are directly involved. In this case, it is only Bill Cosby and each of the accusers who know. Every other person on the planet can believe they know & worse, can & do tell others as if they know. Regardless, the fact is we don’t know. We believe what we believe and we think what we think. It’s our own moral make-up that comes through when it comes to our chosen narrative.

The correct and appropriate narratives at this point should go like this:

  • It’s not “he’s guilty”, it’s “if he’s guilty”
  • It’s not “I know he did it”, it’s “I think he did it”
  • It’s not “she’s lying”, it’s “I think she’s lying”
  • It’s not “they’re all taking advantage”, it’s “I think they’re all taking advantage”.
  • It’s amazing how different it is when we add that one word “think”.

In full disclosure, I grew up a huge fan Bill Cosby. I watched every one of his shows and had almost every one of his albums. The highlight of my summers during school was staying up until 2am to listen to “Comedy Spot” on the radio just so I could hear Bill on the radio. However, I realize that these allegations could be true, and I realize they could be false. I don’t think I will ever know for 100% certain as our justice system doesn’t guarantee that. However, I enjoyed growing up with Bill Cosby and any outcome in this case won’t change the enjoyment I experienced at those times. Will I continue to watch him on TV & buy his albums? I suspect that decision (justifiably or not) has already been made for me.

As for my agenda in all of this, I simply want to encourage people to think.

–John J. Simpson

twitter @johnjsimpson