Monday, March 16, 2009

Pop Culture fails when it rewards failures

It’s quite obvious how much I follow, love and analyze Pop Culture. Its dirty secret is that it has too often harboured & rewarded mediocrity. But mostly, it was camouflaged clowns, mascots-like characters that if nothing else, entertained us with their lack of any intellectual merit. Right away, names like Kato Kaelin, Larry Birkhead, Joe Millionaire and hotel heiresses come to mind. The reality is that these buffoons were harmless as their actions never really affected your daily routine.


Cut to today’s financial crisis. With incomprehensible bailout plans as suggested by President Bush, to President Obama’s current suspiciously optimistic stimulus plan, to all these deductions you don’t even want to understand on your 401k statements, financial journalists have become not only life lines but also embody updated versions of Ann Landers with every news shows hosting “Dear Financial Journalist” segments where duped stockholders find court for their grievances, questions and worries.


Money guru Suze Orman has seen her empire rise in this crisis because she breaks it down like you need to hear it, as she has always done. Her success is supported by sound advice, books, a cable-TV show, segments on Oprah and on every morning show under the sun. Jim Cramer, host of Fast Money on CNBC is another story. The loud-mouth host has failed to not only forecast this financial debacle but in many aspects, has contributed to everyday stockholders being blindsided by it. As a news reporter, he was unsuccessful in tracking the main story and his recent attempts of finger wagging at the Obama administration, big banks and hedge funds are, misplaced, too late and ineffective. To now see Mr. Cramer find mainstream popularity, selling his mea culpa on popular podiums such as the Stewarts’ (Jon and Martha) is unsettling. The reality is that in the name of journalism this guy should be summoned in front of an ethic committee made of his peers. And should it happen, that is what should be celebrated, rewarded or put on the cover of a glossy magazine.





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