The Odd Nature of “Entertainment”

I won’t be the one to question the Oscars. Instead I’ll be the one asking “What’s Entertainment?”

On the surface, a foolish question. But when I read how “If the LA Times hadn’t broken an embargo in 1940, the Oscars envelope mix-up might have never happened,” it occurred to me that we live in a super-strange world when an “envelope mix-up” is news.

It is yet-another “Who Cares?” as far as we can figure it. So were the comments of the recip’s.

What IS fascinating is that a) we are in a 1920’s-mirroring stock bubble and b) were people at the end of the Roaring Twenties as crazy as we are? Perhaps watching this “stuff” called “entertainment” will teach us a thing, or three.

One to keep an eye on is how we define “work.” (More on this is the Coping section in a jiff…)

You see, people did have easy-flowing money back in the run-up to the Great Depression, much as we have now.

But the media’s near total fixation on the Oscars last night gets me warmed-up to the point:

“The 1st Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 1927 and 1928 and took place on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California. AMPAS president Douglas Fairbanks hosted the show. Tickets cost $5 (which would be $69 in 2016 considering inflation), 270 people attended the event and the presentation ceremony lasted fifteen minutes. Awards were created by Louis B. Mayer, founder of Louis B. Mayer Pictures Corporation (at present merged into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). It is the only Academy Awards ceremony not to be broadcast either on radio or television.”

This Wikipedia entry is nearly current. The 2016 price conversion is actually $69.78 which would round to $70. Moreover, the unadjusted 12-month CPI All Items Index was up 2.5% January of this year, compared with 2016 so the “today” cost of that 1929 ticket would be more like $71.54…which would round to $72…

Don’t want to run off into the weeds, though, because my point about the rhyme we’re in has everything to do with excess capacity, the services economy imploding, and the generally fat, dumb, and happy mind set of “The Peeps.”

Anyone who patronizes ANY of the Trump-bashers who mouthed off last night ought to do a bit of soul-searching.

But it’s not just Trump. Mental acuity is on an extended vacation generally.

Take the story making the rounds today about how one of the “leaders” of the upcoming “Women’s March” is a convicted terrorist…and another was convicted of supplying guns used to kill a judge in the 1970’s.

What we see is perhaps the long-term effects of excessive medication of the populace coming home to roost. Unable to see how we are being “spun” – and “joining the jingoists” plus our total immersion is non-essential, primarily useless cult-of-personality BS desperately trying to fill up the airwaves and what’s left of the newspaper world….well, let’s just say it’s not too surprising, is it?

With perhaps 10’s of thousands of “Oscar parties” being held – a kind of ritualistic “sheep dip” – we continue to look at the timeline of Flappers who were the previous Depression lead-in’s version of the LBGTQ’s of today.

Speaking of Sex (Another “Doh…”)

Did you see the BBC story about how “Straight women have fewest orgasms?” The abstract of the underlying study says, in part “Heterosexual men were most likely to say they usually-always orgasmed when sexually intimate (95%), followed by gay men (89%), bisexual men (88%), lesbian women (86%), bisexual women (66%), and heterosexual women (65%).”

Any of this surprising?

No.

It’s one of our favorite axioms that “achievement follows interest.” Hence, the more “time on task,” the more pleasure would logically follow. Working straight women with children are probably the busiest people on Earth. Who has time for sex?

When sex is “news” and we don’t see the obvious, I figure we’re all screwed.

Data, Data, Everywhere

clip_image002

Press release du jour is the Durable Goods report just out…

New Orders

New orders for manufactured durable goods in January increased $4.0 billion or 1.8 percent to $230.4 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced today. This increase, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, followed a 0.8 percent December decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.2 percent. Excluding defense, new orders increased 1.5 percent. Transportation equipment, also up following two consecutive monthly decreases, drove the increase, $4.3 billion or 6.0 percent to $76.4 billion.

Shipments

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in January, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $0.2 billion or 0.1 percent to $238.3 billion. This followed a 1.6 percent December increase. Machinery, also down following two consecutive monthly increases, drove the decrease, $0.5 billion or 1.6 percent to $30.7 billion.

Unfilled Orders

Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in January, down seven of the last eight months, decreased $4.0 billion or 0.4 percent to $1,114.3 billion. This followed a 0.7 percent December decrease. Transportation equipment, also down seven of the last eight months, drove the decrease, $5.6 billion or 0.7 percent to $752.9 billion.”

Following that, the market was slightly down.

Part of today’s flat-to-down action could be the third time is “not a charm” for a major European Stock Markets merger which seems to be hitting the skids.

It’s evidence to us that bigger is not always better…something many business owners fail to appreciate.

Later today, Dallas Fed numbers and pending home sales.

Tomorrow is Case-Shiller Housing data plus a GDP report, side order of International Trade and the Chicago Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI).

Construction spending and personal income and outgo wanders through Thursday and Friday afternoon has a Janet Yellen speech on tap.

While I head for a pile of projects today, the fundamental problem we still haven’t addresses is the huge pile of dough that is just sitting around collecting dust: This as the Velocity of Money at M2 continues at never-before-seen sluggishness…

clip_image004

We don’t need to “Make America Great Again” so much as just wake-up the money and get it moving…

Comments

The Odd Nature of “Entertainment” — 19 Comments

  1. George, instead of comparing the USA to the 1920’s, I suggest you compare it to Venezuela a year before Chavez died. Toyota at one time had a plant in Venezuela to manufacture vehicles for all of South America. The socialist laws to benefit the workers became so onerous they simply shut down the plant and left.

    The wealthy were allowed to exchange their pesos for dollars at a ratio of 6-1. Today, a 500 peso note is worth 3 USA cents or less. It takes about $6 of those pesos to buy a weeks food, if food can be found in the stores at all. Chavez’ daughter, the wealthiest Venezuelan, is worth $4.3 BILLION.

    Sound familiar?

    The Venezuelan people have consumed the pets, the zoo animals and are now eating protected species like anteaters and flamingoes. The country has become so impoverished that there Are no funds to buy parts to repair the printing press that prints passports. So those in Venezuela, even if they have wealth, cannot get a passport to leave the country.

    Trust me, there are no Venezuelans looking at the markets to see how the country is doing. Neither should Americans.

    • good point.. at 150.00 a dozen eggs.. and a loaf of bread..flour pasta and mild a months pay brings up the depression in germany ..
      the last time I checked a cup of coffee was a weeks wages..
      and we are doing the exact same thing in the USA.. how long can it last before the bubble bursts.
      Like I tell the kids.. there isn’t a blue sky wage..

    • .. and it’s always the people’s choice!!
      Sorry to speak the truth, but one cannot blame anyone else. The public’s choice!

  2. Entertainers of all sorts should realize that they are in the business of creating fantasy. They produce nothing of substance. And they are well paid for producing fantasy. But their status as “stars” does not give them any special insight as to how the world works. How could it when their entire existence is based on fantasy?

    • Paul, as an former actor perhaps I can help explain their mindset.

      When a good actor begins working on a character they study everything they can about them and whenever possible actually do the work they are supposed to portray. Frequently this takes several months of total immersion. Playing a cop/soldier? You may actually go through the exact same training. Playing a pilot? Plan on spending dozens of hours in a cockpit [Example: Harrison Ford developed his love of flying from working in flight simulators for films such as Air Force One]. Playing a President or statesman? Well… that’s something quite different and then creativity and imagination takes over and they frequently fail.

      My point is that once they have experienced so many diverse lifestyles in such a short timeframe, they start to actually BELIEVE they embody all that that character entails. The REALLY good actors just file those experiences away and move on to others. The insecure actors [and MOST are!] cling to those past glory-roles and carry them over into their daily lives [to feed their egos], still playing a role they only actually carry skin-deep. They’re the Robert DeNiros and the Meryl Streeps who foolishly step up publicly, assuming an authority they feel their experiences allow… yet have never fully earned. And: they are always wrong because in the end they have only lived a brief moment of pretense, absent the responsibility and anguish of the genuine people they portray.

      It’s interesting to note that the most successful actors have always been the ones who only played extensions of themselves onscreen – the “natural” performers such as Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Spencer Tracy. They created memorable roles because there was little acting in them; and when you strip away the pretense all that remains is honesty!

      For my money, there are no “real” actors anymore… just hollow personalities.

      • I guess I zigged when I should have zagged on that last submission. Let’s see if I can re-create it.

        Thank you, Gregory, for that. It’s a theory that I’ve had running around my head for quite some time regarding actors – good ones. I can see how good actors can become confused about themselves and the world in general. Throw in tons of money to insulate one’s self and a culture that requires one to think counter-intuitively and I can see how they keep the rehab centers in high demand.

        What makes me wonder though are the ones like James Garner who I’d thought would have been fairly conservative but, come to find out, was very left-wing as he admitted in some of the last interviews he had. He was of a different generation and it could have been the older generation’s view of “left wing” but it was very disappointing to hear him say that.

  3. It’s just sooo sad that most folks don’t get it!! So, what’s the use just trying?

  4. Hollyweed Make believe players are even getting shorted on the gold plate on their award this year it is only worth $650, Fake award for Fake people.

  5. Don’t need academic explanations what is, or what causes economic depressions. It is natures way of showing us the economy is BANKRUPT!!!! No Chapter 11, or whatever, brute force rules and settles the bankruptcy by war where the loser gets the “big weenie.”

  6. George, saw two Forbes articles where the travel ban has caused huge damage to our tourism trade, which apparently is much bigger than auto industry. This failure of Trump and his advisors to think through even the most basic of things must really be getting you down.

    Guess we should be shorting airlines and other tourist related industries, no? Best, Mike.

  7. One of the more offensive aspects of the Academy Awards was bringing in a tour-bus full of peasants to display to the elites. Patronizing and disgusting.

  8. George,
    I’m convinced those wild reckless things of the 20’s Jazz-Age were only just slightly less crazy than people are today. The pre-crash attitude was one of total excess with social envelopes being not only pushed but shredded faster than a USPS sorting machine. The Volstead Act was in full force [sort of!] which only encouraged crime inducing otherwise serious citizens to try their hand whipping up a batch of profitable bathtub Gin; hemlines rose every other week and bare shoulders became the norm at popular beaches where months before matrons roamed the dunes issuing citations for too much skin. Meanwhile, in Berlin the most promiscious sexual revolution since ancient Rome was in full swing, giving birth to what is now the pervasive LGBTQ-XYZ movement. Sliced bread, bubble gum and Penicillin were all brand-new; Henry Ford’s Model T’s were rolling off assembly lines faster than ever before, promising a bright new future. Money flowed like wine from a freshly-hatcheted cask and it seemed there was no end in sight. Until suddenly, there was.

    No one will ever convince me that history does not repeat itself, and we’re all in for one Hell of a fall when it soon happens again.

  9. I can’t complain about my portfolio but just read that daily average is 6.9 shares per day as compared to 9 billion last year.