Question of the Day|
President Obama is saying he's the new Ronald Reagan having saved the economy and bringing America from the brink. Others think he's more like Jimmy Carter. What do you think?
"I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees."
And so goes the famous or soon to be very famous line from Dr. Seuss' 1971 ode to overconsumption. The book has seen its share of controversy as it demonized logging and other industries. Fans and environmentalists say the book is an apt warning about the future of our country and the world if those mean, for-profit corporations are allowed to destroy the planet in the name of a buck ... or two. Hollywood keeps coming to us with movies centered around nature taking revenge, and like those anti-war movies that have won a bunch of awards, moviegoers haven't mostly yawned.
Of course this time it's different because the message is aimed out our children. I'm a fan of Dr. Seuss and have no problem with his concern about pollution and overconsumption, but in the hands of Hollywood, we have to get ready for a giant dose of hypocrisy and finger wagging. These jetsetters that make more money than any Wall Street titan and consume just as many resources with their personal footprints have been such phonies about the environment and about being clean. They sell fear to the rest of the world while living the good life that includes no accountability, and they get paid when the movies is in the can, even if nobody goes to see it.
As snipers for the environmental movement, their aim is too often off the mark because they love money more than they love anything else. I'm not knocking them for that, just for acting like your priorities are wrong and theirs are lined up just right. But in many respects, Hollywood is the right place for the Lorax considering his description.
He was shortish. And oldish.
And brownish. And mossy.
And he spoke with a voice
That was sharpish and bossy.
How can Hollywood keep churning out movies where condemnation is the main point, whether its war, republicans or success? At some point these studios have to make a buck, too. Well, maybe the compromise will come from corporate sponsors, mass marketing deals and product endorsements. Sure, in many respects this goes against the very theme of movies and the industry itself, but you can't pay $25.0 million salaries and have a person dividing M&Ms by color in trailers without going against some principles. I guess they rationalize that in the end you can exercise moral indignation if you are preaching worthwhile messages.
In other words there are greedier people committing more harm than we do with bad movies.
But maybe with the "Lorax" Hollywood has pushed the envelope of even its standards of hypocrisy, considering the movie has 70 different product tie-ins including an SUV and a company that makes disposable diapers. Sure, it's a crossover with SUV's and the diapers coming from the self-professed super green Seventh Generation. This has environmentalists in an uproar as only a handful of the companies involved are truly "green." In the end, the environmental movement had to enter into this deal with corporate America, and both get something out of it. It means a ton of money for special interest organizations and a seal of approval for corporations. And that seal is also a license to make more money-lots of people pay 15% more if the product is "green."
Nature magazine called the "Lorax" a "parody of a misanthropic ecologist," which might be heavy-handed. But the story sees the destruction of the truffula trees, and I suspect lots of trees have been cut down to print those millions of books that have delighted children around the world for more than half a century. But I'm not mad at Dr. Seuss, he brought us joy. But Hollywood must stop ruining their industry and our heroes with messages they don't really believe. In honor of Dr. Seuss, and to celebrate his birth 108 years ago, today, I've written my own ode:
Movies were once adventures and fun
Now there are none
Story-telling is out
Yet propaganda is snappy
But moviegoers are sad
When the lights come on
They're not happy
Stop selling me products
And your beliefs on the sly
I just want to look at the big screen
And believe I can fly
I'm a huge movie fan and will support movies like Act of Valor. which salutes America's greatness. I'm not going to see a movie that makes me feel guilty because the ticket stub might have once been a truffula tree.
The Market, Oil, and Smart People I Know
Last night's guest on Payne Nation made great observations about the stock market and oil rally. Larry Shover of SFG Alternatives calls the upside determination a "ferocious bid" but worries about a sharp pullback not unlike the one gold saw this week. Ironically, his "buy" signal comes with an increase in real wages which are at their lowest point since 1948. The thing is that bottom lines have been bolstered in part to lower wages, so it would hurt incomes but add true growth to an economy feeding at the misery trough of cheap money. Then there was Steven Schork from the Schork Report.
He predicts a release of oil from the Strategic Reserve and blaming speculators. But the real solution, and one I haven't heard anyone else mention, is the repeal of the Jones Act. Yes, the same Jones Act that stopped foreign ships from helping clean up after the Gulf oil disaster. His rationale was interesting and thoughtful, which means it will not happen.
There will be no jobs report today, but without early morning news, stocks are drifting and the bulls appear to be more sober. There isn't a lot of angst, but a fair amount of reflection. This has been an amazing ride, stealthy, underreported, and steady but can the data keep up to not only justify the move but also facilitate further upside?
It's a good question. Momentum means ties go to the bulls and even when numbers come in below consensus, the narrative can be positive (see yesterday's income and spending results). While the market roars, many deep-pocketed folks are still not sure.
In Europe, deposits at the ECB leaped to €776.9 billion from €475.2 billion overnight! Banks have three years to do something with the cash and repay it at 1%, but for now they are comfortable taking all that "free" cash and getting 0.25% interest.
We aren't forcing the issue right now. Let's see how the market shakes out. The resolve has been amazing, but there are more chinks in the armor. Moreover, looking at the spike in President Obama's disapproval, I get a sense that consumer confidence could also be moving lower as well. My biggest concern is what happens when the market is really tested. I don't think it happens before the jobs report next Friday, although we could see an increase in volatility. Warm weather of all things might be the only thing that saved the economy and markets from a rougher start to the year-thank goodness for global warming.