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.
The 2016 election cycle has been very loud and long. So it's hard to imagine that there's a big "untold story" left to tell. Yet we believe we have one. Namely, that social mood has polarized the American electorate to levels unseen in almost 80 years of survey data. The two major political parties are being depopulated, even as self-identified "independents" are becoming basically a third pole in the polarization.