Pete Kendall's Socio Times: A Socionomic Commentary

December 7, 2007
Black Humor Pervades as Subprime Losses Extend to Arctic
A subprime-linked investment has cost four Norwegian towns as much as 451 million kroner ($82.1 million) and left them wondering how they'll pay workers this Christmas. The rest of the country is cracking jokes.

``Just imagine how many lottery tickets they could have got for 400 million kroner,'' Jon Almaas, the host of ``News on News,'' Norway's most-watched television program, joked on a recent episode. ``Or, for fear of appearing old-fashioned, they could have spent it on health and education.''

The losses on securities tied to the U.S. housing market are providing plenty of fodder for Norwegian comics, who compare the towns of Rana, Hemnes, Narvik and Hattfjelldal to naive country bumpkins taken in by big city hucksters. It has also inspired amateur comedians who are sending their own attempts at humor to the Web site of national broadcaster NRK.

``We have had loads of material which has crisscrossed the country by e-mail,'' said Ulrik Rongved Amundsen, project leader for NRK's comedy sites.

Last weekend, more than 10,000 people took a multiple choice quiz on NRK's Web site to determine whether they were a ``Naive Northerner or a Slippery Salesman?''

``Where do you keep your money?'' was one question, with the possible answers being ``Certainly not in a hedge fund; I leave that to the local government,'' or ``A nice man with aftershave takes care of it for me.''

The scandal ``fits well with an old narrative that we all know: the scheming salesman and the dumb farmer,'' says Ivar Froenes, a sociologist at the University of Oslo. ``By just twisting it slightly it fits perfectly with this situation.''

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From Oslo to Silicon Valley, Big Turn Is a Total Crack Up
Category: SATIRE
By: Pete Kendall, December 7, 2007
One new show is clearly more consistent with the aftermath of a bubble. “12 Miles of Bad Road,” an HBO series, is described as a “real estate satire” that is “dark, dark, dark but funny.” We saw something similar after the 2000 stock peak when satire became popular and society shrugged off the dot-com bubble with a TV series known as “Bull.” It lasted only a few episodes, but even that was enough to signal an exhaustion of the uptrend. This time, entertainment producers seem even more plugged in to the potential for a downturn. Viewers want to empathize with their TV stars. The transition from desperate sellers to black humor affirms their own journey.
The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast, July 2007

The Norwegian humor escapes me, but two videos, “Here Comes Another Bubble
and  "Fine Line: Suprime Decline" by The Richter Scales are pretty funny. The “Subprime Decline” video includes a shot of the Wile E. Coyote plunging into the abyss. The shot reminds us of last July when Steve Hochberg compared the state of the mortgage industry to Wile E. Coyote suspended in the mid-air above the walls of a great canyon. In the heat of the frenzy, it’s hard to see the full breadth of the excesses that support the markets. But as it passes, it becomes immediately and hilariously apparent, at least, to some people. We first recognized this mirthful moment in the work of Eddie Cantor, who successfully mined the comic potential of the Great Crash in late 1929. Here’s a recording in which he offered some hilarious Tips on the Stock Market:

Running Time: 2 min 20 sec

Download MP3

 The subprime funnies illustrate that another outburst is at hand, and the Richter Scales “Here Comes Another Bubble” hints that the laughter, and thus the scope of the decline, extends way beyond the housing market. As EWFF said in July 2000 when technology was listing and the overall market was about where it is now, “‘the gallows humor that prevails’ around Wall Street and Silicon Valley” is “another sign of a major mood change.”

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February 4, 2008
Bull Market Instruments Now Multiply Strength of Decline
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January 7, 2008
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December 7, 2007
From Oslo to Silicon Valley, Big Turn Is a Total Crack Up
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Just wanted to let you know, Sweeny Todd, a new production with Johnny Depp, will be coming to the theater shortly. Another Indicator of how Hollywood is on track to profit from the overall social mood.
Posted by: James Konecny
December 7, 2007 02:18 PM

Outstanding! Thank you for the funny side of the big turn.
Posted by: James Johnson
December 7, 2007 02:18 PM

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