When less is more: Why sometimes it’s best to just stick to what you know

Your guide to the perfect life

Here’s a perfect example of why not everyone needs a public forum. We were actually going to just put this in the FJOTD, but we decided this needed some extra space. So yesterday on AOL’s TVSquad, blogger Jay Black had an interesting idea on why the media should shut up about the struggling U.S. economy already.

His reasoning? Ignorance is bliss. To simplify, if you want to avoid a recession, all you have to do is just not talk about it.

The way a society feels about its economy is a lot like the way your wife feels about her body. The reality of a given situation (a few extra pounds, a few wrinkles here or there) doesn’t matter as much as the feeling about the situation (“I feel beautiful, maybe I’ll put on the fancy underwear tonight”).

It’s our job as a husband to make sure that our wife’s consumer confidence never falls below a certain level. That’s because the second she stops feeling beautiful, the less likely she’ll be to take off her clothes and let us perform our husbandly duties. Thus, when she appears wearing a pair of pants that not only make her butt look big, but also bring up a solid philosophical question as to whether her butt might now be defined as a planetoid, you don’t dare say as much.

Planetoid? Interesting. We wonder if that would be the appropriate term to describe the 8,000-pound elephant sitting in his room as well.

Now, let’s put aside the questionable comparison (at best), and focus on the core of Mr. Black’s point.

The economy works in much the same way. The better society feels about it, the more they spend and invest, and the better we all wind up doing. Words like “recession” and “crisis” affect the economy the same way that “fat” and “wrinkly” affect your wife. When society hears them enough, they go into lockdown mode, which means no nookie for anyone.

Wait! There’s more!

Thus, if perception equals reality, doesn’t it make sense for loaded language to be kept out of the national discussion of the economy? The people who need to know these things are still going to be informed — brokers and bankers, fat cats and robber barons — while the rest of us can operate under the best kind of ignorance: blissful.

Well, if you put it that way …

To be frank, we’re not big fans of Mr. Black. We don’t appreciate his style of crazy-rants-that-intentionally-say-too-much-to-make-things-awkward type of humor that he relies so heavily on and that ultimately turns every post he writes into something about himself first and foremost.

Yet, we digress. In any case, his argument that if the media could ignore recession talks, consumers will essentially open up their legs (oops, did we say too much?) wallets more, thus saving the economy.

Silly media. If you didn’t talk about foreclosures jumping 57 percent, those people would still have their homes! Oil prices wouldn’t be over $112 a barrel, and the U.S. dollar would remain high!

So, if we don’t talk about newspapers dying, does that mean circulation is up?


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Filed under Bad Journalism, blogs, Media

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