Do you see a Good News/Bad News story in the image below? If so, tell us what you see.


If someone says they have Good News/Bad News for you — which do you choose to hear first and why?
Have you ever had someone offer you the Good News/Bad News choice only to discover they are the same thing?

Are
you a Good News/Bad News teller? If so, why do you choose that method
of delivery?
Is there a difference between giving someone Good News first or Bad
News first?

Do you allow your receiver to decide which news comes first?

Or do you
only pretend to offer an option because you already know which news you
plan to share first before you even utter the phrase?

81 Comments

  1. For me the good news in that picture is that there is a person reading a book. This is good because reading is a dying pastime in a lot of places – having been replaced by TV and video.
    The bad news is that the tree stump the person is standing on has been cut down to provide paper for the book.
    I also see a reference to the changing climate – the wind and sky reflect that. So the message maybe that it is good that people are being informed about it ( by reading) – and the bad news is that by reading about it and not doing anything about it is the bad news.
    I usually offer a choice – if no preference is expressed , I do bad news first then the good news. ( A spoonful of sugar ( the good news) helps the medicine (which often tastes foul – and representing the bad news) go down.

  2. Hi Nicola!
    I love your analysis of the painting! Well done!
    I always hate the Good News/Bad News choice because — to me, anyway — News is news! To pre-determine news as “good” or “bad” is to pretend you know someone’s mind better than they know themselves.
    I always want the Bad News first — and that always disappoints my news givers. ๐Ÿ˜€ They always want to falsely “pep me up” before they try to tug me down.
    It’s especially funny when I ask for the Bad News first and I am told I can’t have that first — I have to hear the Good News first. When I ask why I’m being offered a choice I cannot have… I am usually met with a chilly stare.

  3. Nicola!
    Heh! Yes! I always find the Good News never really is and the Bad News always is.
    My biggest disappointment in playing along is when they’re both the same: “The Good News is, you won a million dollars! The Bad News is, you won a million dollars!” Then there’s the dramatic explanation that ensues from the teller to verify the brilliance of their non-news. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Oh, when the news is the same the teller is playing the game big time because they already know there’s no difference between the two — yet they still choose to twist it into Good/Bad hoping to get a rise out of you or, at least, a laugh or a relieved sigh… very manipulative.
    I sometimes counter the whole thing with, “I’m only interested in Bad News. Good News doesn’t require any action on my part.” That always frustrates them. ๐Ÿ˜†

  5. The good news in the picture is that there are only two cut down trees against a majority of fully grown trees.
    The predominance of fully grown trees together with the fact that the person reading a book stands precisely on the cutdown-tree might suggest environmental conscience: only a minimal trees are cut to produce paper and the majority of the older trees are left untouched – the book is probably made of recycled paper.
    I don’t announce bad news, I just say them. There’s no point in prolonging anxiety by announcing something bad.
    Good news I do announce, to let the person’s joy build up, it’s a healthy thing. ๐Ÿ™‚
    When offered a choice I chose to hear the bad news first, so things don’t end on a down note.

  6. I forgot, the bad news in the picture is that there is only one person – assuming this person cares for the trees as they are reading amongst them – so it seems urgency for environmental conscience is still a utopia, ignored by most people.

  7. Ah, environmental conscience. The good news is that there are still people who care about the environment – is the boy in the painting one of them? Perhaps those are hemp pajamas he’s wearing.
    I always want to hear the bad news first. That way instead of the good news being spoiled by bad, the bad is made less bad by the good. It’s sort of like if the last thing you eat has a sour taste – it’s the one that is left in your mouth.

  8. I don’t know if I necessarily agree that good news is always done. When they told you that you were good to go for writing the Google Apps book, was that not good news? Yet it required that you do something – namely, write the book! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Gordon —
    The Good News is signing the contract. The Bad News is actually writing the book! Ha! ๐Ÿ˜† Isn’t the old chestnut, “It’s better to have written than to write?” ๐Ÿ˜€
    Seriously… when I write books, they’re already “pre-written” in my mind before the first word hits the page so the Good News for me is getting the initial “yes” from the publisher and then the writing begins.

  10. That’s right Davidescu, but I think David’s point was that good news are always welcome so usually there’s no hurry. In the case of bad news we usually want to know fast what we’re up against, as unforeseen situation requires unforeseen action and that can take time and trouble.

  11. ยซThat way instead of the good news being spoiled by the bad, the bad is made less bad by the good.ยป
    That’s exactly how I feel, even if it’s deceiving ourselves a little (^^,)

  12. The advantages are numerous. For one, hemp is much, much more durable.
    A person went to an estate sale as described here and bought nightgowns which were made 200 years ago and despite being well worn, they had not a hole to show for it.
    I could write a whole article about the environmental goodness of hemp for Go Inside (or here) if you’d like. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I suppose anything that burns is smokable, but there would be no point to it. It is THC-free.

  13. I know that’s how I treat the American pronunciation of ‘Davidescu’ – but I don’t correct anyone when they mispronounce Gordon. Plenty of people do. Then again there’s such a thing as allowing for regional pronunciation. Some people say ‘Gor-in” with a little pause in between.
    Not to mention the leagues that write it with an a – or with a c-o-t-t-o-n…

  14. I’d answer normally, I certainly wouldn’t correct them, that would be pedantic of me as no one is obliged to know how a name is pronounced in another language.
    Although I confess it would please me to hear them pronounce it the way I do. (^^p)

  15. iris —
    I’m glad you would still answer even though the pronunciations sound nothing alike.
    Katha, one of our authors, has a very specific way to pronounce her name that still baffles my American ear — she accepts the Americanization of her name though it still bothers her a bit. She gave up on providing the correct pronunciation. ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. I think most American middle names are supposed to have some sort of father/mother meaning.
    Among the old, rich elite on the East Coast the middle name of the firstborn son is usually the mother’s maiden name.
    Some Catholics choose a name to give them an additional name upon confirmation.
    One of my GO INSIDE Magazine writers — Marรญa L. Trigos S. Gilbert — wrote a fun article on deconstructioning her Venezuelan name:
    http://goinside.com/98/4/decon.html

  17. That’s a nice story Gordon!
    Interesting article David, though this bothers me:
    (…)my Father’s last name, I keep it in full and not shorten it to honor him.(…) S. = The “S” honors my mother’s last name.
    My middle name is Marina, but I’m not very fond of it. I also have my mother’s family name and my father’s.

  18. iris —
    That’s a good point. I guess that was her tradition and culture to honor her father over her mother.
    Why are you not fond of Marina? It has a lovely sound to it when I pronounce it with my American mouth. ๐Ÿ˜€
    So your full name is four names? For the same sort of reasons as Maria outlined in her article?

  19. Yeah, in full is “Iris Marina Antunes Pinheiro”.
    I don’t think synaestheticly Marina hasn’t much to do with me, and Iris does – in an Uncanny manner ๐Ÿ˜‰ .
    Here it’s usually 2 first names, mother’s family name and father’s family name. And fortunately a woman that marries is in no way obliged to take her husband’s name.
    Pinheiro would probably be very difficult for an American to pronounce!
    It’s “peegnayruh” (the ‘gn’ as in champagne).

  20. Such a beautiful name, iris!
    If you write for us, I hope you’ll use the whole name in your byline and username! ๐Ÿ˜€
    No woman should ever take a man’s last name in marriage or anything else and hyphenating his last name to hers is even worse!

  21. Well, I can’t tell you if they’re the same really. I tried to roughly translate the word in Portuguese “Sinestesia” to an English form…
    Synaesthesia (I hope it’s like that in English :P) is basically the association (in our mind), of different sensorial perceptions.
    For example, I think the colour of my name is fuchsia and the colour of Davidescu is green and the colour of David is red…
    There is a literary figure of style based on this, if I remember an example in English I’ll tell you.

  22. Synaesthetic people usually evaluate things around them by these attributes, and they are personal.
    You may think you’re name is blue but not only visual senses, all kinds of senses can be associated: the feel of an object to the touch, for example, an old Ford T because it is so angular is rough unlike the Chevrolet Corvette Indy that looks soft.
    The sound of a person voice can be perceived that way too, etc…
    This seems whacky I know, but a lot of people think like this. It’s intuitive.
    PS: I don’t think my name is fuchsia, that was just an example heheh

  23. found some examples in english:
    “The description of a sense impression (smell, touch, sound etc) but in terms of another seemingly inappropriate sense e.g. ‘a deafening yellow’. Synesthesia is particularly associated with the French symbolist poets. Keats also uses synesthesia in Ode to a Nightingale with the term ‘sunburnt mirth’.”

  24. Hi David,
    I was supposed to be jubilant to see someone is reading a book but I guess that’s the bad news here – we made papers from trees and we can see the example in that painting itself – the tree is chopped off.
    The good news to me is there are still some greenery left, hopefully we will be able to conserve them.
    News is news…if I could choose I would not listen to the bad news at all!
    LIfe is not that easy…so, I accept what comes in my way.