Metastatic wokeism.

Harvard President Claudine Gay speaks during a hearing of the House Committee on Education on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

Paul GleiserMetastatic wokeism.


Among the dumbest people on the planet are big corporation marketing officers and elite university presidents.

Let’s start with Pankaj Bhalla, the former North America brand director for Gillette. Remember the “Best Men Can Be” commercial that Gillette produced in January 2019? Responding to the “Me Too” movement, the commercial stereotyped the entirety of the American male population as sexist, misogynist, bullying and toxic. The commercial resulted in a torrent of condemnation, including my column of January 24, 2019.

Procter & Gamble, Gillette’s parent company, wound up taking an $8 billion charge to earnings to write down the value of Gillette. Gillette’s market share has never recovered.

Does Alissa Heinerscheid ring a bell? No? What if I say Bud Light? Ms. Heinerscheid was the marketing exec behind the Dylan Mulvaney fiasco last April that tanked Bud Light’s once industry-leading market share while killing about $5 billion of the market capitalization of AB-Inbev, the owner of Budweiser. Bud Light’s market share also plummeted and is unlikely to ever recover.

And finally, let’s consider Claudine Gay, president of Harvard University. Last week, Ms. Gay was unable in a House committee hearing to unequivocally denounce calls on campus for genocide against Jews. The question immediately arose, would she have had similar difficulty denouncing calls for genocide against blacks or gays?

The backlash against Harvard was swift and severe, with more than a billion dollars’ worth of donations rescinded or cancelled.

What Gillette, Bud Light and Harvard have in common is their status as one-time category-leading brands. They now also have in common that wokeism has inflicted upon them damage from which they will likely never recover.

Pankaj Bhalla is now in charge of the Gillette and Venus brands in Europe. Ms. Heinershcheid was fired over the Bud Light disaster. The leadership at Harvard is standing behind Ms. Gay. In the end, whether any of them stays or goes will make little difference.

Bhalla, Heinerscheid and Gay are merely symptoms of a cancer that is killing what was once strong, healthy and vibrant societal tissue. The metastasis of wokeism – together with its adjuvant DEI, (i.e. diversity, equity & inclusion) – now pervades America’s corporate C-Suites and ivy-covered university admin buildings. That wokeism stands in the way of making better razors, better beer and better educated young adults. (Oh, and better movies. I almost forgot about the box office flops emanating from über-woke Disney.)

It takes strong medicine to treat cancer. It will take strong medicine to treat wokeism. So don’t shave with Gillette razors (I no longer do). Don’t drink Bud Light (millions no longer do). And don’t send your son or daughter to Harvard (or Yale, or Stanford or any of the dozens of leftist indoctrination camps posing as elite learning institutions).

Also, urge Congress to revoke the tax-exempt status of private universities.

The sight of a late-stage lung cancer patient is a strong deterrent to taking up smoking. Let’s hope that the severe punishment meted out by the market creates a similar deterrent to corporate and academic wokeism.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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10 Responses

  1. Darrell Durham says:

    Paul, you have a way with words like some of the best in journalism. I agree with everything you said. I would just like to suggest some cancer prevention education in elementary schools.

  2. Linda E. Montrose says:

    Sometimes it takes an anvil falling on their heads to make these people understand they are not as smart as they think they are!!!

  3. Rick Bennett says:

    The acronym DEI should be changed to DIE because all things associated with DEI end up “DIE’ing”.

  4. Elan K says:

    Makes me glad my decision to not attend college was 100% correct. Of course, we didn’t have money to send me. FYI: My mom and sister paid all her student loans and mom raised both of us practically alone on a teachers salary.

    I’m going to write in Thomas J. Henry for President next year. Have no one to vote for. If anyone else we knew were accused of so many things as Trump, we would not stand by them. former President IS NOT GOD, FOLKS. I am a survivor of incest. The Republican party has no protection for me or a rape survivor. In Texas, where I live, these teens and women have less protection than we did before Roe. Thank God I had a compassionate doctor . Remember the D&C’s before ROE? Lots of them. Will NEVER vote Republican 90% of the people in my 4 senior adult groups will not vote that way either. WE REMEMBER PRE ROE DAYS. I DO. Paul, you haven’t, that I know of, addressed this issue

    • Tammy says:

      The problem, as I see it, is that most people don’t grasp Federalism. Roe was a mistake from the onset because it took a State issue and applied one-size-fits-all to it. That doesn’t “fit” every State. In Texas, the majority of voters value life. As a direct result, they pushed the elected’s to put an end to it. Is the law restrictive? Yes, but keep in mind that the life of the preborn is just as valuable as anyone else’s regardless of the circumstances of conception. We don’t value “some” life; we value all life. “Morning after” pills are still available here too. I am truly sorry for your experience.

  5. Mike says:

    Fox News this morning had a graphic on the endowment money from these nauseating college institutions to the tune of over $271 Billion dollars! If these institutions have that kind of money, why do they need taxpayer money at all? I say take all tax funding away and let them live on their endowments. They darn sure have enough to operate. BTW, another graph was put up that showed Harvard only pays about 1.4% in taxable revenues. There were approximately 10 categories they could be taxed for but do not pay a penny on 9 of the 10.

  6. Dave Clark says:

    Glad to hear Paul Gleiser via the internet out here in the wild west. We’re being overrun by DEI nonsense here, too.

  7. Buddy Saunders says:

    Paul, as always, I thoroughly enjoy your beautifully written columns.

    Wokeism it is doing tremendous damage to our culture and it needs to be countered by saner minds. We all need to do our part to turn the tide.

    My Internet retail company sends out a weekly email to our customer. When I began adding conservative political and social commentary, I received a few complaints from customers who said they only wanted to read hobby related material. That seems a reasonable customer request so, after some thought, I arrived at a way to accommodate everyone.

    We now send out two emails each week, one with my often very conservative political views included, and the other a “sanitized” version that is strictly about the comic book hobby with nothing political from me. We are several weeks into this option and thus far only about 200 of our24,000+ readers have switch to the sanitized version—0.0008333%.

    Our customer base has quite a few liberal thinking persons, especially among our younger customers, so I’m under no illusion that every reader shares my views, or comes even close, but I am encouraged that my readers are willing to tolerate my exercises in free speech, and it is my hope that what I say might educated and informed them and thereby bring them to a better perspective and way of thinking.

    Not everyone in our company is comfortable with what I’m doing, but I know that I, as a business owner, enjoy the same right to free speech as do sports and other popular culture celebrities. The only difference is that my megaphone is different from theirs. Thus far, I’ve seen no sign that our sales are affected, but should that happen, we will endure and press on.

  8. Paul,
    I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. I understand exactly what you are saying with regard to Bud Lite and Harvard. I’ve also listened to you and Jimmy Failla use a “damn with faint praise” approach on Trump. Whether one of you is feeding off the other I don’t know, but I don’t understand. When Trump was in office, you praised him. You praised him about that period last week. It is very inconsistent. If Trump was worthy then, he is worthy now. Frankly, he’s probably much more aware of the enormity of the job before him. Also inconsistent of the fine wine, great photography and overall cultured Paul Gleiser is his host in the 11am – 2pm hour on KTBB. Jimmy is, I guess, more of a Fox creation than one of yours, and I am fully aware he is primarily an actor, and the schtick of boozing, gambling, whoring, drunk is his stand up routine. In the last few decades how many of those guys can you not remember. (Bob Zany, Andrew Dice Clay, Don Rickles) Frankly I think both Failla and Fox are trending toward Bud Lite and Harvard at flank speed. I often turn off your station when Failla goes on one of his rants. Glamorizing drunken bacchanal and risk taking as an appropriate lifestyle is beneath the dignity of the powerhouse KTBB. There is no doubt that Failla is intelligent. But he degrades himself and the station’s overall image to that of Bud Lite. I hate that, and dislike sniping at someone who is so much a winner that his fans are ignoring his enemies and their never before seen tactics to destroy him.

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