Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Spot a Copy Cat!

The Federal Reserve at Prayer

Prophets of doom and merchants of apocalypse abound in this Age of Anxiety we live in. The complex economies which are both progenitors and products of Modernity, go off kilter despite wise men gathering in council around walnut tables, as the recently-released transcripts of discussions from the Federal Reserve meetings in 2006 showed -- America's pre-eminent economists and bankers blathered and boasted during meetings, amused by signs of the housing market collapsing but not apprehending it or its dire consequences. And so for those who seek to profit from doom, one of the ways through which Modernity unraveling is often foretold, is that of economic collapse.

If you watched MSNBC in the weeks before Christmas, you may have seen a commercial inviting you to sample some of the latest in doomsaying. The commercial stated only that if you thought the economy was bad, the worst was yet to come (of course) and then offered the viewer the chance to learn more at a web site,

Porter Stansberry is an American conservative investment specialist (though he sounds like something from a microbrewery: "I'll have two Porter Stansberrys and a Hound of the Baskervilles IPA") with a reputation for prophet-of-doom-style predictions, sez Wikipedia, and his Newamerica3 web site confirms this. The voice-over entones on and on and on and... on, about ruinous new things that cause him concern and will scare YOU and YOUR LOVED ONES when he finally tells you, but I stopped listening before he got round to telling, as he clearly likes to entone a lot. 

But what really undermines the Stansberry spiel is that he speaks over an ever-evolving animated graphic of a human hand sketching at high-speed to illustrate what's being said in the voice-over. 

Haven't we seen this somewhere before? Why, yes, and seen it done with far greater panache! Pre-eminent Marxist historian Professor David Harvey gave a speech about the current Crisis of Capitalism to the Royal Society of Arts in London in 2011. The RSA excerpts its best speakers online, with an ever-evolving animated graphic of a human hand sketching at high-speed to illustrate what's being said by the speaker. 

I guess Stansberry and Co. thought it worth ripping off -- perhaps because they thought their poorly-imitated animation might somehow lend clarity to the murky-scary blather that Stansberry comes out with. 

Watch Harvey animated below, and go to to endure an eighth-rate imitation of it, if you can be bothered.