It had been a bear market for a lot of years. The headlines were a parade of scary bad news. People were so polarized that fan groups began to hate on each another's music -- hostility so strong that it became its own trend. Then, an episode of this negative mood literally exploded its way into America's National Pastime: Namely, in the outfield between games of a double header.
In a typical week, you have lots & lots of choices about what to read, hear and watch. But this week of the year is not typical -- it's the holidays. Meaning, your choices and time demands feel more crowded.
Yet you chose to give a few moments of your time to us. Please know that we're grateful for that.
We hope you have a great holiday,
Let's get started.
There's no need to explain the name "Scrooge." It can be spoken playfully, but when someone uses that name seriously you know what it means: Heartless. Unforgiving. Spiteful in a season that calls for generosity. Yet for this Christmas season, Pop Trends Price Culture goes where even a "contrarian" might fear to tread -- by defending Ebenezer Scrooge.
What does positive social mood actually do?
For starters, if you're in a population that has enjoyed an extended period of positive mood, outbreaks of disease are less likely to happen. If mood is positive and you personally hold a relatively higher place in the social hierarchy, odds are even higher that you'll avoid an outbreak of disease.
Alas, of course, if those circumstances apply to you in reverse … well, be especially mindful to stay current with your flu shot (etc).
Let's get started.
Political language is front & center today, more so than at any time in decades. News or fake news, plus liars, lies, damned lies and statistics, have blurred the line between fact, opinion, and shameless BS.
This episode excerpts an essay that could not be more relevant. It's from a time when social mood was recognizably similar to our own: Polarization ran deep, all disagreements were politicized, fear of "The Other" ran rampant. People felt threatened by certain ideologies. Listen for yourself to just how familiar it sounds...
More education. More information. More entertainment. More quality goods and services to consume…
All this we have, or have available to us. When we live in a world with increasing opportunities to improve our own quality of life, then why do political outcomes world-wide seem to express so much dissatisfaction, grievance and anger?
That's a big question, and I don't pretend to have simple & fast answers. But at least one can ask. And social mood needs to be part of the discussion that follows.
RCA had an unrivaled influence on 20th century entertainment technologies -- it was the path to stardom for dozens of performers in both the Golden Age of Radio and Television. Yet, RCA share price never truly caught up to 1929. What's the lesson? Listen in to Pop Trends, Price Culture discover why.
"Smoke" is the metaphor or image people commonly use to warn that the heat from a small combustion may soon become a much larger blaze. And that's the word that came to my mind in listening to Brian Whitmer's discussion of populist politics in Europe.
The word smoke does of course still carry an important literal meaning -- as in, the stuff that does your lungs no good. This week, the literal and metaphorical smoke we spotted in the news adds up to mood-driven events.
Listen on to hear what we see.
In 1968, anyone with a sense of American politics and history knew that they were living in a uniquely tumultuous time. Then, in August '68 came the epic, mood-driven debates between two men that created "The Best of Enemies." You may or may not know the story -- but Pop Trends, Price Culture helps you see (and hear) it in a whole new light.
I'm recording this before Thanksgiving, though you're listening to it afterward. I trust your holiday was a good one.
Among my reasons to give thanks, nothing is more dear than the freedom to think for myself -- and we assume that readers of this page are of kindred mind. As always, listen on and enjoy.
We don't usually think of The Pilgrims as "risk takers," but the fact is that they took risks on a scale few of us can even imagine. Yet the smartest risk the Pilgrims took is the one few people even know. Discover what it was in this episode of Pop Trends, Price Culture -- plus a few thoughts on the risks of wise compassion.
"Global wave of anxiety" is how one news report put it, referring to election outcomes that include Trump and Brexit. Yet the scope of this "wave" goes beyond election politics -- the bigger context is a pronounced shift in the 500-year globalization trend.
Listen on & hear what we see.
Earlier this week, we went to Google News and searched for "Trump market rally." Listen in and hear about a few of the headlines that popped up -- plus, how those headlines contrast with headlines from 8 years ago. That and more in the latest episode of Pop Trends, Price Culture.
Evidence of the profoundly polarized electorate could not be more clear: One presidential candidate won a narrow majority of the popular vote, the other presidential candidate prevailed in the Electoral College.
There is a pre-condition for polarization -- namely, social mood. Please read on. There's a lot to talk about, including legal cannabis and California secession.
Fifty years ago, he was a one-man counterculture defined by mood. Today he is no. 3 on Comedy Central's list of 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time. He never stopped defying the government that disapproved of his words. Get the full story from Pop Trends, Price Culture.
Next week we'll have one less topic to talk about. Well, to be exact, we'll have moved from the "before" to the "after."
Point being, Yes -- we all want the election to be over. But the trend that drives what comes next (including how the public responds) depends on social mood.
Let’s get started.
It was a long time ago, but not so far away: A great historian's timeless essay defined an ugly black thread that is embedded in the fabric of U.S. history. "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" proved so insightful that it anticipated the tragi-farce spectacle known as the election of 2016, fifty-plus years ago. Hear it for yourself in this episode of Pop Trends, Price Culture.
If you were to randomly pick three stories from the "recent news" hat, you might come up with
1) Marijuana, 2) Barbie, 3) Cyber attacks.
They sure seem like random topics, right?
Well, these stories are our picks this week, but they were not chosen randomly -- each one includes a strong and observable element of collective human activity.
And that means mood.
Let's get started.
If you watched the three presidential debates, maybe you thought to yourself, "I wish I could ask a question." Robert Folsom sure did. And he knows what his question would have been. In this episode of Pop Trends, Price Culture he recreates what that exchange might have sounded like.
As we prepare this episode each week, we usually remind ourselves that you're under no obligation to listen to it. The pressure is on us to make it worth your time -- which is how it should be. To know that you can move on with a simple mouse click or screen tap makes us work harder.
So, thanks for your time. And please do read on for our unique perspective on the 2016 election, Wikileaks & authoritarianism, and the ever-braver new world in biology.
Let's get started.
If Pop Trends, Price Culture is still an active podcast during the NEXT presidential election cycle, we are definitely going to replay today's episode at the right time in the year 2020. Because what we say now will be even more true of the incumbent candidate then. Listen in, and you'll "get it" as we go…
"My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over."
Well, almost over. That comment is from Gerald Ford on August 9, 1974, after he was sworn in as President upon the resignation of Richard Nixon.
At the risk of melodrama, I invoke that famous quote because Ford meant to capture the emotional toll on America that attended the ouster of a sitting president.
In 2016, we've suffered through a trauma simply to get a president elected.
In other news, please listen on to hear mood at work in Zika guidelines, the Battle for Mosul, and, of course, in various other themes from the 2016 election cycle.
Money. Politics. The media. Plus, subplots that include narcissism, greed, betrayal and sex scandals. Of course these issues lead today's news, yet this episode of Pop Trends, Price Culture offers hard evidence that this election cycle amounts to life imitating art from 75 years ago.
In less than a month, the "Not Him!!" vs. "Not Her!!" narrative will come to an end.
And soon after, one of the two major candidates will discover first-hand just how hard it is to head the Executive Branch of the federal government.
This week's stories do (so to speak) help anticipate which mood-driven events may be on the new president's horizon.
Just before he was re-elected to his third term as president, Franklin D. Roosevelt assured the public that America would not go to war. But go to war it did – complete with harsh anti-immigration laws, and tens of thousands of naturalized citizens in “relocation camps.” No, this isn’t a re-run of our previous episode. Different president, different war – but social mood was very much alike.