Bread and Circuses

– This is a picture of the crowd at Sean Hannity’s Freedom concert this past weekend in Dallas. That is exactly the demographic I would expect. The middle aged embittered white male.

– Issues like gay marriage and the Mosque get so much traction because they are easy to understand. The real issues, like health care and the economy, are too difficult and nuanced. Americans don’t want to drill down on difficult issues. We want ideas that are easily understood, easily digestible. And issues where we can take sides. And go to concerts.

– The behavior described in the previous paragraph has been referred to in literature as “Bread and Circuses.” The phrase originated with the Roman poet Juvenal. He was describing cheap and meaningless entertainment as a way to appease a populace that was unwilling to get involved in difficult issues. Freedom concerts! Yay!

– Buzz Price died last week. You probably never heard of him but chances are he chose where you have gone on vacation. He was a recreation economist. As a child he would keep track of the number of times he would play a phonograph before he grew tired of it. He was hired by Walt and Roy Disney in 1953 to choose the location for Disneyland. They thought he was crazy when he showed them a 100 acre tract in the middle of a citrus grove about 40 miles south of Los Angeles. He also chose the location for Disney World.

– The average investor is fleeing the stock market. And they’re not going to return anytime soon. The stock market does not offer any real returns for the average investor. And folks are starting to notice.

– And in case you missed it. Here is an excellent article by Frank Rich. Read this.

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