Thursday, November 21, 2002

The Millionaire and Jackass

Some great insight from Bob Prechter........

"Have you ever wondered why certain television trends come and go?
In the late 1990s, for example, "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire" was a huge hit; a host of imitators followed. Yet, in the past year or two, they've all vanished. Why? Here's a hint: A bull market peaked, a bear market began. Now consider today's hottest trend in television, which appears in "Survivor," "Fear Factor," "The Bachelor," "Jackass," "The Sopranos," and other popular shows.

The common thread? Behavior that's demeaning, moronic, humiliating, pathological. There's more to come, naturally. Fox is producing a game show called "Exhausted" with sleep-deprived contestants. HBO will air "Cathouse," thanks to a Nevada brothel's hidden cameras. (Nothing like watching a guy so pathetic that he has to pay for it.)

Why the public flood of degrading conduct? Because the same mass psychology that drives long-term stock market trends also drives popular culture. The deepest bear market in decades has left millions of people with emotions they've never felt before. The vast majority has "hung on" as their portfolios declined by 30%, 40%, 50% or more.

Is it really any wonder that they can identify with negative behavior, like the "Jackass" who squeezes into a shopping cart, plummets down a steep trail, and crashes into a tree?

We've followed the many ways that culture reflects mood trend for many years, going back to Bob Prechter's "Popular Culture and the Stock Market" report in 1985. As we do with our stock market forecasts, we provide cultural insights that you simply will not find anyplace else."

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