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A Glimpse At The "Most Potent Force In The Social World"

Tyler Durden's picture


By Ben Hunt of Epsilon Theory

Well, Dick, it's got a good beat and you can dance to it.

      -  standard response to Dick Clark's "how do you rate this song" question

Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire.

      -  Robert Frost

I know nothing, except what everyone knows - if there when Grace dances, I should dance.

      -  W.H. Auden

Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music.

      -  George Carlin, stealing a line from Friedrich Nietzsche

As long as the music is playing, you've got to get up and dance. We're still dancing.

      -  Chuck Prince, former Citigroup CEO, summer of 2007, before the Deluge

I don't set trends. I just find out what they are and exploit them.

      - Dick Clark

American Bandstand

In 1949, Yale anthropologist George Murdock spearheaded the establishment of an inter-university research organization to continue his life's work: the cataloguing of what he called cultural universals, the social behaviors that exist in every human society across time and geography. That institution — the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) — is still going strong today, supporting all sorts of social science research by providing a fully-indexed electronic collection of cultural anthropological studies. The goal is to find patterns or commonalities in human social behavior, and it all stems from Murdock's List: his compilation of the 67 universal social behaviors of the human animal. Every now and then someone publishes an updated version of Murdock's List (either directly, like Donald Brown in his 1991 book, "Human Universals", or indirectly, like Steven Pinker in his 2002 book "The Blank Slate"), but it's hard to improve on the original. It's a fascinating list, with items such as "propitiation of supernatural beings", "eschatology", and "kinship nomenclature" right alongside "joking", "hair styles", and "mealtimes". Pretty much everything we do in life is instantly recognizable as an item on Murdock's List, and what isn't just needs a little tweak in perception to fit one category or another.

I like looking at human behaviors through the lens of Murdock's list for the same reason I like looking through the lens of evolutionary theory: behaviors that seem illogical or just plain stupid through our standard lenses of small-I liberalism or modern economic theory take on a new appearance with a change in perspective. In "Adaptive Investing"  I discussed how non-economic behaviors such as routine mammograms and daily multivitamins (and portfolio risk scenario tests) make sense from an evolutionary perspective as a behavioral adaptation to demonstrate fitness, much like the dance of the Blue-Footed Booby or the ceremonial fight of the Oryx Gazelle, but they also make sense from a Murdock's List perspective as a "propitiation of supernatural beings", where we attempt to appease the great modern god Cancer (or in the case of risk scenario tests, the great ancient god Luck) with a ritualized sacrifice of our time and money.

One of Murdock's 67 cultural universals is dancing. You find dance in every human society that ever existed (more so than music), and it will exist in every human society in the future. Why? Because it is part of our eusocial nature, part of the 10% bee-ness than makes up the human animal. Like the bee, we dance both to communicate and as a hard-wired response to signals from fellow members of our species. It's not a language that we hear or generate in the same way that we speak English, but it has a grammar and a vocabulary nonetheless. Because it so primal, dance has an urgency that modern spoken languages do not, and I say that as an individual to whom dancing is very much a foreign language.

Interestingly enough, mathematics is not on Murdock's List. Mathematics is an entirely formal language, about as far away in human terms as one can get from the language of dance (and yes, there have been efforts to create formal linguistic representations of dance, none of which have caught on). The unfortunate fact is that it's very hard to represent human social behaviors in formal linguistic terms. That's true whether the social behavior occurs in an artistic or cultural setting, like dancing, or whether it occurs in a market setting, like the "dancing" that Chuck Prince was referring to in 2007 when Citi was still underwriting and securitizing Alt-A and sub-prime mortgages as fast as humanly possible. But just because it's really hard to describe a group dynamic like dancing with the same symbols that describe a capital asset pricing model doesn't mean that dancing (or "dancing") lacks a language and a grammar. You just need to develop an ear for it, and that's where game theory can help.

Game theory is a bridge between hot-blooded social languages like dancing and cold-blooded formal languages like mathematics. Game theory is an abstraction of dynamic social interactions. Because it's an abstraction, game theory usefully adopts some of the formal grammar of mathematics, which remains the most efficient way to represent theory regardless of what the theory is about. But game theory has no meaning or usefulness outside of a social setting. Like the tango, game theory takes two. Also like the tango, game theory is all about movement, the fluid movement of separate individuals who are bound up with each other in a system of mutual expectations and individual goals. Put it all together and game theory uses some basic mathematical concepts to organize our thinking about dynamic and strategic behaviors that have their origins in our social animal brains and Murdock's List. It's a powerful tool kit.

Some people have an intuitive ability to "speak" game theory fluently. These are geniuses like Dick Clark who can translate between the language of the social animal and the language of the self-aware brain effortlessly, and make an enormous fortune in the process. Clark recognized the trends, nuances, and idioms of popular culture just as surely as he recognized the economic formulas behind radio and television syndication. Was he a brilliant artist? Nope. Couldn't dance, sing, or act. But he spoke the language of performers and somehow figured out how to communicate that primal grammar to Middle America in a way that felt "safe". It seems weird today, as we are immersed in a popular culture of youth, but "youth culture" (a phrase coined by Paul Anka in reference to Dick Clark) didn't exist before American Bandstand. As much as anyone over the past 50 years, from the Beatles to Elvis Presley to any performer you want to name ... Dick Clark was responsible for the modern landscape of how the languages of music and dance are communicated in a commercially lucrative fashion. His secret (other than a bizarrely youthful face)? Clark understood the Common  Knowledge Game.

Clark didn't poll America to determine their taste in music. He told them their taste in music ... not directly, but by creating common knowledge — ideas that a crowd believes that the crowd believes. With the American Bandstand group dance staging and scripted questions, Clark allowed the TV audience to see a crowd of attractive young people act as if the music were popular. This is all it takes. Clark didn't have to force his preferred choice of popular culture on his audience like some centrally-planned Ministry of Culture. The TV audience chose it all on their own, thinking all along it was their choice! This is the power of the Emperor's New Clothes. This is the power of the sitcom laugh track and the live studio audience. This is the power of public coronations and executions. This is the power of Tahrir Square and Tiananmen Square. This is the power of the crowd seeing the crowd, and it is the most potent force in the social world.

It's certainly the most potent force in the social world of markets, and every Central Banker today is playing the Common Knowledge Game just as hard as Dick Clark ever did.

Here's last Thursday's (Jan. 9) WSJ headline teaser at 9 am ET after the ECB press conference:

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi used unexpectedly strong language to stress that the central bank will remain accommodative for as long as necessary.

How is this the Common Knowledge Game? Since August 2012 we have watched the markets dance to Draghi's tune. If you don't know by now that Draghi's words move the market crowd, then you're an idiot. But you're not an idiot. And neither is any one of the hundreds of thousands of people reading the WSJ headline. And neither is Draghi. We are told by the WSJ that Draghi's words today have a good beat and you can dance to it. So we do. We dance, just like we've been trained to do by watching this show 30 times before.

As a result, Italy and Spain's equity and credit markets outperformed Germany's by a mile after Draghi's signal ... which was exactly the intended effect (Spain is now borrowing money at the cheapest rate in the euro era!) and exactly why it is so difficult to be a macro Value investor today. All of your fundamental indicators that show (correctly) that Italy and Spain are ridiculously overvalued at current prices relative to, say, Germany don't matter in the least. Or rather, they matter, but they evaporate like dew when the Draghi sun shines at a press conference. Note to Jeremy Grantham: it costs Draghi nothing to use "unexpectedly strong language" to keep this game going for a loonnng time.

Here's last Friday's (Jan. 10) WSJ headline teaser at 9 am ET after the disappointing jobs report: "Weak jobs report complicates Fed plans." Seems innocuous enough, right? Nope, this is a market roiler, especially for the most sensitive assets to the Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence ... assets like gold.

Gold rocked last Friday, on deflationary news. Huh? I know that gold bugs will tell you how great gold can be in a deflationary environment, but come on, that only makes sense if you're talking about end-of-the-world deflation. The jobs report last Friday was run-of-the-mill, plain vanilla disappointing growth news. Not end-of-the-world news, not even negative growth news ... just disappointing growth news. This should be bad for gold prices, not good, and Friday's price action made no sense through the lens of traditional economic theory. But it made perfect sense through the lenses of history and game theory, where the meaning of gold has shifted from an alternative store of value to  insurance against Central Bank policy error.

Of course, this sort of challenge to the Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence could not go unaddressed, and sure enough by 7 pm last Friday you had a WSJ article by none other than Jon Hilsenrath, the Common Knowledge spokesman for the Fed, titled "Fed Unlikely to Alter Course After Jobs Report." Over the weekend and on Monday you had at least three Fed Governors come out with similar statements, that there was no confusion or complication imposed by the jobs report. Nothing to see here folks, move along. None of these Powers That Be are taking issue with whether or not the Friday jobs report was bad news ... the only thing that matters is how this news impacts the common knowledge structure that generates their power to control market outcomes. That's the threat that must be squelched. This is what Bernanke meant when he talked about using communications as a policy tool, and this is what Yellen (and Draghi and Abe and everyone else in the club) will continue to do ... use public statements to play the Common Knowledge Game and drive market outcomes by proxy.

I can sleep well at night if you get nothing else out of Epsilon Theory beyond the recognition that a) you are being played, and b) there are rules and logic to how you are being played. But I'd also like to demonstrate that c) it's entirely rational to play along (to a point), and d) you can be a player, too.

It can be entirely rational to act as if the Emperor is wearing a beautiful set of clothes. In fact, when you're caught in a Common Knowledge Game others will look at you askance if you act publicly according to the evidence of your own eyes rather than the evidence of the crowd watching the crowd. But you need to recognize that's what you're doing. It's critically important to avoid internalizing your behavior, falling into what Kant called a "dogmatic slumber", believing in your heart of hearts that the Emperor truly looks marvelous. The tragedy of 1984 is not that Big Brother rules Oceania, but that in the end, Winston loves Big Brother and gives himself over to collective solipsism. The fright of Invasion of the Body Snatchers is not the cat-and-mouse with alien pod people, but that in the end, Donald Sutherland becomes a pod person and outs the human survivors.

Other than the minor detail of losing your free will, why is it so important to avoid becoming a pod person? Why is it a bad idea solely from the perspective of being an effective investor? Because the tango is an unpredictable dance. Because your best move in ANY game is not pre-ordained or even fully under your control. Your best move depends not only on Know Thyself, advice that Socrates gave almost 3,000 years ago and is still the smartest, deepest thing that anyone has ever said, but also on Watch the Other, the sensitivity that all social animals possess to look for and pick up on minute changes in the signals that our hive-mates emit.

The moment you give yourself over to the Dick Clarks of the world who create common knowledge, the moment you abdicate your keenly evolved human abilities of self-awareness and other-evaluation ... that's the moment you put yourself at the most risk. Because the game will change. Even if the external conditions of the world today are exactly the same as the external conditions of the world yesterday, a change in the internal conditions of the other game-players, whether it's a queen bee like Draghi or a set of worker bees like us, can change your best move.

This is the insight that game theory provides, an insight that econometrics (which only looks at external conditions) can't — how social dynamics and group interactions impact market behaviors. Game theory predicts that gold prices will go up on ANY news — even deflationary news — IF that news creates a worker bee perception that the queen bees are rattled by the news. And vice versa, gold will go down on ANY news — even inflationary news — IF that news improves the perception that global central banks are large and in charge ... the Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence. It's not the news itself, which is what an econometric perspective would say, but how that news impacts the belief structures that comprise the game. It's not the card that's dealt (the news), but how that card fits the hand that your poker opponent is representing. An ace of spades is good news for your opponent in the abstract, but it might be terrible news if he's representing a heart flush. Game theory is all about playing the player, not the cards. That's not a replacement for understanding the fundamentals and the math of drawing this card or that, but it sure is a complementary skill set. If you want to win.


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Fri, 01/24/2014 - 20:58 | 4365075 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Conditioned like lab rats.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:13 | 4365113 HelluvaEngineer
HelluvaEngineer's picture

I see the JPM interns are online tonight.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:39 | 4365199 KickIce
KickIce's picture

Must be their weekend off.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:09 | 4365286 0b1knob
0b1knob's picture

So much astroturf, beards, and merkins around.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 05:16 | 4366028 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Sure, da, maybe crowd is watch crowd for cue, but nothing is move sheeple with great efficiency like fear. Maybe Dick Clark is get tiny bopper to dance for new song phenomena, but Pol Pot is get lovely Cambodian children kill parent. Which is more powerful?

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 07:28 | 4366194 negative rates
negative rates's picture

You can't trump infinity bitches!

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 11:50 | 4366551 bania
bania's picture

"hard as Dick", indeed.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:30 | 4366421 Boxed Merlot
Boxed Merlot's picture

move sheeple with great efficiency like fear...Pol Pot is get lovely Cambodian children kill parent. Which is more powerful?...



Great point.  Fear motivates, and the fear of death, pain, suffering and loss as coercive inducements rely on those who haven't yet made peace with themselves / their creator, i.e., typically the young.  I would contend however, the power of a surrendered soldier, a free and voluntarily compliant citizen and / or "salvation" assured individual will trump the Pol Pots of the world.



Sat, 01/25/2014 - 19:54 | 4367483 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

In USA* government is fear people, in USSR, people is fear government.

"When people is fear government, is tyranny, when government is fear people, is freedom." - Thomas S Jefferson

* Where is USA, only see USSA now.... :(

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:17 | 4365130 mofreedom
mofreedom's picture

Are greenies (ups) being turned into reddies on this site tonight?

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:04 | 4365276 mofreedom
mofreedom's picture

I've never seen such a blood bath here, though I may have and don't remember, but I have all my faculties tonight!

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:28 | 4365346 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Yeah, the down-arrow boys are out tonight.  All threads, all comments.  Good thing I learned from the BLS to disregard negative data.  Fuck 'em.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 23:41 | 4365542 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Using TV and Hollywood plus music.

Odd how the U.S. rock music and hippie culture were created by "kids" of the MIC/Intel/founding families.  More Operation Mockingbird.

Most of these kids went to schools in VA near DC and the intel apparatus.  The whole hippie movement was to give the youth some idea they had a voice while MIC and the elites made billions off Vietnam.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:13 | 4366392 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture



Neither the counter-culture hippies and yippies, anti-war radicalism, civil rights movement, feminists, nor rock music were

"created" by a government conspiracy, or originated as a government/ ruling-elite plot.

Instead, they originated in response to the inequities. oppressions, and lies of wars, racism, and materialism.

What is correct to argue is that  individuals were co-opted, arrested, and even murdered; that organizations were infiltrated by (FBI-police) agents, and systematically marginalized and misdirected by established media and government policy.

A comparison may be made to the suppression of the IWW, and the substitution of cooperative fragmented trade unionism.

The false conspiracy theory of resistance you allege,

begets the rejection of genuine resistance with a false and mocking cynicism.


Sun, 01/26/2014 - 00:55 | 4367885 Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas's picture


Hey Freddie, it's pretty spooky isn't it? Check out this story called Inside the LC, it's about all the folks in Laurel Canyon during the sixties who died mysteriously and all had strange links to the MIC. Makes your head spin!


Dave McGowan took the story off his website since he's publishing a book, but you can read all parts here:


Rwe2late, check out the parts about Jim Morrison, he supposedly wrote all of those songs in a very short time with no interest or training in music. Kinda odd.



Sun, 01/26/2014 - 05:24 | 4368012 Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas's picture

Hey Freddie, It's not nice to change what you've said to match the thing brother. I see what you did there.


Sat, 01/25/2014 - 06:37 | 4366123 prains
prains's picture

Herd mentality is what the NFL, NBA, MLB is for.......go team, (because some dudes have been rented to play in my hometown for this year), go!

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:07 | 4366384 blindman
blindman's picture

if lab rats did scientific studies they would
use people because of the same similarities.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:02 | 4365082 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

This is the new Dick Clark. He does a pretty good number on Davos and the 85 richest people and how the journalists cover it...fwiw (Mountain Few)

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:16 | 4365117 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

-1 for looking to Jon Stewart for ANY answer.  I'm not judging you, hell no. It's part of the subliminal conditioning we've all been subjected to.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:23 | 4365145 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

it's all good, as i said below I expected it. I am not looking to him for any answers. What is interesting to me is he is ZH for the 40 and below crowd. Maybe even older, and both parties. Massive audience. He is witty and no dummy. 

He is the kind of celebrity that I expect will eventually set the plate for the 3rd party candidate when everyone is sick of the two parties in 2 years. Of course that underdog 3rd party candidate will just be another version of what we already have, and probably much worse...but with his blessing the sheep will pile over themselves to be able to say they railed against the system and showed their rebellious side. People are stupid.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:35 | 4365182 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

He's a script reading mouthpiece for the establishment left, if you think he's speaking honestly, you're still asleep.  He's fake, the laughs are fake, the audience is fake, he's more fake than the modern reality TV shows.  Everything from the MSM was design to mislead and condition the lab rats.  That's the point of the article.  Stewart no more "politically incorrect" than that other PC schmuck Bill Maher who did the "politically incorrect" show.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:46 | 4365196 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

when did I say he is speaking honestly? I said he is smart and funny. I never said honest. The audience is real. I've been to a show. They fuckin love him. They adore him. THEY think he is real.

He is not just a mouthpiece for the left. The right watches him too, and he takes his shots here and there at our dear leader. 

If we can agree that when you get high enough on the ladder there is only one team, then he is the script reader for that team. That is what makes him so useful and so dangerous. I think you understimate his influence, no offense, if you lump him in with that douche Mahar.

( you know these are not my down arrows)

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:48 | 4365225 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Folks like you are the reason why I'm prepared for the worse case scenario in the US, which is full blown controls and totalitarian rule, it's almost inevitable at this point.  You're a smart guy, you went to college, you have degrees, you offer clients financial advice, yet you can't tell who's who. 

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:53 | 4365239 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Do you actually think there are actually two parties?


Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:00 | 4365264 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

I don't give a fuck about any parties.  What do you believe in, who are you?  Do you even know who you're listening to? It's becoming very clear to me that we are fucked.  We don't even know the difference.  So what are you even fighting for?  Hope it's not to save your own sorry ass cause that ain't happening.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:12 | 4365296 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

Harbanger, with all due respect, take a step back, because you have this competely misunderstood. 

I don't give a fuck about any parties. I don't distinguish left from right. It's too late anyway. The whole thing is fucked. This was an article on Dick Clark and how he shaped people's minds, remember? All I was asserting here is that this one particular dude carries A LOT of weight with the asshole fucking sheeple. He will be instrumental in helping whoever was meant to be next, get in. I don't "listen" to him. I don't believe he is "honest". I am saying he is one hell of an evil motherfucker because he knows his role and is good at it. I live in the NYC area. So I did go to a show to see if it was real. He did not cast a spell on me. I can actually watch and see something without being brainwashed.

Why you needed to mix in insults while putting words in my mouth and incorrectly judging me is a bit puzzling. 


Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:17 | 4365313 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

OK, enough said.  I'm not judging you, I'm making a point about what we've become.  No point in continuing.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:24 | 4365329 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I hear you man. When you say what "we" have become I doubt you include yourself. I don't include myself.

fwiw as to what I am fighting for, and believe in. It's all about my kid now. Nothing else matters. Nothing. 

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:26 | 4365341 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture


Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:47 | 4365404 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Fonz- you have email.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 00:05 | 4365611 Son of Captain Nemo
Son of Captain Nemo's picture

To Harbanger and Fonz

I believe the last time I watched the Dailyshow with Jon Stewart not too long ago I might add he had Blackwater's Erik Prince on his show to "Tell his side of the story"...

Needless to say your exchange here highlights his motivations and foretells quite well the direction this Country is continuing to head in...


The one I actually thought had the biggest opportunity to be the noble leader of the "sheep" was Stephen Colbert after what he did to G.W. at the Press Correspondents Dinner in 2006. After I saw him tear Bush and Cheney a "new one" I said this guy was on the way to being another 'pied piper' in the genre of Bill Hicks. 

8 years later....  Boy was I and many others who believed how NOT Jon Stewart he was were wrong!

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 07:36 | 4366203 negative rates
negative rates's picture

He's right, you are on the wrong path. The kid will soon be an orphan once it's parents bad behavioral past is paid in consequences in not to distant future. As he said, you don't even see it, it's invisible to you so why not continue the bad behavior. Whch is fine execpt that boat is already loaded with sinking debentures.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:00 | 4366377 blindman
blindman's picture

but your kids will live amongst other people's kids
in an environment or place, somehow, somewhere, so
it seems the point is or the suggestion might include
enlivening the dick clark inside ourselves so as to have some
editorial input, if nothing else,
for the "children's" future? sadly, this comment is
reminiscent of two cheesy political slogans of the last
30 years, "a thousand points of light" ghwb and "it takes a village". hc
and a song by jimmy cliff.
Jimmy Cliff "Children's Bread" Guitar Center Sessions on DIRECTV


Sat, 01/25/2014 - 01:34 | 4365798 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

>>>>>It's becoming very clear to me that we are fucked.

WTF took you so long?

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 01:33 | 4365794 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

Never heard you take a pot shot at the Tyler/s when they've linked him. 

Christ, do you take everything so serious? You're making the assumption that nobody can discern entertainment from reality. 

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 07:30 | 4366198 negative rates
negative rates's picture

We read all the books, but can't find the answers. 

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 23:43 | 4365549 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Jonathan Stewart Leibowitz is just another Mockingbird puppet.  TV and Hollywood is for idiots Fonz.  

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 23:55 | 4365573 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

This country is run by idiots voted in by idiots. Judging by the junks it seems many of them have found there way here.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 00:43 | 4365690 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Fonz - you are a nice guy but no one gets on TV or the wide open media like big radio unless they say what the elites want said.  Stew-Rat is an illusion to make you think there is a guy out there who sort of has your back.  He is just another puppet.  The whole hippie music movement in So California was an op. 

Why did these people spend so much on mind control and LSD?

Why is your leader using neuro linguistic programming when he talks to the sheep?

Programmed zombie killers like Sirhan, Hinckley, the zoned out kid in CO who was doing neurology research along with his dad.   Adam Lanza who no one saw for the past 4 years and the parents were connected.

It is not run by idiots.  It is run by ruthless killers.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:13 | 4366391 Boxed Merlot
Boxed Merlot's picture

It is run by ruthless killers...



Hillary 2016 preview and the fate that has befallen so many Clinton associates!


As for all their "associates" and other adults working in security, etc., I understand it's an inherent vocational risk, but the deaths that continue to haunt me are the 2 young boys on the train tracks.

"Mena is a federal issue".  -  B. Clinton



Sun, 01/26/2014 - 10:34 | 4368222 ThePoliticalCom
ThePoliticalCom's picture

Thanks for the link!



Sat, 01/25/2014 - 07:37 | 4366209 negative rates
negative rates's picture

But don't forget to include yourself there pal.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 08:33 | 4366250 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

 "Stew-Rat is an illusion to make you think there is a guy out there who sort of has your back.  He is just another puppet."


come on man....Jeebus age Christ I don't know this? No offense but does anyone read anything anymore or do they just go straight neanderthal nowadays? Jon Stewart bad! fonz clueless!



Sat, 01/25/2014 - 18:56 | 4367397 malek
malek's picture

Maybe you should double-check what you write.

He is not just a mouthpiece for the left. The right watches him too, and he takes his shots here and there at our dear leader.

Are you even aware you now sound like one out of the adore-him studio crowd?

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 19:44 | 4367467 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

how do you figure? What about that says I adore him? Did I happen to write anything else, I don't know...such as  "I am saying he is one hell of an evil motherfucker because he knows his role and is good at it".

Are you even aware that your conclusion makes you seem like a retarded neandertal? 

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 21:56 | 4367647 malek
malek's picture

Full context:

Harbanger: He's a script reading mouthpiece for the establishment left, if you think he's speaking honestly, you're still asleep.

fonannoon: He is not just a mouthpiece for the left. The right watches him too, and he takes his shots here and there at our dear leader.

H attacks JS.
You reply with: But some righties like him too, and he even sometimes takes shots at lefty figureheads!


"Then teach me how to see!" "No one can teach you how to see!!"

Oh I forgot, it's always someone else's fault, except on ZH unless it is.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 20:54 | 4367566 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Fonz - the only person in the media that I have seen with real balls was Judge Andrew Napolitano.  I don't watch TV but I heard he was taken off Fox News and TV.   Gerald Celente is another but he can only get on RT. Some people also may mention Alex Jones but I don't trust him totally.  TV is joke. 

Hollywood's scripts are all Obama and the alphabet intel agencies that make SWAT teams, DHS thugs, spying on the public, shredding The Constitution all high tech and cool now.

The first two minutes here show why Judge Napolitano is no longer on TV.  He got way to close to exposing the truth.

All the best to you.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 21:13 | 4367593 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

I liked him (Judge) a lot Freddie, and they sure yanked him fast enough when he got going.

But my post had nothing to do with anyone in the media having balls or exposing the truth.

I am not saying Stewart has balls, or that he is the real deal. I think it's hysterical how fast so many people jumped jumped to the assumption that I either liked him or believed in him because I linked something to him. Unfortunately, unlike Napolitano etc. this guy has a MASSIVE audience. But there I go kissing his ass again because I pointed out something like that.

I mean Freddie, in all retarded has this place become? Like I need a fuckin lecture from people on here about who Stewart is and what he does from people who see a link and start foaming at mouth before they understand the context I put it in.

Anyway, all the best to you as well man. Thanks for not taking any offense.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:36 | 4365374 Ned Zeppelin
Ned Zeppelin's picture

Bullshit. Although I agree the media in general is completely complicit with TPTB anyone can see Stewart is at least trying to provide social commentary through humor. Maybe he is just a "permitted outlet" but at least he talks the talk.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:16 | 4366399 blindman
blindman's picture

the warning is beware the gate keeper,
the one permitted to speak limited truth
to appear to the enamored public as an
honest broker but then, when ordered or persuaded,
to sell the "big" lie. it appears to be a special
function and status in the information industries.
"honest broker" turned gate keeper, everywhere in
academia, entertainment etc .......

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 14:07 | 4366885 MeMongo
MeMongo's picture

Kind of like Jim Cramer! After watching most of those ass clowns I find myself yearning for the days of Wally George:-)

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 01:27 | 4365785 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

Pahleeese, it's called comedy.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:05 | 4365095 The Gooch
The Gooch's picture

Arcade Fire.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:06 | 4365097 HelluvaEngineer
HelluvaEngineer's picture


Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:16 | 4365126 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

lol i knew i'd get junked for linking that. whatever the guy basically controls the msm these days so it's worth seeing how he is shaping people's minds, like the article mentioned.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:21 | 4366408 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

There is an unfortunate trend towards emotion and simplistic thinking among some of the more vocal on zh.  Any positive statement about an "enemy" is taken to be general approval. 






Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:09 | 4365102 roadhazard
roadhazard's picture

"I give it a 94, I like the beat and it's easy to dance to".

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:16 | 4365127 Rukeysers Ghost
Rukeysers Ghost's picture

Hilarious. Nicely played Roadhazard.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 23:56 | 4365583 Rukeysers Ghost
Rukeysers Ghost's picture

How in the hell can I get three down votes for saying that I thought another posters comment was funny?


Fuck you to all the downvote assholes. You are all pusillanimous toads and if you don't know what that means, look it up in your Funk and Wagnalls. 

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:21 | 4366404 roadhazard
roadhazard's picture

Haters gonna hate. There are plenty of clowns around here that are permanently on the rag.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 13:16 | 4366770 the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

maybe they couldn't hear the music

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:15 | 4365120 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

Hmm....what to do tonight....I know! I will go to zerohedge and downvote everyone because I have absolutely NO LIFE whatsoever....go find a cheap Asian whore and have her or him satisfy the extremely small penis you have shriveled between your thighs.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:36 | 4365185 Occams_Chainsaw
Occams_Chainsaw's picture

Well I gots me a big bottle of wine and am on hedge.....or I could watch Mexican Donkey Porn.....choices.....choices.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 01:12 | 4365750 idontcare
idontcare's picture

That Mexican Donkey Porn - is it on cable or is it your private stash.... just curious (and bored) and it sounds like an intriguing way to pass a Friday evening.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:27 | 4365151 roadhazard
roadhazard's picture


I saw Question Mark and the Mysterians do 96 tears on American Bandstand. I saw the future and it rocked.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:27 | 4365160 manich
manich's picture

I missed Dick at the New Year's countdown. I thought they would have Ryan Seacrest roll his mummified body up to the set. Can't believe the network finally let the poor guy go in peace.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:33 | 4365179 Captain Willard
Captain Willard's picture

Ben is a learned man. I think we can summarize it all as follows:

Know when Thermodynamics becomes more important than Game Theory.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 12:50 | 4366690 DOT
DOT's picture

Well put, cappy.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 21:38 | 4365193 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

On a quick scan: Great stuff, thanks! The dyanamics of the social capture of the individual is vitally important to understand and NOT something taught by institutions and individuals who depend on it!  

The point of Hannah Arendt's coined phrase "the banality of evil" is exactly this.  One is, ethically incapacitated to the degree that he is captured--illustrated in the "chronic"mode by the mediocrity, conformity, or banality, of most of the people routinely involved in state sponsored horrors and illustrated in more acute mode by old truism that men act more abominably in mobs than they would alone.  See also the experiments of Stanley Milgram.  I think it was Milgram who used the term "agentic mode" to describe an individual under the spell of a social context or matirx.  I believe our impulse to social connection is as "primitive" in Freudian terms as our drive for sex or food.

Getting your feet under you, existentially, and keeping them on the ground of your own experience, is necessary for individual morality to be possible. 


Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:15 | 4365309 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Egad, MDB and the serial junkers are out in force tonite!

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:22 | 4365323 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

So the UGLY white-old BUFFET Types aka 'PTB' put HILLARY & YELLEN on the stage in the light

This is why the USA is ran by Beauty Queens


The DEM party has forever been putting up attractive young people in front of its platform.

Even in the 1920's when marketing was invented they said "SEX SELLS"


Sat, 01/25/2014 - 08:02 | 4366238 itstippy
itstippy's picture

"The DEM party has forever been putting up attractive young people in front of its platform."

Stupid comment.  The Dems also highlight physically hideous spokesmen like Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi.  The Repubs tried to package and market Dan Quale and Sarah Palin.  Tune in either party's convention and you'll see the keynote speaker introduced amid great fanfare - balloons, confetti, party horns, etc. - no matter how improbable they are physically and mentally.  It's all just mass marketing by the two big political parties.

"So what's the reaction to George Bush's performance in the debate, Earl?"

"He surprised a lot of people.  He had a good beat and was easy to dance to.  This should give him some real momentum going into the playoffs!"

Tide vs. Whisk for the best New & Improved formula.

Fri, 01/24/2014 - 22:32 | 4365356 Ned Zeppelin
Ned Zeppelin's picture

Interesting but completely off-base analogy. Bandstand was cool; Central Bankers are not.

Ex. A: Janet Yellen.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 00:03 | 4365587 Pike Bishop
Pike Bishop's picture

That was really great to have my music experience in Phila from 1957-1964+ completely re-invented. 

When Clark took over for the drunk on WFIL in 1957, "music" was about the size of pro soccer in the US today, relative to the population. If you wanted music, you had to work for it. If you wanted to buy music, you had to go to some other part of city to a store about the size of a rare Book store.

You had 3 choices.. the big radio in your parents' living room, the AM radio in the car, or dance halls. The 45 was only two years old, Top 40 AM was in gear, and a small recordplayer which could play a 45 and you could afford to put in your room was just breaking with the dawn. 

Clark was just a broker. A toll booth to national exposure between he and the Record Companies when WFIL-TV cut the deal with National ABC. The Record Companies decided whose songs were offered up to play Top 40, in the first place. Clark was only picking up on what was selling like hell NYC, NJ, and Phila and looking like some national genius. Yep. He cleaned and pressed the look of it. But that didn't change the kids hitting Chez Vous and Wagner's on Fri and Sat nights.

In 1964 he picked up the whole shebang and moved it to LA.  He wanted to capture the surfin' scene. Unfortunately, he was late because Brian Wilson had already done everything. Pet Sounds and "Good Vibrations" was a year away. Brian heading to Happy Acres Farm was 2 years away. Meanwhile the Beatles and the British Invasion fucked-up everybody's plans at ABC. Why fly all the way to LA for a Saturday afternoon, when you can do Sunday Night in NYC with Ed Sullivan, after a day with the National press core.

"Stereophonic" was becomng a commodity and AM stations Top 40 were dying while FM stations were moving from Alternative to Mainstream without changing the music they were playing. American Bandstand would dig in top 40. By the time Woodstock arrived and the music business would go exponential. American Bandstand was in arrested development.

I get the Common Knowledge game because I've been watching the consensus Belief Systems of the past 30 years fail. Then re-energize and go to a higher level of potential failure.

Dick Clark and music were just an unfortunate choice. I would  have started with Economic Religion based on numbers, without continually re-testing the assumptions on which it is based.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 00:49 | 4365705 Freddie
Freddie's picture

ABC = Capital Cities = Tom Murphy + Dan Burke = friends of Warren Buffet

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 09:01 | 4366301 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

ABC Media -> ZH

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 09:17 | 4366327 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

I see that satoshi101 hasn't quite figured out that ABC is a pretty generic term and that ABC Media of Sofia, Bulgaria, is not equivalent to the American Broadcasting Company.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 12:23 | 4366621 frenzic
frenzic's picture


Sat, 01/25/2014 - 12:33 | 4366648 roadhazard
roadhazard's picture

All I ever wanted was to bang on the drum, smoke a little dope and get a shot of leg every now and then. The straights can analize it all they want because that just leaves more for me.  

peace out

Sun, 01/26/2014 - 13:17 | 4368466 Emergency Ward
Emergency Ward's picture

In the TT rotation,


Lightnin' Hopkins, Jewel Records 803, 45 RPM, 1965, A) Lovin' Arms, B) Ride in Your New Automobile

Muddy Waters, Chess 1914, 45 RPM, 19??, A) My John the Conquer Root, B) Short Dress Woman

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 01:51 | 4365819 TheObsoleteMan
TheObsoleteMan's picture

Country music {like it or not} USED to be performed by middle aged and older entertainers. Look at it today. It is "bubble gum". You know why? Because Dick Clark and a group of Hollywood and New York investors bought up much of the Nashville entertainment media like TNN, Music City News, various publishers, etc, and steered it toward his youth culture model. Today, if you are a Country music performer, and you turn 40, your contract does not get renewed, and it's off to Branson for you {there are a very few exceptions, like George Straight and Reba MacIntire}. Look at Toby Keith, he even went under the knife to try to recapture his youthful appearance. Do you think Cash or Haggard would have done that? I still laugh when I think about the time Johnny cash took out a full page ad in Billboard magazine, with a photo of him giving the finger to the Nashville music establishment. Priceless!

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 01:57 | 4365827 jonjon831983
jonjon831983's picture

I sorta like this Salient Partners / Epsilon Theory poster's stuff.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 06:34 | 4366118 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

jeez, did anyone complaining about junks read the article?

why do you think the greenies & reddies were instituted?

and how do you kinow that they're an accurate record of genuine commenters?

Exhibit A on how to manipulate a gullible public is right here on this site and nobody even realizes it.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:29 | 4366416 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

I'm sure that irony wasn't lost on everyone.  There are many more viewers than posters.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 17:18 | 4367225 Montgomery Burns
Montgomery Burns's picture

Read without logging in and you don't even see the up and down votes.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 06:47 | 4366134 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

the shiny climbs inverse to CB confidence, because the central bank model of monetary theory is an


anyone who values it in relation to any funny money at this pont is still stuck playing their silly little game.

that is not to say that valuing gold in excess of its utilitarian value is also not a silly game, only that it is a game that as long as human civilization.    

the $64,000 question is WHY has it been played for that long?

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 07:35 | 4366202 Disenchanted
Disenchanted's picture

re: "He told them their taste in music ... not directly, but by creating common knowledge — ideas that a crowd believes that the crowd believes."

Just another extension of the work of Edward Bernays...and his relative Freud.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 08:47 | 4366282 messystateofaffairs
messystateofaffairs's picture

" Game theory is all about playing the player, not the cards. "
Since the mass perception controllers are insider club members and I am not I need to be explained to how I play their game and win. The logical metrics might say it should go up but the insiders can control the mass perception to make it go up or down. I am left being forced to guess which way they are going to set the dice. Personally I don't play craps at all much less than with rollers who use loaded dice. I am more of a God, Gold, Gardens, and Guns type (featured zh article), that game is under my control, I am the house so to speak, and a well run house rarely loses.

I found the article insightful and illuminating.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 08:59 | 4366299 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

Game theory is a study of strategic decision making. More formally, it is "the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation between intelligent rational ...


No game theory was harmed in writing this article, its the oldest story in the world, good looking people get laid, and ugly people don't, and it's how everything is SOLD and marketed, cuz the ugly majority will spend their last nickel and their left nut trying to make themselves attractive.


Used to be the story, but largely man chases wealth and fame for pussy, really does this need to be said? Did Gram Nash really need to write a mathematical dissertation to state the obvious? NOT

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:39 | 4366433 Bastiat
Bastiat's picture

Gram Nash ?




Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:50 | 4366449 Bearwagon
Bearwagon's picture

Well the dude with the equilibrium was named John Forbes. An then there was Graham Nash, from Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young). Which reminds me of "Almost cut my hair":

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 16:05 | 4367104 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

in a paper titled,

Equilibrium Points on the Marrakesh Express

Sun, 01/26/2014 - 13:24 | 4368483 Emergency Ward
Emergency Ward's picture

cocaine, cocaine, cocaine.  Cocaine.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 13:10 | 4366756 the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

gambling is a form of metaphysics, when you rig the game, you cut people off from reality

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 08:55 | 4366293 shovelhead
shovelhead's picture

This article smells like a steaming pile of sociology.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 08:57 | 4366295 satoshi101
satoshi101's picture

Andy Warhol said it long ago ...

"Sex Sells"

Obama Did it.

Hillary 2016 will do it,...

OWS did it...

All you need is lots of young attractive people adoring 'X' and 'X' will become popular.

Long ago what's Andy Warhol said it best "Acting is what attractive people do when their not fornicating".

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 09:40 | 4366352 JuliaS
JuliaS's picture

A whole article dedicated to Fonestar, and he's nowhere to be found.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 10:35 | 4366424 sunnyside
sunnyside's picture

Sort of off topic, but I feel sorry for truly talented muscians.  No, Justin Beiber and Britney Spears are not musicians.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 11:09 | 4366477 esum
esum's picture

the "music industry" spins on the axis of PAYOLA MAFIA and MONEY LAUNDERING 

heard any music lately

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 11:47 | 4366541 backasswards
backasswards's picture

Thanks ZH.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 12:34 | 4366646 Conax
Conax's picture

I was alive and one of those youngsters watching AB back in the day.  Dick Clark ran acts that had records climbing the charts.  You had to be successful BEFORE you got on.  It was all fake, lip-syncing to the hit record, but a hit record was required to appear far as I can remember.

The article is ok, but this idea that he put on jagoffs and made them popular is not true.

Just sayin.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 13:08 | 4366748 the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

i think the John Waters film "Hairspray" was a good take on the media consensus view of rock and roll, race, and standards of beauty and acceptance. Hairspray was the antidote to Band Stand.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 13:05 | 4366736 the grateful un...
the grateful unemployed's picture

i see Dick Clark as somewhere between Leave it Beaver and Heavy Metal. W Bush (and John Kerry I would guess) studied game theory from the best at Harvard. the basics of that give an advantage to pursuing the risk in any single event (like the war in Iraq) which has multiple positive outcomes (secure energy supplies, spread democracy, stabilize the region, stimulate domestic economic activity at home) the risk in that event is outweighed by the benefits. if in the end none of the benefits are derived it was only one more (6 trillion dollar) mistake. now the world bankers and bernanke is playing the same hand, (add draghi and you have the coalition of the willing), there are various benefits to accomodative policy, and there is no real threat that their policy will fail - there was no real possibility that the war in iraq would fail, but only that it wouldn't work as well as planned. Dick Clark couldn't fail because it wasn't his music, and W Bush didn't dream up the Iraq war, the war animus was alive in all of us, and he channeled that emotion. The only doubt was how successful these projects would be, that's the kind of system we have. the only solution is to not allow yourself to be manipulated, but they have a solution for that as well, as people drop out of the economy, they simply pay attention to the 1% who are left. they count their wealth and their stock market, and claim success. there is no way any of the musical, foreign or monetary policies speak to the majority of americans any longer, and so their time is short lived, they have lost common ground.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 15:06 | 4366992 Dingleberry
Dingleberry's picture

Bernays would be so proud of Dick!

Amazingly, people think that the news they watch is shaped by them, instead of for them.

Consequently, our nation has gone full-tard.


Sat, 01/25/2014 - 17:18 | 4367226 JohnFrodo
JohnFrodo's picture

Every General is Napoleon, they all try and shape the battlefield, sooner or later they all meet their waterloo. And you, you are the cannon fodder.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 17:28 | 4367247 WhyWait
WhyWait's picture

We were once a singing people.  We sang about everything, and everybody sang.  Whatever community we were part of we all knew the old songs.  

ick Clark, TV and Tin Pan Alley stole our music, a big part of who we were, and left us with a music of cooked-up songs 90% of which were of young love and the first stages of courtship.  

This was at the same time they were stealiong our history, our story about ourseves, and replacing it with self-serving treacle.

And hijacking our once-lively and multi-sourced news and replacing it with one official storyline as agreed on by NBC, CBS and ABC.

And the time they were purging the universities, nowhere more so than the economic faculties, where anyone who used the labor theory of value (most non-Marxist, many conservative) was canned.





Sat, 01/25/2014 - 18:57 | 4367395 ChacoFunFact
ChacoFunFact's picture

"We have to stop consuming culture.  We have to create culture.  Don't watch TV, don't read magazines, don't even listen to NPR.  Create your own roadshow.  The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you're worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you're giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y.  This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking.  That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears.  And then you're a player, you don't want to even play in that game.  You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that's being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world."

Terene Mckenna

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 19:06 | 4367416 LFMayor
LFMayor's picture

Pussy is the most potent force in the social world, so dammit Tylers, let's get some nicely trimmed muff shots going here.

Sat, 01/25/2014 - 23:03 | 4367732 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

It's my impression that bullshit or money + booze + viagra are the the "holey Trinity" of social events.

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