“The man (Thomas Pynchon) simply chooses not to be a public figure, an attitude that resonates on a frequency so out of phase with that of the prevailing culture that if Pynchon and Paris Hilton were ever to meet — the circumstances, I admit, are beyond imagining — the resulting matter/antimatter explosion would vaporize everything from here to Tau Ceti IV.” Arthur Salm
My intent was to discuss that quote at length, but I was sidetracked this week by having to explain competitive monopolies. Those of you who can think back to your Econ 101 class will remember that these are business that essentially sell the same goods and then are put in the position of having to sell their differences to attract cutovers.
Think of it this way.
You know what grocery stores sell?
Competitive monopolies are eager to sell their differences which why you can pose the question, “What can you tell me about this chicken?” at Whole Foods and not Safeway. The ultimate example is gasoline. Gas is the one commodity we all purchase that almost requires an act of faith. With any luck- we will never see, touch, nor taste gasoline, we will only experience the bright lit gas station signs, familiar logos, and come on’s for junk food.. Some will buy into the idea that Station A’s additives are better than Station B’s, the rest of us will go about picking something closer to the house or just choosing a station out of habit. An old econ professor once said that picking one station over another simply because you don’t like making left turns is in fact a buying decision.
Where this all came up was in discussion how the conventional media is little different from selling chickens and gasoline. (coq au mobil) The whole point of being acknowledged as the Best Guest Guesser during the football season or being the fifth caller in order to win a t-shirt is a matter of selling differences. I will even go so far as to say that talk radio has been successful as it has done a great job of hitting people’s hot buttons. All that outrage gives listeners an emotional release they cannot find anywhere else on the dial. Over time you can only give away so may bumper stickers and t-shirt, but there’s no end of how much catharsis you can provide at an extremely low cost.
But then what would I know?
Come back next week and maybe I’ll have a complete thought to share, k?