By Chuck Thompson | Excerpted from the March 2017 Socionomist
What’s special about the success of The LEGO Batman Movie, the quest for more horsepower and an energy drink company’s deal with NASCAR? In a wide-ranging Mood Riffs article in the March 2017 issue of The Socionomist, Chuck Thompson looks at these expressions and many others as indicators of positive social mood. Following are some excerpts from Thompson’s article.
Batman Whips Shades, Burns Wick
The LEGO Batman Movie finished first in its opening weekend on February 10-12, beating out competitors Fifty Shades Darker and John Wick: Chapter Two. The film’s opening weekend was the fourth highest for any Batman movie. According to USA Today, The LEGO Batman Movie features “wacky baddies” and “one very unsubtle message: Don’t be a jerk, be a pal.” The newspaper says the film “borrows from pop culture in over-the-top fashion.” The Observer ranks LEGO Batman “better than The Dark Knight Rises,” and The Atlantic calls it “the funniest superhero movie in years.” The Washington Post says that LEGO Batman “is taking a toy sledgehammer to the entire dull-gray character construction that now encases the on-screen Caped Crusader.”
As Robert Prechter noted in his 1985 report, “Popular Culture and the Stock Market,” family-friendly fare tends to prosper when social mood is trending positively. Such was the case at the positive social mood extreme in 1966, when the Batman television series debuted. The documentary Pioneers of Television called Batman “the biggest TV phenomenon of the mid-1960s.” And like LEGO Batman, it was a lighthearted look at the comic book character. Batman was nominated for an Emmy for best comedy in 1966.
Horsepower Goes Up Another Notch
In October, a supersonic car known as the Bloodhound will try to set a world land speed record of 763 miles per hour. A jet engine and a hybrid rocket power the car, and a Jaguar V8 engine acts as the fuel pump. The Bloodhound’s attempt will take place in Hakskeen Pan, a 12-mile section of South Africa’s Kalahari Desert.
Meanwhile, production cars are already breaking speed records. The new Ford GT has a top speed of 216 miles per hour, making it the company’s fastest production car ever. Tesla has created the world’s fastest accelerating production vehicle. The Model S P100D goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in only 2.28 seconds. And at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Divergent Technologies exhibited the Blade, a 3D printed vehicle that also reaches 60 miles per hour in two to three seconds.
When social mood is trending positively, people want more horsepower and speed, and automakers respond. That trend is evident in today’s super-fast cars, some of which have even more powerful engines than those of the muscle cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In the remainder of this article, Thompson looks at numerous other expressions of social mood, including cats at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show, an apology 77 years in the making, the closing of Family Christian Stores, Israel-Egypt relations, efforts to unify the island of Cyprus and the actions of Philippines strongman Rodrigo Duterte.
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