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Why are we so Frivilous?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Rocket River, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    We *are* Frivilous.
    The Most important people in our society
    Meaning. . the people we REWARD the most do the most frivilous things

    singers, Actors, Athletes, Musicians, politicians

    The most important people we reward moderately to little
    Farmers,Teachers Doctors, Plumbers, Nurses, Scientist, etc

    Rewards = Money, Prestige, Affections, Resepct, Etc

    Look at what is considered rewards in this society
    and then tell me. . . who has the most of it? Who receives Most of it?

    Doctor is saving our lives. . . if he is rude we give him all kinds of grief
    Let a pop star blow you off . .. folx giggle it off and say it is 'expected'
    A Teacher tells your dumb ass kid to sit down and learn . . .you ready to sue
    A Singer tells you kids to ***** the Police . . we bop our head to it.

    We are a Frivilous People and we reward Frivolity
    People who are NECESSARY in our lives. . .we outright disrespect and then some. etc.

    Question: Is this an American Thing? Human Nature that once your needs are met you take those meeting them. .. for granted?


    Rocket River
     
  2. pirc1

    pirc1 Member

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    How many athletes get rewarded? How many actors? Only less than 2000 athletes make it in the pro games. How many big actors? Less than 1000 right? Singers?

    The struggling actors and athletes makes next to nothing. QB K. W was working at a super market before NFL. How many actors work as waiters and waitress?

    The top Engineers, Doctors, Profs all make big money. May be not as big as the top athletes etc, but they make big money. The reason is people want to see the best in action. You cannot very well have real dcotors put on a show can you (only actors in ER can do that :))
     
  3. conquistador#11

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    Friends told me I should listen to kanye, and I listened... and I became a fan. After viewing him in "story tellers", I'm no longer a fan. He's way into himself. If I could, I would take all the awards he won back.

    And doctors can have a real show.Hopkins! =) It's great.
     
  4. Northside Storm

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    You can't compare NBA players to teachers. A Kobe Bryant in basketball is comparable to a Nobel laureate and I get the impression that Nobel laureates are being VERY well compensated.

    If you want a fair comparison, think of the thousands of garage bands that never made it and the approximate amount of $.50 these bands have earned combined. Seriously. Every big name artist out there, you're paying for excellence. That's not frivolous.
     
  5. Supermac34

    Supermac34 President, Von Wafer Fan Club

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    Also, those top level actors and athletes are being paid based on what their industry bring in revenue. The NFL makes a TON of money, based on it being very popular. The reason its very popular is that the athletes perform at a high level. People are willing to pay (for TV, tickets, merchandise) their portion, and when it comes down to what an individual pays for that entertainment, it really isn't that much. Its really NOT frivilous at the individual level to pay a couple hundred bucks a year to watch/enjoy NFL games. When all that individual spending gets rolled up, however, there is huge amounts of money. The players get their cut of that money.

    Also, I can comment about farmers and teachers. I have parents that are both. Farmers don't make a lot of money, but farming is very seasonal and many farmers work hard for 6-7 months a year and have a LOT of time off. Its a lifestyle choice: they have chosen to work very hard for 6-8 months a year, and enjoy a destressed lifestyle the rest of the year (hunting/fishing/golf). They don't make a ton of money, but they make enough to live comfortably and enjoy a good life. Teachers also work very, very hard: but every teacher I personally know (which is about a dozen of them) have at least 3 months off a year with a LOT of holidays. They make a stable salary for 9 months of work. I know that many teachers go above and beyond and work extra hours for extra curricular activities for the kids and are compensated very little for that extra work, however, it again is a life choice to work at a position that you know will pay lower than other jobs, but you are OK with that because of all the time off as well.
     
    #5 Supermac34, Apr 14, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2009
  6. DonkeyMagic

    DonkeyMagic Member
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    hardly excellence...have you seen the chart toppers recently? :D
    Or how about Keanu reeves?
     
  7. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Member

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    Well people are likely to name 5 Oscar winners than 5 Nobel Laureates. Or for that matter, 2 American Poet Laureates.

    That's pretty damn frivolous.

    Our society doesn't take a premium on education anymore. And while people recognize the value of hard work, popular culture promotes do-nothings like Paris Hiltons in order to achieve prestige and recognition. I also think it has something to do with the death of the Hero, but I better stop myself before I get long winded.
     
  8. Northside Storm

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    Well, Oscar winners aren't exactly junk culture. I'd argue that the performances of a prime Russell Crowe or Jack Nicholson are more moving then Hemingway's simplistic rendering of the Old Man and the Sea or Albert Camus' mind-numbing rendition of the Stranger. Mock all you want, but for me and most people in my generation, Shawshank Redemption is infinitely more powerful then the freedom Jean-Paul Sartre seeks in his writings. Is it frivolous to acknowledge that times change and with them, the mediums do too?
     
  9. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Member

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    Top 5 best dressed/worst dressed?

    I doubt Camus or Sartre would command multi-million dollar book advances, and considering how much of an added premium money has in our society, that does mean something.
     
  10. Northside Storm

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    Dude, if Camus were still writing today, there would be a community of existentialists ready to revere him. I very much doubt if he wouldn't receive a cool million or more for his books. And Sartre...see above. Forget about it. Not to mention the Nobel Prize itself comes with a hefty $1.4 million US.
     
  11. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Member

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    Jack and Russ in their heyday commanded nearly 20x that nobel prize amount (give or take some inflation).
     
  12. Northside Storm

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    Jack and Russ were the top of the game, the pinnacle.

    Compare that to how much J.K is earning these days (she isn't a laureate but she probably will be) and it really doesn't look that bad. Camus and Sartre were more fringe then mainstream and yet they were very well compensated for their works. Of course, you'll have the unrecognized geniuses like Kafka, but someday we may all just sit back and wonder why we didn't see those indie films.
     
  13. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Member

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    Somehow I doubt in a hundred or even 50 years we'll be remarking how Russel Crowe captured the anachronistic feel of an embittered Roman centurion.

    I don't know about the timelessness of Rowling, but I don't think her recognition comes at the expense of recognizing teachers, scientists, or civil servants.
     
  14. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Member

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    The disrespected professions you mentioned (except doctors) have low barriers to entry. Many, many people can work in them in some capacity even come into the profession from some other one, which provides a glut of supply or potential supply and weakens the bargaining power of the workers in those groups.

    This is also the case for entertainment careers. However, there is a strong superstar effect here. People have described it a bit here already. But, consider the leverage you get with a single work. It can be copied and distributed around the world, marketed to 6 billion people, and it doesn't cost any more than it did to produce the first copy. So, very small differences in marketability are magnified to enormous differences in profit. You can't do that with education or carrots or even healthcare. You can do it quite easily with entertainment.

    And, the respect just follows the money. Even criminals are widely idolized when they are successful and rich.

    On the Superstar Effect: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/3989569.stm

    [rquoter]The 'superstar' effect
    by Mukul Devichand
    BBC Panorama

    From accountants who earn almost £3 million a year to footballers on up to £100,000 a week - in almost every field, Britain now has its high-earning superstars.

    But many economists say we shouldn't try and change this -- this explosion in income at the top is just part and parcel of being in the hi-tech global economy.

    "Big Mutha Truckers" is a best-selling car racing game in stores around America - but it was designed in Gateshead.

    "The video games market is now bigger than Hollywood," says Paul Jobling of Eutechnyx, the company which designed the game. "We are a global business," he said. "We sell these products all over the world."

    Software like this is part of the new "Weightless Economy" which can include whole swathes of moneymaking activities - financial services, TV shows, sports and entertainment.

    These are industries in which Britain is succeeding globally - and it has the high income superstars to prove it.

    Superstar incomes


    So why is this new "Weightless" hi-tech economy more likely to lead to a few people making more money than everyone else?

    Economists have an answer: it's called the "Superstar" effect.

    "Weightless" products like CDs, computer games, TV shows and financial services can be sent all around the world for little or no extra cost - so in theory there is no limit to the amount of profit that can be made.

    The result is superstar incomes for those who design and market a few globally successful products - but little for those whose products don't quite make it.

    So should we be happy about Britain's "Superstar" economy? Panorama asked the experts.

    Danny Quah is a professor at the London School of Economics and expert on the "weightless economy."

    He approves of the "Superstar" effect because everyone benefits from the advances in society that the top one per cent of earners create.

    Everyone benefits


    “ We will all be a happier society when we celebrate the triumphs of those who are successful around us ”
    Professor Danny Quah
    He told Panorama: "We get better pharmaceutical products, we get better music, we get better video entertainment, we get better science, we get better computer software. It benefits all of us."

    "Take the Olympics. Every four years Olympic records fall. Every four years we have a performer like Kelly Holmes that all of us can take collective national pride in."

    "Athletic performances improve from competing for the same prize."

    "When all of us are already benefiting from advances in technology, advances in the state of science and knowledge that are being pushed forward by this top one per cent, it is to the benefit of all of us," he said.

    "They advance the state of technology in society, they push economic growth, and we all draw benefit from that."

    And Professor Quah disagrees that it's unfair to let a few winners become high-earning superstars.

    Losing out


    "It's not clear that it would be better for the rest of us...for people to stop trying to become superstars," he said.
    "One thing that we need to take into consideration is that if we don't allow people to participate in this Winner Takes All type of an economy, then we've shut doors in their face."

    "We've not allowed them to reach possibly their full potential. We will all be a happier society when we celebrate the triumphs of those who are successful around us. Our attitude to today's winners should be one of celebration."

    Critics like American economist Professor Robert Frank of Princeton University argue that the "Superstar Effect" is in fact a "Winner Take All" effect.


    The superstar effect
    Around a third of the money released by President Bush's tax cuts went to households in America's top one per cent income group
    Source: Tax Policy Center (Brookings Institution/Urban Institute)
    It means that a few people will be financial winners and the rest of us may lose out.

    He says that the influential super rich elite has created an unequal society, with a serious effect on the average person.

    He argues the system we used to have in sport - where a few winners walk away with almost all the rewards - has now spread across the economy.

    After all there is only one footballer as popular as David Beckham, or one winner at Wimbledon - and he said the same is now true for computer programmers, accountants, lawyers, journalists, academics and almost any other occupation.

    The down side is that people's hard work does not guarantee them a high income - unless they manage to become one of the few winners in their field.

    Nasty


    “ Life has just become gratuitously nasty for many people in the middle ”
    Professor Robert Frank
    He said that it seems every child today wants to be a superstar footballer, pop star or rich investment banker.

    "There are other tasks to be done, rather than being a superstar," Professor Frank told Panorama.

    He said the danger is that we will have "fewer people available as engineers, as classroom teachers, as people to design products that people use."

    And people don't just want to earn like Beckham - they want to spend it like Beckham. "There's some kind of a luxury fever at work," he said.


    "So if somebody buys a $50,000 dollar watch - the people in the middle don't say 'oh my goodness I need to get a $40,000 dollar watch' but there are people just below the top who, if they want to sort of be a player in the same game now, they've got to spend a little more."

    "And then there are people just below them who spend more and so step by step it cascades all the way down the income ladder."

    "We see people in the middle who feel like they can't participate in their social groups if they can't spend $3 or $4 on a cup of coffee, and that's a lot more than people used to spend."

    "Life has just become gratuitously nasty for many people in the middle; there are problems that people have to deal with now that didn't exist before."

    Poverty is the problem

    So globalisation and the "superstar" effect may be creating a more unequal society in Britain - but Professor Quah says that's not the problem.

    "Focusing on inequality conceals the fact that it is poverty that is the problem," he said.

    "When I am poor, and I can't get food, or heat and hot water, or basic health care for my family, life is truly miserable and wretched. But that is because I am poor and I can't afford these necessities, not because someone somewhere else has just joined the queue for a £500 haircut."

    Professor Quah said that while inequality may be increasing in Britain, nearly everyone here is getting richer. He said this wasn't true for the poor in the developing world - and it's this poverty abroad that should concern us more.

    "If we really want to alleviate suffering, we in the developed world need to be doing everything we can to help those very poor in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa grow their economies," he said. "You are much more likely to be living in wretched poverty if you live in a poor country, than if you live in an unequal society."

    And Professor Quah argues that the best way to achieve growth in developing countries is to allow the "superstar effect" to spread there too - even if it brings a new top one per cent high-earning elite.

    "Pretty much the only way we have seen countries become prosperous is through their peoples being rewarded for being creative and innovative, and delivering goods and services to the rest of society around them," he said.

    "That's your one per cent right there." [/rquoter]
     
  15. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Member

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    I like how that article was written in 2004....
     
  16. Northside Storm

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    Well, what expense is there to recognizing great movie stars? It's not like we're undermining the work of the average teacher by paying stars what they deserve; a fair share of the revenue they generate.

    Looking at Hemingway's works, I'm still surprised he's in discussion today, but apparently students like me still have to thrash out thesis after thesis paper about how "simple" and "masculine" his style was.
     
  17. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Member

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    Recognizing is one thing, but it's moving towards worship. There's content in the form of tabloid shows and magazine driven by the minutia of their daily lives, and some of it's fans who buy it up or try to live as vicariously and glamorously beyond their means (when they had the credit). In the age of branding and mindshare, Paris Hilton's brand is a disturbing thought.

    In that sense, they are undermining the work of teachers or any professional that has to work hard to be where they're at. That component is lost in the "Superstar effect" or even if it is individually recognized, the ostensible rewards (income) won't be compelling enough for the amount of effort put in.

    You could probably write about how Hemingway was a hack and still get a great grade.
     
  18. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Member

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    Why do you like that?
     
  19. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Member

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    Because right now, the furor in Washington is about financial Superstars demanding to be paid or compensated like one, and wannabe superstars unable participate because their equity and credit has dried up.

    The middle are more supportive of "middle brow" fiscal policies rather than one of extreme risk and reward.

    It's not the end of the Superstar effect, but it's not at it's commanding heights either.
     
  20. rhester

    rhester Member

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    Another way to look at the OP's view is do Americans value amusement over advancement?

    As a simplified example you could study what our society places the most emphasis on-

    Amusement- movies, tv, music, sports, entertainment

    Advancement- medical research, education, inventions, productivity

    One simple experiment would be to go to large cities and put on a convention full of amusements and schedule a separate convention full of work for advancement and measure the responses to each.

    Another way to track this would be to categorize how people spend their time and money.
     

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