Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bubble, Bubble, Barney Rubble

I've been telling people this for years. Demographics are not dollars. If newspapers, which used to provide something of value and still do occasionally, can't find a way to "monetize," how could social media possibly do it? LinkedIn is a ghost site making a cash grab. Groupon should have sold out when it had the chance. Now there are scads of imitators, and Groupon's only strategies are to divide into areas of concentration and/or go microlocal and/or buy up the others, all of which will cost more than they have, even with a vastly overvalued ipo. Or they could hang out and wait for the competition to myspace. That's "myspace" as a verb. I would have said "betamax," but you're too young to get that, I bet.

Actually, hidden in that linked story is an excellent look at why advertising too is dying. Only a few rich people have anything left to spend, and it doesn't take too many people or much imagination to pitch to them. Most of the advertising I get paid to write is pitching the federal government, who's a rich guy no matter what he says.

Sorry, sometimes I have the illusion I'm still in business. I'm fascinated by what the world values and doesn't, and how it assigns these values. Because nearly everything I value has no value to the world. Like right now, I should be writing for pay but Ima write a poem. And speaking of young folks.

Bikram at 50
Beware, young women, beware. I dare
To place my mat square in the front of the room.
Every pop of my knees and hips reports
Like a shot in the dead of night. I am your
Gray and sweaty wake-up call, girls.
I come from an abundant, careless time,
A time before we knew that none of it was good for us.
Weak weed, full bush, lead, white bread
In the balloon-festooned plastic bag.
Bowl after bowl of eight essential vitamins.
Sucked dry by Count Chocula in the heavy metal parking lot.
And look where it got me. A pretty young thing
Orders me: "Down, dog," and I obey.
I am the memento mori among your still life
Of flowers, ripe fruit, shimmering, freshly opened
Oysters. What a spread those old masters
Used to lay out, didn't they? They knew how to live.
But there, in the middle, they'd place
The grinning skull--skulls are forever
Grinning in bad writing, aren't they?
You smile at me and tell me:
"Keep it up. You're doing great."
I grin back at you.


mark said...

What thinking soul would not agree with you and David Sorata? Unless of course that soul was already sold on jejune dreams of corporate greed being benign?

I have been surprised to be reading about the virtual worth of these so-called social sites, but really, I shouldn't be. As my dad would say, "Americans buy things they don't need with money they don't have." The corollary to this, as you point out, is "And then they create money that is not there with equity that is not theirs."

Our society has been geared toward "getting ours" for far too long. That's obvious when every company, celebrity and and entity under the sun feels justified in charging ever more for their services to maintain their status quo, from working stiffs whose grocery, petrol and utility bills are outpacing them more each day.

Is that why they smile at you, is that why you grin back? You're self-aware; you know what they want from you. Can you maintain your dignity and sanity as daily demands are made upon them? I mean, obeying the canine command can be something fierce.

Or is still life such a bad thing to be after all?

Slothrop said...

Boy do I love this 1 - sometimes you turn 1 out (like magic) where every word choice seems perfect. "Old masters"...yeah. "Spread" has such beautiful multivalence. Not gonna touch the freshly opened oysters....

I've been working on a long piece on a subject like this - values are what people want or think they want. The old masters w/ their grinning skulls were steeped in dualities & dualities are the big problem w/ values. Adam & Eve were 1 w/ God. After the Fall when they hid their nakedness came the dualities - wanting to "please" Him instead of themselves. The want alone was Sin b/c it was hypocrisy. (I don't buy the disobedience reading.) The scarlet letter on Dimmesdale's chest; we are split.

What do the pretty young things want? "Getting ours"...what's the thought process that determines what whould be ours? & who decides these things after the death of advertising?

I hit puberty in the late 70's & early 80's. A lavish era that I wouldn't trade; easier maybe to know what you wanted. Would the pretty young things agree if they could visit it? Is "good for us" really it's own reward?

Slothrop said...

Oh yeah - & if you put out a book I would buy the crap out of it.

mark said...

Whoooooooooo Am I?
Who? Who? WHo? Who?
Whoooooooooo Am I?
Who? Who? Who? Who?

Pam said...

Oh, such a great poem.