Things Nobody Likes

The free market is a remarkable aspect of human society, supplying our wants and needs without any centralized decision-making process needed. But for whatever reason, it occasionally supplies us in abundance with things nobody asked for.

No, not the eggs, we use those

Just The Facts

  1. Nobody listens to Michael Bolton
  2. Radio stations play his music anyway
  3. His albums have sold millions of copies. To whom?

What the Sam Scratch is Going on Here?

One doesn't have to think very hard to come up with examples. Carrot Top, stupid reality shows, a sequel to Baby Geniuses, the list goes on and on. But the consumers of these products don't. Nobody watched the first Baby Geniuses movie-why was there a sequel? Everybody hates fruit cake-who is buying them all? Is there a mysterious government agency that buys up all unwanted products and stores them in a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style warehouse? A billionaire buying millions of copies of bad albums just to see the looks on peoples' faces when Bruce Willis' Christmas jazz album tops the charts? Do some companies provide goods and services for which there is zero demand simply for laughs? Are record executives peeing their pants with giggles at the thought of the next Michael Bolton album they're releasing?

Go ask everybody you know if they own a Michael Bolton album. You will get nothing but "no," "nope," and "are you kidding?" And yet these very albums continue to be produced and sold! There is no empirical evidence that anybody thinks Larry the Cable guy is funny, yet he's a millionaire. Black licorice is in plentiful supply in every grocery store in this country, yet its only known use is as an epicac.

Left-wing film critic Pauline Kael famously said in the 1970s, "I don't understand how Nixon won the election, I don't know a single person who voted for him." It is still used today as an example of how the elite can be out of touch with the rest of society. But this is a different case. It's not just that I don't know anybody who watches poofy-haired phony preachers on late-night cable, it's that nobody knows such a person. Yet this doesn't stop said phony preachers from raking in millions. Forget crop circles, this kind of inexplicable zaniness is the best evidence we have that creatures from outer space are landing on our planet and messing with our heads.