I guess with the temporary calm in the election storm I've allowed my attention to drift away from the evening news and other highly reputable media outlets. I was channel surfing AM radio on my way to work last week when I stumbled across an interesting piece of news. There was a day when I would have used unbelievable to describe it, but those days are millions of dollars behind me.
It seems there's a couple in France, whether they're the Pitts or the Jolies depends on your desired tabloid, who are about to be blessed with the birth of twins (News Flash: They had the twins today and are reportedly doing very well). An ongoing bidding war for the first opportunity to take and publish photos of these twins is a flash away from fifteen million dollars. Yes, million as in 000,000. And if you didn't already believe in the value of mass production, this same couple's previous birth of just a single child attracted only 4 million dollars for photo ops.
The show I listened to took exception to the nature of this commerce. I guess I do too, but the show didn't touch on my exception. This show had problems with the exploitation of the babies from both sides, the family and the media. I, like this show, don't know enough about the family to pass judgment on their motives for such a sale. I do know they donated the entire 4 million dollars they received from the previous photos of their child to charity. They also have a reputation for actively fighting for many good causes the world over, so I'll pass on the opportunity to judge their side of this exchange.
As for the media. All media has one thing in common with what they report. Whether it be newspapers, radio or television programming, magazines or dot coms, they all take a stab at communicating stories they believe we want to hear, read, or see. Their ability to accurately predict what we want allows them to sell advertisements and subscriptions. The best at it continue to take center stage on our televisions and magazine racks. Translated, the magazine that is willing to pay 15 million dollars for photos of these babies has multi million dollar confidence levels that we'll fight our neighbors for a chance to go goo goo ga ga over these little darlings as we wait in the check out line at Food Lion. These are babies the readers will never know on any personal level and will likely never see again.
When I hear these stories, I am far more amazed than critical of people's wants. Just because I don't understand why so many people will invest their hard earned money for a mere glimpse at someone else's child - well that doesn't make it a problem, it just helps define who we are. I read the other day that Tiger Woods is closing in on career earnings of 1 Billion dollars in endorsement deals alone from companies like Nike and Buick. These are companies who have made million dollar bets that we are a million times more likely to swing a golf club or drive a car that Tiger uses or likes. And they are a million kinds of right. In fact, you constantly hear grumblings about athletes spoiled by the gross overpayments for their services. But in reality, they are being paid what management believes we'll finance with ticket sales, television viewing and jersey purchases. 99% of the time they believe right.
I wish every once in awhile these talk shows would dig deep enough to reach the roots of the real financial backing behind these transaction, me and you. They would probably challenge just how secure we feel in our investments.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have an urgent letter to get off to People Magazine. I need to let them know we have a beautiful baby boy scheduled to arrive in November - let the bidding begin.