Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category

Trends for the Long-Awaited New Year

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

First people stop buying books as Wii, DVR, and Hulu make it too easy to do eye exercises. Prez Obama sinks a cool billion into life support for the publishing doofuses. Taxpayers take to the street to protest; then the hullabaloo makes people realize Barnes & Noble is in fact a bookstore, not a coffee shop.

Empty bookstore.

People learn Target and Macy’s basically sell the same stuff and stop paying attention to their advertising. Macy’s becomes “Walmart without dog food and toilet paper.”

A movie opens quietly that touches people’s hearts and yet has no celebrities. What occurs is this: Wes Anderson changes his name to something obscure and recruits actors via YouTube auditions. They shoot the feel-good movie of the year in Prospect Park, and it grosses more than a billion. But alas, the goodwill is ruined by the studio’s DVD-release hype.

The City of New York bans store chains from opening more than one location in any neighborhood. As 7-Elevens invade the territory reserved for the grimy neighborhood bodega, third-termer Michael Bloomberg proclaims that every city block ought to have at least one store where it’s fine for locals to sit outside on milk crates and drink $2 Snapple out of paper bags . Subsequently, taxes rise. I heart NY.


The post-millennial Saturday Evening Post announces that it is merging with Playboy, and suddenly Martha and O’s magazines are in big trouble. The new mag publishes things people want to read and engenders brand loyalty in its readers by being authentic and dirty. The printed word is the new black.

Someone not named Donnie Deutsch takes over the 10 p.m. spot on CNBC and does interviews with people who have something to say that isn’t a prepared statement by flacks. Jeff Zucker for once gets a night’s sleep.

The iPhone is given away with boxes of Tide detergent. Steve Jobs takes to the stage at MacWorld and proclaims that Tide is all he ever uses on his closetful of black turtlenecks and jeans because, “like Apple, Tide is a noun, and I like nouns.” The iPhone is priced down to $9.99, and Americans begin to make all their spending money selling ideas via the App Store.


After the calamitous failure of several self-help biz books, we start noting how much cheaper it is to enact someone else’s great idea — and pretend it’s ours. The ‘09 way to live a saner and more successful existence is by, you guessed it, jumping on the bandwagon in order to forgo sitting at the reins trying to blaze the trail ourselves.

All remaining reality TV gigs, “One Tree Hill” and the ridiculously skinny “90210″ are banned by the feds because a CDC study proves they are in fact not guilty pleasures at all but instantly kill brain cells upon viewing. The ACLU challenges the move as a violation of free speech, or at least a bad use of pee breaks. The liberals win, and a Fox reality show is quickly constructed. Its title: “ACLU-Ville.”


Those bass-ackward Kenneth Cole HELP ads inspire jobless executives to hawk $500 loafers on New York’s Canal Street. In a similar story, “My Super Sweet 16″ is canceled because no one is able to afford to pay for parties that huge and absurd anymore. Rational people rejoice. 2009 is heralded as a banner year!

Resolve to Be Pessimistic: An Eager Lesson for 2009

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

The year we just lived through saw unparalleled amounts of optimism. Despite the worst economic recession since the early 1990s, record gas prices, high unemployment, incompetent leadership, and so much more direness, America came out of the woodwork to vote in November on a belief that happy days can be here again

Good News Is Out: Bad

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Bad news is the new good news. Jump on the bandwagon.

Bad news is absolutely everywhere. It is unavoidable. The economy is in shambles, 50 million Americans are without health insurance, unemployment is on the rise in numbers that scare even me, and 43 out of 50 states are now operating on a budget deficit. Meanwhile, some enterprising projects have figured out how to keep their heads above water and even prosper in some cases despite experiencing these bleakest of times by making the (now official) recession seem almost cool.

Kind of.

A great example of the general mopiness of society today is found on television. Maury Povich, the veteran host whose syndicated

Obama Wins: America Has Nothing to Whine About Anymore

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Barack Obama: President of Sunglasses

I was reading through a bunch of email newsletters and saw the travel guy I used to respect relating how we might not be able to “trust” Obama. That’s when it hit me: Of course he will win. Republicans with attitudes like the newsletter dude need to be pushed aside in favor of positive enforcement that the world is actually a decent place.

Quote from him: “I’m certain that in one case we can [trust the candidate] - a man with a proven record of decades of unswerving integrity and loyal support and love for his country. I fear the other candidate’s vision of change (because, for sure, he has no record to run on at all, except that of shadowy associations with people who hate America and wish us harm) may be a dark and scary thing quite different to that which many of his starry eyed supporters wish it to be.”

Then the so-called Travel Insider ended with “Nuff said” a smiley face, and I unsubscribed to his letter after seven years. (Travel Idiot for sharing: I’m sure I was one of several hundred who did.)

Obama has done everything in his power to prove himself as a good man — a solid individual who has zigzagged throughout this country telling us what he will do when elected. He’s been consistent and has run a fabulous campaign. We know that. But one aspect of his candidacy is hardly spoken about — the fact he has strived to keep everything above board. He has nothing to apologize for and has handled the entire 21 months with aplomb and forthrightness. Even when I wasn’t sure of him (admittedly) there was always that part of me that shook my head and said “I wish I could be like that.” Even-handed and measured, the way I imagine a president was before I was born.

The fact is, Mrs. Clinton, John McCan’t, Tina Fey Palin, Crazy Huck, and most of the other candidates in this never-ending freak show worked our nerves every time we listened to them, tossing out bright shiny objects until we were dizzy. It made me feel bad that they had to take such cheap shots in order to stay in the race. But our man, Senator O, did not see that road, never even took the easy shots at President Bush when Obama could have beaten the Chief up for acting, if not being, a real shmuck.

It’s time for the world to stop being snarky at every turn (too easy anyway) and to realize we’re all in this together. There’s a lot of muck out there and in the end we are better for it when we act respectfully and honorably, no matter what. In the last few weeks of this election season two of the two biggest purveyors of “oh my G-d did you see that” rumors — and Radar magazine — have seen their fortunes die out. This is not by chance. I think us all, Republicans and Democrats alike, so-called independents and the ones who side fervently, have a single thing in common: we want us to stop complaining, bitching, or making fun! Let’s see the good side instead of piling on the dirt.

To paraphrase a song from my 20’s: Whine time is over. After this election is over, let’s all take a deep breath, live with the meltdown, and say out loud: “What can I do to make this a better world?” And to you who think this all sounds Pollyannaish, I offer the final words of this soliloquy:

“Deal with it. You’re secretly hoping everyone can start acting like our country (and perhps the world) is one big village. Smile a little. Encourage good behavior. Compliment someone for the hell of it. Don’t make fun of the next guy. Just be yourself. Look upwards. Hide from no one. Say something to the person standing by you about where you are headed in life. And celebrate a new beginning, one that says “Uh huh, the last eight years were one big messy period. So what? We don’t have to look backwards anymore. We can change.”
Congratulations. We are on the way up.

I’m Richard Laermer, and I’m the author of a hopeful book, 2011: Trendspotting.

Buy the Book - 2011

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