Monday, October 17, 2011
And We're Back
The last month has been quite the whirlwind: Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest, and of course “Kim's Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event.” Not even Teresa Guidice from Real Housewives of New Jersey could compete with her sister-in-law hating antics (sorry, it was a nice try, but the table flip was better). A special congratulations to Kim is in order for reaching the epic Paris Hilton status, what a prize. How does she do it? The first thought that comes to mind is clearly how hard she works for what she has. Just look at the wedding, how much time she needed to spend “looking her best” with so many people watching! All that make-up! It is a tough job, but someone has to do it. Or do they?
We’ve had a lot of time to appreciate Kim K’s (or any “K’s”) societal contribution lately. The Kardashian wedding special is so pervasive you can run but you can’t hide: it’s always on. We’ve been forced to watch it so many times we might actually decide it’s worth an Emmy. It’s getting about as much press as Prince William’s wedding, except there is one minor (unimportant, really) difference: he is likely going to be the next King of England. The bad news is the next (and ultimate) step will be for her to go to jail. Everyone’s footsteps she is following has taken a turn in the slammer: Paris, Lindsay, and Nicole have all donned the stylish orange suit. It will be a full circle, from sex tape (remember Ray J? remember “One Night in Paris”?) to jail. She’ll join good company, from Michael Vick and Plaxico Burress to rappers TI and Lil’ Wayne to Charlie Sheen. But don’t worry; if past trends are anything, she will make it through and make even more money for it.
Given reality TV is probably never going away, and given the lot of people given their own shows, we can’t help but wonder why we don’t have our own show already. Why be “unemployed” when you can do no work and get paid? Slowly jobs are coming back, in September the economy added 103,000 jobs, with revised job gains totaling 184,000 in July and August. Employment in “Information,” where TV and movie broadcasting jobs live (where TV and movie “stars” live), increased by 34,000 jobs in September (mostly due to 45,000 striking telecom workers returning to work, but we’ll choose to ignore that). While these aren’t tremendous gains (unemployment stayed above 9% - that’s quite high), we’ve all got to start somewhere right? If they can do it, so can we!
If reality “stars” can be famous by having cameras follow them shopping, so can we. We certainly know how to shop til we drop. We spend money regardless of whether we should or shouldn’t be (aren’t credit cards great?). Retail sales in September were up 1.1% over August, exceeding expectations of a 0.8% increase (go us), while our spending money after adjusting for prices (“real disposable income”) decreased by a combined 0.5% in July and August. Relax, we’re not pulling a Teresa Guidice who actually went bankrupt from over-spending. We are just pulling from our savings, down $30 billion in August. We are destined for stardom, who needs savings anyway? It’s not like this attitude got us into this economic mess. Not creating value to the economy and spending money like we are? Oh, wait.
Before we forget our reality dreams, maybe we should consider adding the next dimension: going global. Maybe we can “trade” each of the three main Kardashian sisters as an honorary gesture to commemorate each of the three recently passed Free Trade Agreements (of course with Kim going to South Korea because that’s the most publicized agreement) and let other countries finance what makes us so interesting. In return, these countries can have the best of America in their backyard. Reality TV pushing the final frontier. Now that’s a prize we can take to the bank.
(Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis)