Wikinvest Wire

SNL Grapples with Gold

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Writing good satire is difficult enough, but when a lack of understanding of the subject is combined with a compulsion to create something funny as a hard deadline looms, the result is not usually good.

Such was the case for the Saturday Night Live skit broadcast last weekend where the plethora of TV and print advertisements for gold coins must have provoked some sort of inner response for the SNL cast and writers to get involved somehow - to comment in their own way on the nascent popularity of owning gold.

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The television blog TV Squad characterized the segment as follows:
Monex: Ugh. This was a bad commercial that dragged on for way too long (although that was probably the point). After a while, the word "gold" started sounding weird to me. Gold. Gold. Gold, gold, gold. Goldie Hawn.
It's hard to disagree with this assessment - more than anything else the whole thing was just curious and strange.

The bit began with an elegantly dressed woman (Kristen Wiig) standing by the fireplace in a nicely furnished, oak-paneled study.
Is there anything more satisfying than owning gold and holding it in your hand?

What? You mean you've never experienced it?

[Holds up brochure and video tape]

Then call Monex now for this informative brochure and VHS tape that will show how you can invest in Gooooold.

Did you know that in the past 12 years the value of gold has gone up a little bit?

I love touching gold. I would never do this with mere paper money.

[Rubs gold coins over her arms and cheek]

Gooooold, I love it. There's no better time to invest in gold than right around the time that it is now. Look around my living room, every surface is covered with one hundred percent real gold.

[Lifts up a glass of orange juice]

I'm not drinking gold. I wish. This is orange juice, but the brand is Florida gold.

I guarantee you'll spend hours caressing your gold, massaging your gold, washing your face in gooooold.

[Washes face in a large bowl full of gold coins]

What time is it? Oh I know. Time for you to call Monex and invest in gooooold. Call today and tomorrow you'll be enjoying your gooooold. Touching your gold. Golding your gold, gold.

Well, convinced? I think I made a really good case for gold.

Speaking of gold case, I'm late for work.

[Picks up a gold-plated briefcase]

Oh, I better put this on.

[Picks up a golden scarf]

It's getting gold outside.

Monex. Gold
The shooting of this segment must have been torturous for those involved, but once you commit to filling a few minutes for the Saturday show, it's probably near impossible to pull the plug - especially after such an elaborate set had been built.

The gold coins used were obviously the chocolate wrapped variety or something similar - digging your hands into a bowl full of one ounce gold coins as Kristen did would be quite a painful experience (most people have no idea that the metal is one of the densest elements on earth - much more dense than lead).

In any event, aside from its obvious failure to generate laughter or even a little chuckle, a skit such as this demonstrates the growing awareness of gold as an investment, but an obvious failure to understand the most basic elements of the story.

As Jon Stewart and the Daily Show demonstrated almost a year ago when they devoted an entire half hour show to the retirement of Alan Greenspan, this sort of thing just isn't funny.

At least not yet.

More than anything else it seems to demonstrate a growing awareness of how money has recently re-entered the American psyche in a very different way. Surrounded by rising prices, people are beginning to question the basic elements of money and its role in society. With vague recollections from textbooks of the the historical role of gold as money combined with TV and print ads to buy the stuff, confusion is the result.

When the flight from the U.S. dollar really gets underway, there may be some good material coming from the cast of SNL on this subject.

But now, it's still way too early.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, it was funny. It was over the top and ridiculous. What did you expect? This is the show that brought us the coneheads and the church lady.

Anonymous said...

They were obviously poking fun at the "mystical allure" of gold by making the lady sound nuts. Funny? Not really.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that in the past 12 years the value of gold has gone up a little bit?

Sorry, but that's funny. You might be right about gold's value in the coming years, and certainly in the very recent past. But over the long haul, the statement seems pretty accurate.

Tim said...

Yeah, that part was funny - the delivery was great.

It was the face washing (drying off with a cactus?) that just seemed dumb to me.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering when someone was going to mention the SNL commercial. I agree that it was only mildy amusing.

I looked for it on youtube to see if it was better the second time around, but all I found was this which is also mildly amusing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ye3IFfKV2w

"The points on this graph bear no relationship to real data of any sort, but notice how they travel upwards and to the right"

This was sent to me ealier today, and while it is completely off topic it is at least funny: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_bdRK02LKg

Anonymous said...

along the same lines .......has anyone seen the ad with the monkeys looking at the sales chart upside down (profits rising) and jumping around the room like ' a bunch of wild monkeys'? forget what the ad was for but the 'normal' guy walks in and turns the chart over. i have been in so many sales meeting like that............

cant wait for the snl skit mocking people losing their homes and lives to foreclosure and their jobs to outsourcing. the skit could show how whole families are homeless and living in the street. they could have the parents working at walmart.

Aaron Krowne said...

The irony is that paper money is the real idolatry. It takes what is effectively religion to uphold fiat money; hard money is simply practical.

It doesn't matter if hard money is gold, silver, or anything else. As long as the commodity has intrinsic value (and preferably portability and storability), it will naturally emerge as "money".

Paper money involves the worship of some human beings by most, and a host of dubious economic gods. It involves powerful priesthoods, just like the primitivist rainmakers and shamans. We happen to be entering a period where faith is being lost, as the bounty supposedly brought by these rainmakers has proven false.

Fiat money is modern superstition.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a companion spoof called "Debt"... "Imagine yourself rolling in other people's debt... all their trials and tribulations all accruing to your accounts... No I'm not taking about Gaming Stocks (they're passe) ... I'm talking about the massive pools of pension fund money that is being funneled into private equity deals to ruin good company's balance sheets so that they can be sold back to retail investors just before the crash. Debt! Its's cutting edge... with the emphasis on cutting." A cartoon, I admit - but isn't this SNL skit a sort of (toothless) cartoon? In other words, they haven't been shaken out of their complacency and just don't get it. The point with gold is that the shame does not belong to investors in gold but to the policies that have revived the barbarous relic: reckless inflation of the money supply via the securities and derivatives markets. Did you really think your house's "value" was miraculously going up by %10 a year? You should be so lucky! This generation in the west will be looked on as the dumbest on the planet when our fossilized bone are put on display. In this environment I'll take gold over debt anyday.

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