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Archive for August 11, 2011

Bi-Polar Stock Market-Watching Syndrome (BPSMW)


I need to see a psychiatrist. BPSMW syndrome has gotten the best of me. Doctor, I keep glancing at MarketWatch and Bloomberg every three minutes. I can’t take it anymore.

When the Dow drops 600 points, I get all depressed and panicky and want to come home and kick the dog. When it rises 423 as it just did today, I get all giddy and happy and skippy (that’s a condition in which you start skipping suddenly, rapidly and uncontrollably).

I’ve tried to wean myself off the market cold-turkey. It’s not working. I pass a TV and shoot a quick, secretive glance to see if there’s a red arrow or a green arrow in the corner of the screen. I actually now hate anything that’s the color red.

I’ve started enjoying long meetings at work because I have, as of yet, not loaded any market-alert apps on my phone and suddenly three hours go by and I remember what life used to be like before my life savings and supposed retirement evaporated before my eyes every other hour.

When the market goes in the crapper, I slap myself for not having taken my money out and invested in gold bullion. When it rockets upward, I congratulate myself for being so calm and level-headed when the truth of the matter is I am actually suffering from Bi-Polar Investment Paralysis, a secondary condition characterized mostly by extreme fear and uncertainty of doing anything remotely financial.

A friend of mine recently recommended Chart Therapy. This is where you pull out a ten year chart of Wall Street’s gyrations and realize these current antics are but tiny little blips even though they look like gigantic Swiss mountains when you’re monitoring them by the minute.

This I know. I am exhausted and weary and I trust those poor men and women on the floor of the exchange must be as well. I think by now we are all longing for the magic words, “The Dow Jones Industrial Average today, was unchanged on low volume and no particularly newsworthy events.”

Michele Bachman and the Newsweek Photo

I don’t know if it was sexist. I do think it was as an adolescent move by a nearly defunct magazine and a tactic used to lampoon men and women alike and across all sides of the political spectrum.

Look at the prototypical negative political campaign ad. Dark, grainy footage of the dreaded, villainous opponent, the most unflattering photos that can be found, usually punctuated by foreboding music and a deep, serious announce voice. That’s an ad either party would use.

How many unflattering photos of George W. Bush did liberals use to lampoon him?

Here’s one:

But he also looked like this:

Perhaps those on the political right expressing so much outrage over the Bachmann photo forget the pictures of Hillary Clinton they were putting up on their web sites just a couple of years ago. Here’s one:

Actually, Hillary can also look like this:

Here, by the way, is what Michele Bachmann usually looks like:

Love her, hate her or indifferent, as more than a few have said over the past few days, you have to work pretty hard to find a bad picture of the Minnesota Congresswoman.

Here’s Newsweek/Daily Beast head honcho, Tina Brown’s words in defense of the magazine’s use of the picture:

Not cross-eyed. Listen she has – the intensity in her eyes is in all the photographs of her, you know. This is the thing that’s connecting with people. We have people in the crowd saying, you know, something about her tells me I should follow her And there is something about Michele Bachmann with the eyes looking out. She has a very very, this very kind of intense demeanor.

Really? The Newsweek cover photo depicts an “intense” demeanor? I kind of think the photo says “psychopath,” and I think its use was designed to get people talking about Newsweek magazine. I don’t actually think it will help increase its tiny circulation by much because, sadly, it’s an outmoded medium. But, I digress.

I unashamedly give credit to John Stewart for this, but, really, anybody can photograph badly, even Tina Brown:

Who, in all fairness, also looks like this: