Carny Barkers


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Jim Cramer calls on 10 companies, including Amazon and Alphabet, to issue stock splits (CNBC)

“I think the idea of getting newer, younger people involved into the stock market who aren’t just brainwashed to put money into index funds is terrific.” 

“If you want the market to keep climbing, these ten companies — and many more — need to start taking their cue from Tim Cook and Elon Musk,” Cramer said. “Remember, the size of the price tag matters with this crowd.”


Sometimes you have to work hard to divine the Zeitgeist of the modern age.

And other times the Zeitgeist just walks right up and smacks you with a 2 x 4.

Or a sack of oranges.

I understand from my exhaustive research (i.e., Wikipedia) that in actual carny lingo, there was no such word as “barker”, that instead the hustlers and grifters who talked you into paying two bits for a glimpse of Zeena the Mind Reader and Molly the Electric Woman were called “talkers”.

Fair enough. To-may-to, to-mah-to. I’m fine with referring to Jim Cramer as a carny talker if you like that better, but there’s a punch to “barker” that really fits the bill here.

Yes, that’s heart throb Tyrone Power in “Nightmare Alley” (1947). Doesn’t end well for him.

Of course this has always been CNBC’s business model and Cramer’s shtick, to be nine parts entertainment for one part financial news/advice, but now we’ve traded the rolled-up shirt sleeves (gotta work hard and do your research!) for a carny barker’s striped suit and cane (hey now, step right up to see the egress!).

I mean … “brainwashed to put money into index funds”? AYFKM?

They’re. Not. Even. Pretending. Anymore.

Or as Rusty put it yesterday, the grift is now the thing. In the age of capital markets as carny show, we are told by barkers like Cramer that this is what a smart investor or management team does … they should look to the grift du jour for their edge.

For years, we’ve been writing that capital markets have been transformed into a political utility, but now it looks like that was just a waypoint in the metamorphic lifecycle. Kinda like the cocoon stage for a moth.

Or, I suppose, the chest-bursting stage for an Alien xenomorph.

Certainly that’s been the experience for value investors.

No, it wasn’t enough for these high-functioning sociopaths to turn capital markets into a political utility.

Today, capital markets are being transformed into a carny show.

BITFD.


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Comments

  1. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Eventually one of us will work in a reference to the woefully underrated horror classic Carnival of Souls.

  2. In addition to the barkers, Carnys had Dunk Tank Clowns, shouting insults at everybody. That would be Davey Day Trader.

  3. Avatar for Trey Trey says:

    There’s also an opportunity to reference Bubba Ho-Tep.

  4. If Chins Could Kill…

  5. Avatar for al1 al1 says:

    300 for 1

  6. Stephen Colbert played a character on Colbert Report, he knew it, we knew it, but sometimes a sitting congressperson didn’t know it and hilarity ensued.

    Does Cramer know that he’s a TV character? Does he play the part or do people that know he’s a TV character in real life shove him out there to play the part they need him to play on TV? Is he a willing participant in this charade?

    I know he had/has a legit hedge fund and it is patently obvious his “job” is to dump the sellside bag on mooks under the guise of “infotainment” such that what he’s doing isn’t actually illegal. I’d like to assume that Cramer himself is the deep sociopath, but man… I’m starting to believe Cramer is the Level 1 mook to the actual deep sociopath and the audience is just downline scum to the upline.

  7. Perfect! Imagine if all of the FAAMG stocks traded for under $5, then the casino would be even more fun! One of the conclusions of Investor’s Daily, a group that has studied and created many statistics that help to navigate the markets with technical indicators over decades, is that 3 for 1 and greater splits have been signals of tops. Both in individual stocks, and when occurring across many popular names that are at large prices after big runs (today’s leadership), for the overall market.

  8. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Good find. And good grief.

  9. Rusty, just a quick note to say thanks. ET has been incredibly meaningful and important to me, even life changing I might say. I emailed Ben to tell him that 2 years ago but wanted to tell you directly. I’m a cheapskate and put it off forever but finally just officially joined the pack today. Thanks for everything you do.

  10. The Zeitgeist manifests in many places. If you don’t know that these same grifter attitudes have bled into your local government, you aren’t paying attention. Petty grift has always been there, but now it’s pervasive. If you look, you may find that Bobo now runs your city hall.

  11. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Thanks for subscribing, of course, but thanks far more for saying that. It really means a lot to us. I definitely look forward to hearing more from you!

  12. It’s no accident the new Schwab slices look like casino chips.

  13. Avatar for cazo97 cazo97 says:

    indeed…

  14. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Oh my god

  15. Avatar for rwgood rwgood says:

    Actors who stay in their roles for a very long time could be excused for forgetting who they really are…maybe they can’t help it? or maybe they prefer being in character and living the fantasy to real life.

  16. “Fair enough. To-may-to, to-mah-to. I’m fine with referring to Jim Cramer as a carny talker if you like that better, but there’s a punch to “barker” that really fits the bill here.”

    You’re right about the ‘punch’, but you’re not being fair enough about the linguistics of the matter. There is a mechanism here that you are unaware of, namely, that the terminology within a domain is often different from the terminology used on the outside. For example, what the public calls an ‘insurance policy’ is called a ‘write up’ by the professionals that issue them, and the groundskeepers / maintenance men of a golf course are called ‘greensmen’ by their employers.

  17. Don’t stop the carnival.
    (Herman Wouk)

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