Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. I hope Ben & Jerry’s is destroyed by a whirlwind!
Speaking of religion, and somewhat ironically, this article is called, “Christianity and religion in general are dying in America…” The piece reports on a study released by a religious organization called the Barna group and an excerpt from the piece is, “If the Barna group raises red flags about the decline of religion in America, you can bet they’re not making it up.”
The first data point shown was the most significant, in my opinion: “First, we have a rise of what both pieces call the “don’ts” in America, a term roughly equivalent to the “nones.” These are, according to Barna, ‘people who say they don’t know, don’t care, or don’t believe that God exists.’ This proportion rose from 10% of all Americans in 1991 to 34% this year.”
I don’t want to speak for religious people, since I am not one, but I suspect some would blame much of the world’s evil on the dramatic increase in lack of “belief.” To me, evil and chaos have existed since the beginning of time, but now we have a 24/7 news cycle, thousands of news “sources” and, worst of all, “social media.” Sex sells, but so does evil.
By the way, my attachment to the Jewish people is one of shared history and culture, not religious practice. When one grows up as the child of Jewish Holocaust survivors, I think that’s a natural outcome.
I found this ten-year old article from Psychology Today titled, “Popular Culture: Reality TV Is NOT Reality.” Despite its age, the piece is still very relevant, obviously. Here is the key paragraph, IMO:
“Reality TV promotes the worst values and qualities in people–and disguises them all as entertainment. Reality TV has made the Seven Deadly Sins–pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth-attributes to be admired. Throw in selfishness, deceit, spite, and vengeance–all qualities seen routinely on reality TV–and you have the personification of the worst kind of person on Earth. Reality TV makes heroic decidedly unheroic values, characters, and behavior.”
I have often written that so-called Reality TV is nothing of the sort, anyway. Almost without exception, the TV camera in these “shows” is not an unobtrusive observer of real life, of something that would exist with or without the camera. Most of these shows were created for TV. The participants are acutely aware they are being filmed, are encouraged by the producers to act as outrageously as possible and then the footage is edited to maximize the “tension.”
What the genre should be called is Cheap TV. The production company doesn’t have to hire expensive talent and writers, so even if the shows don’t get great ratings, they can still make money. It is show business. Of course, I believe the term Cheap TV can also be used as in this definition, Cheap: Inexpensive because of inferior quality.
This Hagerty article is titled, “2021 is shaping up to be the best year, ever, for collector car auctions.” The piece shows a chart, which I was unable to share here, that displays the annual totals for auction sales in North America since 2014 with the 2021 projection–based on results so far this year–exceeding the 2018 “peak” by about 20 percent.
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, it is the increase in online auctions that is powering much of the overall increase. Online auctions were not really a factor as recently as five years ago, but based on the chart, and my admittedly unscientific method of measuring it, online auctions will account for almost half of all auction sales this year. Again, it’s the auction business. Online auctions have so much less overhead than traditional ones. Of course, people have grown very comfortable buying anything and everything over the Internet.
Here is the picture at the beginning of the Hagerty piece:
Dependent on family circumstances, my wonderful wife and I have plans to attend the Mecum auction next month. I have bid on cars using both online and in-person auctions, although the online bids were not too serious. We very much enjoy attending, but it’s not an inexpensive endeavor. Having many auctions here in Arizona will enable us to attend more of them, obviously. It will be nice not having to pay for airfare and lodging.
As always, I welcome your thoughts on today’s post or other topics of interest to you.
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6 thoughts on “Wednesday Whirlwind”
Barrett-Jackson is an example of how to make money, a lot of money. If my memory has not struck me stupid, they add a fee to both the buyer and seller of a vehicle sale. They don’t have to provide merchandise, the sellers bring it to them. All the auction house does is provide the venue. They also take a percentage of the sales of all of the vendors who bring their merchandise to the show for sale. That strikes me as a pretty good business plan. Don’t get me wrong, it takes a LOT of effort to put on an auction so making the money is not easy.
I shall refrain from commenting on what the world calls “reality” TV.
Yes, auction houses make money, lots of it, selling something they’ve never owned. I believe Barrett-Jackson’s total commission is 18%, 10% from the buyer and 8% from the seller on cars sold without reserve, which is basically all Barrett-Jackson sells. Mecum gets 10% from the buyer, 10% from the seller on reserve cars, 5% on non-reserve. However, Mecum will often reduce the commission as the auction is proceeding in order to facilitate a sale. Still, making even 12% or 14% on a $200,000 car you’ve never owned is not a bad business.
My favorite “reality tv” is the home renovation shows. As we are in the process of doing a complete gut of our kitchen, I laugh when I see a 1960’s kitchen and the price to remodel is $8-12 thousand. My ex and I spent more than that when we remodeled our kitchen in 1990. The range we are looking at now costs $3k. My current wife had one price in mind. I broke down the various costs including demo, and my price was 2X hers. The first person we met with quoted us a price for cabinets was what my wife had budgeted. The second company we met with was slightly over my estimate for the entire job. The complaints of the homeowners after the cameras go off are never shown.
An episode of Trading Spaces was filmed a block away from our first house in Texas. My wonderful wife and I went to the location and I wound up standing close enough to Paige Davis that I probably could have touched her. By the way, she was VERY pretty in person.
One of the couples whose house was “renovated” was so upset that they put the house on the market within a week. Remember that Trading Spaces only remodeled one room.
We watch those shows on occasion, but they are highly edited and influenced by the presence of the cameras. While, of course, home renovation existed before TV and most renovations are not broadcast, those shows have to be watched with a grain of salt.
Reality TV was always a misnomer, but it served the purpose of getting folks to buy they were seeing an unscripted, unvarnished version of whatever celebrity or situation they were interested in. I never limited that criticism to Kardashians or Survivors. Some of the worst offenders were Boyd Coddington’s crew and the Orange County Chopper boys, really most any of the “gotta get this car finished for the big show in 3 days!” shows, or where the Count spies a car in a driveway and 5 minutes later he’s bought some musclecar off a guy who just woke up for his shift at Kroger.
Speaking of reality shows, I was surprised the other night to see one of your favourite TV people, Ms Cristy Lee, show up on Food Network’s Grill of Victory. Apparently she’s also a designer, creates the outdoor kitchens awarded to the episode winners. I wouldn’t say she’s a main part of the show, seems she only appears for a few minutes, but I was surprised to see her. I wasn’t aware that was a skill in her repertoire.
Many thanks, Mark. Your remark about the phrase “Reality TV” being, in essence, a marketing slogan is on point. (I was going to write “on the mark” but you can understand why I didn’t. 😉)
Cristy Lee was a real estate flipper for a couple of years until the “Great Recession” destroyed the market. I think she has been developing a series for/with HGTV for awhile, but the damn virus disrupted those plans.
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