A Work in Progress

I need a personal motto.

A recent headline from Yahoo Personal Finance (YPF) read, “Apple Rebounds to $600, Time to Buy?” For the love of investing fundamentals, someone please alert the knuckleheads at YPF that the objective is to buy low and sell high. “Apple Plummets to $400, Time to Buy?” would make a hell of a lot more sense.

Unless of course Apple is headed to $1,001. Which leads to another recent YPF headline, “Top Analyst Thinks Apple Could Hit $1,001”. “Top Analyst” is code for really smart dude who knows way more than you and me. So I guess we should believe him. Wait. He’s also referred to as a “market pro” which means we HAVE to believe him. Thank you top analyst market pro. Since each of my APPL shares is about to go up $400, I think I”ll buy that Cervelo R5 bicycle I’ve had my eye on. More evidence of his intelligence—he covers his ass with “Could”. Here are some other “Could” headlines:

• Relative Unknown Ron Byrnes Could Win the British Open

• The Seattle Mariners Could Win the American League West

• Presidential Candidates Could Take the High Road

• Despite Barely Passing High School Chemistry, Ron Byrnes Could Cure Cancer

Then there’s “Dr. Drew” who received $250k to promote Glaxo’s antidepressant drug. Of course Double D never revealed anything about the payments. Most egregious, he repeatedly used his television pulpit to say it helped cure problems that exceeded what the FDA approved it for. Another doc (among many) was paid a cool $2m to promote the drug.

Daily reminders to read between the lines and remember things aren’t always as they may appear. Reminders too to get some splashy adjectives or a personal motto for yourself.

Cable news networks do it. CNN is “The Most Trusted Name in News”. The Supreme Court rejects health care mandate. Opps! Fox News is “Fair and Balanced.” Opps! And regular people who make wild-ass stock predictions do it. Top analyst, market pro. Another recent YPF headline read, “Goldman’s ‘Rock Star’ Gives His Market Outlook”.

Maybe I should follow suit. The examples illustrate an essential element of moniker or motto making. They don’t have to be true. Repeat them enough and create a hypnotic effect. So aim really, really high.

I’m thinking something like “Ron Byrnes, rock star blogger, friend of small animals, a tribute to humanity.” On second thought, it’s probably unwise to alienate large animals. A work in progress.

No doubt, that right there, “a work in progress,” is what my wonderful wife of 25 years (this week) would recommend for my personal motto.

4 thoughts on “A Work in Progress

  1. Congrats on your anniversary! I show my classes clips of economic TV “experts” making predictions in 2007 and early 2008 that were wildly optimistic. Or Ben Stein in 2007 saying that financial stocks were cheap, especially Merrill Lynch. Or Jim Cramer dissing the idea that Bear Stearns could go belly up, and recommending buying their stock a week before they collapsed. You gotta think critically!

  2. Ads are meant to highlight what few positives the product has to offer. The small print and the rapid pace voice in the background pointing out all of the ill effects are often missed by people simply looking for one of a kind deals, a miracle cure or a get rich quick scheme. They ain’t there, they never will be and yet … too many still keep getting sucked into some notion that uses this yarn.

    I don’t think it dawns on them either, not completely at least, that “this one time special offer” is being seen or heard by thousands of others who, believing that if “you hurry now you’ll get this FABULOUS offer before supplies run out!”

    • Kraznic in Wonderbox has a chapter on money. He argues convincingly that status anxiety is the main impetus for mindless consumerism. Status anxiety probably explains a lot of miracle cure chasing too. Advertisers are highly skilled at playing upon our anxieties.

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