UBS Hits Ratings Peaks

As a self confessed conservative curmudgeon I prefer not to watch movies made after 1962. But one exception is the 1976 classic Network. Not because it is so pre-1962; in fact it is replete with all the things that I find offensive and unentertaining in post-1962 movies. But they are not shown gratuitously to build box office by appealing to prurient interests, but to reinforce the story line. If you have never watched the movie, spoilers may follow and you should consider streaming it before proceeding.

Howard Beall Donald Trump has brought UBS to the people or perhaps the the people are so ready for UBS that they drafted Donald Trump. Peggy Noonan has accredited this reality for the establishment in her column (behind paywall) this week.

The cost of Trump is that he turns it all into “Survivor.” That trivializes serious candidates…Journalists are now acclimating themselves to this new reality. A few months ago they thought Mr. Trump and reality TV were climbing over the wall trying to get into the real world of politics. Now they realize it’s journalists trying to climb over the wall into the new world of reality TV. That is now the real world of politics.

I sit in awe of how Paddy Chayefsky could have seen the future so clearly 40 years ago. How he bridged the Golden Age of television to the tarnished age of Hollywood is a testament to his genius.

But it need not be so if one of the qualified candidates could bring her(him)self to slap the moderator and say:

You’re television incarnate, Jake: Indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You’re madness, Jake. Virulent madness. And everything you touch dies with you. But not me. I’m here to discuss the issues that will determine whether this nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.

There are a lot of candidates on that stage who could rise to the occasion and break out of the death spiral our national debate has entered. It’s time for a grown up to tell the people that reality TV is not reality. Shark Tank is not how investing really works. We need not accept a Hobbesian island as a metaphor for life. But none have.

I’m not madder than Hell. I despair.

22 thoughts on “UBS Hits Ratings Peaks”

  1. I love your response to this approach and I think eight years – and BDS before that and lying before that – have worn us down and blurred our perspectives. Despair is what we do when we no longer have energy. And Obama’s energy policy has seemed to me a metaphor for his cultural policy as well.

    “A Face in the Crowd” may seem more of an Al Sharpton/Jessie Jackson hint, but Andy Griffith’s nihilistic, power-hungry country boy manipulates his persona and the news in disturbing ways.

    By the way, I seem to be getting e-mails that appear to be generic Republican but are clearly Donald-centered, pro-Donald. We’ve had eight years of putting out lies as if they were truths – the Donald appears to, in his rare moments of bringing up (apparently skewed or made up) facts, do the same in terms of his opponents.

  2. “A Face in the Crowd” is a favorite movie of mine.I saw it in the theaters when it came out and have it on DVD. I think it was aimed at Arthur Godfrey at the time but he has been forgotten years ago.

    The best description is what is going on, in my opinion, is Angelo Codevilla’s “The Ruling Class.”

    Trump is an observer and has been saying things others will not say.

  3. >>But it need not be so if one of the qualified candidates could bring her(him)self to slap the moderator and say…

    Or if the GOP would simply stop agreeing to allow their mortal enemies to host their debates. C-SPAN seems to be best venue for this sort of thing.

  4. I clearly remember Mitt Romney backing down every time he advanced in the polls; he would have been a shoo-in had he capitalized on the bump he got after the VP announcement and not laid down after the first debate when he wiped the floor with Obama. More than half the voters thought by giving the Republicans massive gains in 2014 Obama’s agenda would be stopped or at least slowed, only to have Boehner and McConnell fall over themselves helping to advance it. The Dems’ agenda advances no matter who is in charge.
    You are incorrect: Not one of the candidates on that stage will “rise to the occasion and break out of the death spiral our national debate has entered.” Sure, half will give lip service to it; but they won’t do squat to change it. The other half of those clowns are just place holders to split the vote to give Bush the plurality in the largest states; and Trump’s probably a stalking horse for Hillary. This whole thing is a scam. There is too much power and too much money at stake for it not to be rigged.

  5. Reality shows. I hate me’, but I have some observations.

    I visit a friend who loves garbage of all kinds and has run the silly reality shows for a long time. They were marginal, poorly made and somewhat popular. This all changed a few years ago when someone decided what this crap needed was production values. They have been applied and the shows are way better directed and produced now.

    This almost perfectly mirrors America. The reality show with serious production values.

    It’s very entertaining, this end of the empire stuff.

  6. Two debates, cattle calls really, more than a year before the election drew 25 million viewers each. It ain’t The Donald. The natives are restless.

    I have noticed that an inordinate portion of the commentary I have read is cynical, disrespectful of the candidates. These dozen or so people out of a potential 75+ million eligible have advanced to the position of having a chance to be President. This is a high accomplishment. I think it useful to recall the words of Theodore Roosevelt:

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

  7. It ain’t The Donald. The natives are restless.

    I suspect it is also the Donald. His fans love his shtick. That’s exactly the problem. When restless, they make bad decisions. The founders knew that, and sought to restrain it with the least successful part of their design, the Electoral College. We should replace it with a group that meets after the results of the senatorial elections are certified by the states. The group would meet in secret and would be made up of all the senators in the following congress and those who will be governor at the beginning of the following congress. The vote would be by secret paper ballot, with the ballots counted by the Supreme Court. Ballots would be released after the election of the President is announced. At the next even year election, the people would be able to vote to confirm or recall the President. If the president is recalled, the same senator/governor group would elect the president.

  8. The Donald has new fans, I suspect, because he doesn’t dissolve into a whimpering ball of apology, upon being attacked. He hits back, which is refreshing. What likely is also refreshing, is that the Mainstream Media has to take note, however reluctantly, when he does – unlike the other Republican potentials.

    I don’t think he would make a good president … but honestly, I can’t see — given the last seven years — how he could be that much worse.

  9. I had some accounts at UBS, but their fees were excessive. So I closed them and moved the securities to Schwab.

  10. “I prefer not to watch movies made after 1962.”

    I’m with you; that’s about my cut-off date too. Movies really turned to dreck in the 60’s and beyond, in my opinion. And like you, I have make exceptions — “Raising Arizona,” for instance. There are still a few nuggets of corn in the cow manure, but very few.

  11. Trump is not a republican or conservative in any meaningful way. He was supposed to be the Perot of this election, and split the republican/independent vote so Hillary could slide into the White House even if she got less than a majority vote.

    Doesn’t anyone recall how Bill actually won in ’92?

    I would not be at all surprised to find out at some later date that the real moving force behind Trump’s initial campaign was the Clinton machine, which he has openly supported in the recent past.

    What I think has happened is that nobody in the political or media elites truly understood just how fed up and disgusted a significant part of the electorate actually was, and that Trump’s iconoclastic approach would attract so many people because it resonated with their own feelings of being ignored and lied to by both parties.

    I find despair to be the wrong reaction for two reasons:

    1) the angrier and more rebellious the usually non-involved elements of the electorate get, as in the tea party movement of the last election cycle, the more tremors will register with the leadership of both parties, and cause them to re-evaluate some of their current policies;

    2) the constructive alternative to further angry polarization is the formation of a centrist/conservative bloc which can lead reforms of the worst excesses of the state’s expansive power usurpation of the past several decades. It has been shown repeatedly that the general political opinions of the majority are centrist/conservative, and that only minorities in the polls are actually progressive or libertarian.

    The value of the Trump movement, if it has any, is not to elect him, but to cause a large, previously inchoate, segment of the electorate to realize that they are not the outliers, but, in fact, part of a significant group whose ideas are not only legitimate, but widely shared.

    The vehemence of the reaction from the “permanent ruling coalition”, and their media lackeys, is keyed by their realization that they have seriously underestimated the depth of the general popular dissatisfaction with their failing leadership, and that the tea party rumbles of the last electoral cycle were only indicators of the developing movement to reject their continuing along as if their roles were beyond any serious challenge.

    The blue, liberal/progressive model is collapsing under the weight of the corruption and obvious incompetence of the ruling elites. All the elite’s media and academic horses can’t put that humpty back together again.

    The appropriate reaction is cautious optimism, and hope that the currently collapsing social structures designed by the liberal/progressive elites can be carefully dismantled where necessary, or redesigned where possible, so as not to lead the nation further into economic collapse and cultural disintegration.

    The solution is a rediscovery of the value of the free individual as a creative force, and the reduction of the state-centric model which has failed here, and everywhere else it has been tried.

    The definition of the American experiment that Lincoln described so succinctly at Gettysburg remains the only true formula for further advancement and prosperity. The common citizen realizes that more deeply, and fervently, than the elites have ever understood.

  12. “I think it useful to recall Theodore Roosevelt was praising himself.”

    I think it useful to note that trolls do not contribute to the conversation.

    The value of the Trump movement, if it has any, is not to elect him, but to cause a large, previously inchoate, segment of the electorate to realize that they are not the outliers, but, in fact, part of a significant group whose ideas are not only legitimate, but widely shared.

    I agree with this and believe it is a major factor in all revolutions, which this might be the early signs of. The French Revolution was a revolution of the bourgeoise that was captured by the left after the Girondin Ministry was over thrown by the Montagnards.

    The Girondists campaigned for the end of the monarchy but then resisted the spiraling momentum of the Revolution. They came into conflict with The Mountain (Montagnards), a radical faction within the Jacobin Club. This conflict eventually led to the fall of the Girondists and their mass execution, the beginning of the Reign of Terror.

    The American Revolution was likewise a revolution of the Bourgeoise but was not captured by the left.

    The coming revolution may not be violent but it will over throw the present ruling class. There may be some violence by such factions of the left as “Black Lives Matter” but they may be creatures of the Democrat ruling class and paid by Soros, for example.

    The illegal immigrants will probably just go home rather than fight.

    The radical Muslims are too small a faction yet but Obama is doing what he can to increase them. Further efforts in this line may precipitate the revolution.

    I tend to agree that Romney failed partly because he did not react forcefully to such provocations as the Candy Crowley intervention. Also, there is a large segment of the electorate that is simply ignorant and concerned with “stuff” and where it comes from. Romney was getting strong support at rallies from Bourgeois supporters but too many people were passive as they lost their chance at recovery.

  13. Another indicator that the revolution may not be limited to this country.

    Viktor Orban’s fence may have earned the wrath of rights groups but it’s going down well at a flower market near the Hungarian border town of Roszke, where the flow of migrants through fields of corn and sunflowers has suddenly dried up. The right-wing prime minister’s critics say the fence on the frontier with Serbia flies in the face of international law. But to many on Hungary’s southern frontier, the end justifies the means.

    “Thank God that Viktor Orban is our prime minister,” said a 46-year-old man who gave his name as Istvan and was selling flowers on Thursday at the Roszke market. “He doesn’t have to be loved, but what he does is good.” Echoing Orban in framing the issue as a defense of Europe’s “Christian states” against mainly Muslim migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia, Istvan said: “So far it seems that Hungary is the most Christian of all.”

    This may be a world wide phenomenon. The elites worry about the Muslims. The people worry about freeloaders.

    British morning TV has three non-white commentators opining that the Tories are cruel to cut school lunches.

    Home tomorrow. I’ll do some posts about the migrant thing.

  14. >>British morning TV

    I saw somewhere that the muslim immigrants were using a map of routes through Europe provided online by the BBC. The BBC knows a future leftist voter when it sees one. Just like our media.

  15. Let me try this again. What is UBS?

    The only UBS I know of is the American stock brokerage branch of Union Bank of Switzerland.

    I really did just close my accounts there because their fees are too high.

  16. In re Trump: Two debates, cattle calls really, held in the dog days of summer more than a year before the election drew 25 million viewers each. And The Donald is why? You don’t get that kind of audience for a show with Madonna, Miley, Kanye, Beyonce and a cast of thousands. Maybe with a zombie Elvis.

  17. Roy Lofquist
    I’ll match your Roosevelt and raise you one Coolidge.

    Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
    Calvin Coolidge
    30th president of US (1872 – 1933)

    The Donald has touched the feeling of powerlessness of the electorate that is fed up with political promises made at election time that are never fulfilled. He owes no one, so can speak without guarding his words. Any candidate that can match his freedom from normal constraints, and have better manners and thicker skin will push him aside. He may or may not have the best interests of the US at heart, but for sure has the best interests of The Donald at heart.

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