Every week without fail, a new issue of The Economist shows up in my mailbox, and every week without fail, I fail to read it. Well that’s not entirely accurate or fair to myself. I certainly fail to finish it. Often, in a desperate attempt to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth, I frantically scan the headlines of all the articles and pretend I’m learning something. Maybe through this technique, I am ‘staying informed.’ I’m typically inspired to do my ‘speed read’ when the latest issue has arrived at my door telling me I’m falling behind. Utilizing this reading strategy, I am able to stay perfectly one-week behind current events. I find this to be a tactical advantage, as I am perpetually oblivious to the latest in global affairs. Once it is possibly irrelevant old news, I encounter it in my dated edition of The Economist and think, “That happened? Hmmmm. I wonder how this past event is affecting today’s news? I guess I will find out in a week, when today’s news is old news.”
Inevitably, I fail to even maintain this schedule, and I end up with stacks of The Economist scattered throughout my house. Sitting on the couch? Grab yourself an Economist off the coffee table and learn how global warming is upending the intercontinental coffee supply chain (or just read the headline). Do you find yourself in the best room in the house? Baby, you know there’s a kitchen Economist. Is it the onions you’re chopping or the country’s economic turmoil making you cry? Sitting at the dining room table? No meal is complete without a full serving of updates regarding the international financial markets. Taking a shit? While the actual Economy might be in the metaphorical shitter (debatable), a physical copy of the Economist is in the shitter with you. Going camping? You better take five or six issues. What else are you going to do sitting in the woods with no internet access? Answer: Still not read the Economist.
Eventually, an inescapable outcome: issues of The Economist multiply through your house like a bacterial infection getting its freak on the moist, yeasty crevice of some type 2 diabetic’s ulcerated pannus. Some of these infectious invaders find themselves productive homes, like as shims under the feet of your fridge, helping you maintain the illusion that floor of your house is reasonably level and well-constructed, and not in fact collapsing under the weight of excessive piles of The Economist surpassing the weight capacity of your rickety foundation. You have no other choice at this point other than to shed some of your most dated copies of the magazine, despite not even scanning the headlines. But how useful is it to know the headlines concerning Britain’s political drama from 2-years ago anyways? Was it ever?
The point is, I’m doing my best, people. I am trying to be a well-informed global citizen, but it is no easy task. Making the job more challenging is the fact that the economy is this amorphous concept. It is large and abstract, encompassing a diverse basket of inputs, components, and constituents. Sure, Wikipedia could likely give us some semblance of an explanation of what the economy is, but really, what the fuck is it? I’m not convinced any of us really know. Bitch, don’t pretend you know. You definitely don’t know. Yeah you, bitch (using the utmost respectful interpretation of the word bitch, of course).
So despite my lackluster attempts to stay up-to-date on economics, the truth is, I have no idea what economics is, nor do I have much of a clue about about what is happening within the realm of this incomprehensible, nebulous space. To summarize what I just said, there’s this thing I don’t understand, and within it, there are things happening that I also don’t understand. It’s a giant shitpot of confusion.
My friends don’t entirely get it either, though we don’t let this hamper our zeal for pontificating upon the hottest gossip regarding all things finance and business. Oh how we relish discussing the latest dispatches in global affairs, as if we’re all significantly invested and impacted by such information. It’s like we’re a gaggle of cosmopolitan venture capitalists who make high dollar decisions based on this intel (spoiler: we ain’t).
Nothing highlights my unmistakable economic befuddlement more than my weekly interrogation from my wife, when she asks me what I’ve been reading about in The Economist. It appears as though she’s asking an innocuous question in the aim of stimulating conversation. It might be a question as simple as, “What’s happening in the world?” Not the fuck simple at all. A lot. A lot is happening in the world. A lot of things I don’t understand or have the capacity for explaining coherently. Why me be so dumb? And why do I read this damn magazine?
In an effort to capture my mixed feelings on the subject of Economics, mainly my interest despite my ineptitude, I wrote another song titled, ‘The Economy Part 1: What the Fuck is the Economy, Anyhow?’ It’s also an ode to those clumsy conversations with my lady friend, where I babble my way through the latest in global affairs. On a more holistic level, the song touches on the deeper issue at hand, the one we all contend with, and that’s trying to/pretending to understand this thang called the economy that none of us fools do. Oh, and I try and make economics a lil bit sexy- I don’t know a field of study more in need of a boost in sex appeal, so I felt ethically obliged to provide a little fis’cal stimulation to the discipline. Economics, you are very welcome. Consider it my gift for all the confusion and incoherent conversation you have given me.
Once again, the track has been overwhelmingly well-received, and reviews have been shockingly positive. Rick Steves has provided another charitable take on the single- “When he sings about having no idea what the economy is, I feel it deep in my loins that he truly has no idea what the f%$k he’s talking about. Powerful stuff. Sexual, too.” Wow, thanks Rick. I humbly give you, ‘The Economy Part 1: What the Fuck is the Economy, Anyhow?’