Monday, May 23, 2022

Monetizing Mania

The grief, trauma, and physical isolation of the last two years have driven Americans to a breaking point.

— President Joe Biden

Marketing guru Mark Schaefer thinks businesses can cash in on Americans' mania.

Mania may be "the biggest marketing megatrend of the decade," he says. "It’s bigger than the metaverse because it impacts almost everybody."

Businesses can monetize mania in any number of ways, Schaefer suggests. They can:
  • Offer customers spas, massages, and "stress-relieving activities like yoga, meditation, and running;"

  • Provide them sleep aids, alcohol, comfort food, and games;

  • Offer psychological counseling (both online and in-person);
  • Support customers' hobbies (painting, knitting, cooking, woodworking, etc.); and

  • Deliver products and services that capitalize on nostalgia.
"If you think this through," Schaefer says, "the changes being forged by stress and mental health could impact how, when, and where customers shop, how they consume content, and who they trust."

I think Schaefer is onto something. 

The pandemic has brought about a sea change. 

Every day is now a Manic Monday.

In response, I believe, businesses can take steps now to attract and retain crazed customers:
  • First, redesign your frustrating telephone tree. Allow customers the option of dialing the CEO, and encourage them to leave him verbally abusive messages. Offer weekly prizes for the most creative ones.

  • Retrain all customer service reps (CSRs) to impersonate Mr. Rogers. Retain only those whose impersonations are dead on.  

  • Provide cannabis-laced cookies and brownies in your reception areas and waiting rooms. Serve customers only CBD-infused coffee and tea.

  • Imprint punching bags with the faces of your senior executives and place the bags throughout your offices.

  • Send post-purchase surveys that allow only complaints.

  • Instead of tee shirts, give away branded straight jackets.
Mania represents the marketing megatrend of the decade.

How will you cash in on it?

POSTSCRIPT: I don't make light of America's mental health crisis, only marketers' urge to monetize it. Should you be suffering, find a quiet room, grab a cool beverage, and sit down and read Jon Kabat-Zinn's Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. 

Saturday, May 21, 2022


I know how it feels to be the Kremlin's target.

After establishing that I'm a homosexual (although I'm straight), the Kremlin engineered my lifetime erasure on LinkedIn. All because I spoke in favor of limited gun ownership.

Don't cross these boys, as Nina Jankowicz also learned this week.

A graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, a Fulbright scholar, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a noted author, Jankowicz was removed Wednesday by Homeland Security from its new Disinformation Governance Board.

The Kremlin doesn't care for her, because she served while a Fulbright scholar in the foreign ministry of Ukraine in Kiev in 2017 and wrote a book in 2020 titled How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News and the Future of Conflict.

Worse yet, Jankowicz advised Volodymyr Zelenskyy on matters of Russian disinformation.

So when President Biden announced in April that she would head the new board, the Kremlin went into overdrive, deploying all its favorite mouthpieces (including Tucker Carlson and Senator Ron Johnson) to belittle Jankowicz.

These Kremlin mouthpieces threatened to rape her, kill her, and murder her family members. They called her mentally ill, a whore, a propogandist for the "great replacement," and—worst of all—a "nasty Jew" (Jankowicz isn't nasty or Jewish, just as I'm not homosexual).

They pulled out all the stops and the hatchet job worked in under three weeks.

One thing you can say about the Kremlin and its American mouthpieces: they may be effective, but they're not terribly original.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Womb with a View

Claiming to be a victim is not a sign of virtue.
It's a strategy for narcissists.

— Adam Grant

The day after the news broke that the Supreme Court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade, Stephen Colbert quipped, "Congratulations, ladies, your decisions are being made by four dudes and a woman who thinks The Handmaid’s Tale is a rom-com."

That pretty much sums things up.

In this week's edition of Crisis Magazine, walking womb and resident wacko Samantha Stephenson argues that the two of three Americans who want the Court to uphold Roe, by disagreeing with the Court's decision, are "persecuting" pro-life Catholics. 


Pro-life Catholics are not the victims of persecution; they're narcissists claiming to be so. If they want dominion over women, they should move to Afghanistan.

Not content with martyrdom, Stephenson further argues that Roe is "deeply damaging to women," because the right to an abortion is damaging.

"Abortion is not an equalizer," she says, "but an assault."

Again, poppycock.

Has any female patient ever said she felt assaulted by an abortionist?

Stephenson grounds her arguments on an essentialist claim: women are by definition child-bearers. 

Given this, any law that suggests otherwise must be "oppressive" and "coercive."

Roe not only sanctions abortion, Stephenson says, but makes it "increasingly difficult to opt out of its use." 

The law's real purpose, she claims, is to compel women to have abortions and "forgo childbearing."

"Instead of fighting for the freedom of women to be women—whose fertility and desire for motherhood are integral parts of their identity—abortion advocates insist that our liberty can only be found by muting our fertility and forcing our healthy bodies to mimic those of men," Stephenson says.

And there you have it: essentialism at its finest.

Women are by definition mothers. 

Roe compels them to be otherwise.

Therefore, Roe is wrong.

Essentialism has a long history of abuse by narcissists like Samantha Stephenson.

In fact, two and a half millennia of abuse.

Essentialism has been used to defend religious wars, slave-trafficking, colonialism, pogroms, and segregation. 

Now it's defending the overturn of Roe.    

Essentialism holds that everything has an essence—a set of attributes that make it what it is.

In other words, for any kind of thing, there exists a set of attributes all of which the thing must have to be correctly called by its name.

A man, for example, by definition walks on two legs, not four; uses tools and language; and is born, grows old, and dies. 

Those attributes define a man—and, by extension, every man. Every man shares in common what we call "human nature."

Ethical essentialism insists there are "essential rules" (absolutes) by which we live

The moral absolutism Samantha Stephenson favors claims that a law like Roe is wrong absolutely, because it contradicts a natural law and victimizes a whole class of citizens.

I don't buy that.

They're citizens. 

Roe protects their rights; it doesn't restrict them.

People like Stephenson who cry victimhood simply feel entitled.

In her case, she feels entitled to have children—three so far.

That's fine.

But she wants a trophy for it.

Narcissism engenders her feeling of entitlement. 

And narcissism makes Stephenson an aggressor and predator.

Not quite a wolf in sheep's clothing—more like a psycho in sackcloth.

What an insult to women's dignity.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022


Sometimes we regret our failure to write
about things that really interest us.

— E.B. White

Leaning on mutual experiences, writers often neglect to describe what's most vivid to them, because those things are usually trivial, ephemeral, and even embarrassing:

The blueberry and lemon pie that was baked in an Amish woman's kitchen. It remined me why humans have 10,000 separate taste buds.

The emerald-tinged background a Zoom caller used. It made her appear mighty and powerful, like a female Wizard of Oz.

The $300 check the state mailed to my house. It was a "gift" to help pay for gasoline. Delaware has more idle cash than Elon Musk.

A passage in The Searchers describing a harrowing skirmish with Comanches. "Sleep is good and books are better," R.R. Martin says. I love naps, but he's right: books are better. 

Speaking of books, the autographed first edition of Rabbit Run that I snagged off the web for $22. It arrived in the mailbox with the check from Delaware.

The Red Cross worker who spoke my first name every time she uttered a sentence. She either really liked me, or kept repeating my name to prevent her from labeling my blood-bag with some other donor's name. (There were four of us on her tables at once.)

The news from Odessa that Ukrainian soldiers digging a trench unearthed a trove of Ancient Roman amphorae, all in pristine condition.

The art teacher who told me that you're damned lucky to be married to such a beautiful woman.

The red fox in your backyard, out searching for a snack at twilight.

HAT TIP: This post was inspired by E.B. White's 1930 essay "Unwritten."

Tuesday, May 17, 2022


It's only words and words are all I have to take your heart away.

— Barry Gibb

A stickler for words, I draw the line when you coin words to spare a group of people hurt feelings.

I'm not advocating the use of slurs and vulgarisms.

I refer to euphemisms.

Euphemisms are so Victorian.

So prim were they, Victorians couldn't abide mention of a breast or thigh at the dinner table. So they invented the terms white meat and dark meat

They couldn't mention the bathroom. They had to say restroom

They couldn't mention pants, only unmentionables

I'll take dysphemisms—straight talk—over euphemisms any day. 

Dog house over pet lodge

Stock market crash over equity retreat

Kill over pacify.

I've always been fond of comedian Jonathan Winters' famous dysphemism.

Winters, who suffered from bipolar disorder, was never committed to the psychiatric ward

He was sent to the rubber room.

Euphemisms are useful, of course, when we need to discuss taboo subjects or wish to shield others from unnecessary sorrow. 

They function in these instances as "verbal escape hatches."

But I lose patience with euphemisms when they're used dishonestly, whether by governments, corporations, political parties, or do-gooders.

When you say you plan revenue enhancements, do you think I don't know you mean higher taxes?

When you say new family size, do you think I don't know you shrank the amount of product in your package?

When you say climate change, do you think I don't know Earth's atmosphere is getting hotter?

When you say we need to aid the unhoused, do your think I don't know you mean the homeless?

Give me a break.

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