Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to another blog entry at this site:
Your inability to tame your self-love of hearing/seeing your own words, and instead create a PROPER brief descriptive ‘headline’ or “title” for an article speaks volumes about your mental incapacity, Rob. It’s just one tiny thing, but like a tell-tale tassel in the wind for a sailor, it is enormously informative for those paying attention.
It’s not self-love, Anonymous.
Yes, the headlines are long in the items that items that I post to the blog under the category of “Goon Conversations.”
The reason why they are long is that they explore micro-issues. In ordinary circumstances, there might be an item that would have a headline of “Old-School Retirement Studies Fail to Include Valuation Adjustments.” That’s shocking. All you need are those few words to convey a shocking truth that every investor on the planet needs to know about. So, in that ordinary sort of case, all that you need is a headline of short length to convey the information that needs to be conveyed.
Those are not the circumstances that apply in the investing realm today. I have posted articles at a good number of sites containing short headlines conveying that message. Those articles should have been picked up by every investing site on the internet. They should have been featured on the front page of the next day’s New York Times.
It didn’t happen.
If it had happened in the way that it should happen if things were proceeding as normal, there would be no need for these blog entries that report on our Goon Conversations and that contain such long headlines. The circumstances that apply here are not in the slightest way normal. We are dealing with a very strange phenomenon, a massive case of cognitive dissonance that has affected pretty much all of us (including Rob Bennett up until the evening of August 27, 2002).
What has happened here is that as a society we got off track in our quest to come to understand how stock investing works in the real world. The Buy-and-Holders did amazing work building the foundation of a model to help us all out. The Buy-and-Hold Pioneers are heroes to the middle-class. They got one thing wrong. They didn’t understand the effect of valuations at the time they were building their model. Shiller added that missing piece in 1981. But by that time the Buy-and-Holders had been describing their mistaken view of how things work for 16 years and had a hard time accepting that they had gotten such a critical piece of the puzzle wrong. So they went into cover-up mode. The bull market caused people to be happy with Buy-and-Hold and so there was little motivation to develop a new model until the economic crisis that began in 2008 scared people. And then the Federal Reserve stepped in and pumped up stock prices again so that even today there is limited interest in finding out what truly works.
It’s not just that people like to believe that the Pretend Gains created by high stock prices are real. It’s that the people who work in this field have been telling the false story of how things work that they feel that they will be sued or perhaps even imprisoned if they come clean now. And the investors whose lives have been destroyed become angry when they hear how they have been tricked for so long. That makes it even harder for the “experts” to come clean. So we are living in a time when deception and intimidation have become commonplace in the investing advice world.
It is my job to tell that story.
Part of the job is to expose the corruption that had permitted this massive cover-up to remain in place for so long. Part of the job is to describe the pressures that caused so many generally good and smart people either to participate in the cover-up or at the minimum tolerate it. I post these Goon Conversation blog entries to help people come to a full understanding of what happened. We need to understand the Goon mind, which is really just a cartoon version of the Get Rich Quick mindset that we all carry within us. It is by coming to an understanding of what happened that we will come to peace with what has happened. These Goon Conversation blog entries are going to help me get your prison sentence reduced a bit, Anonymous. This is important work.
But there are now so many of these Goon Conversation blog entries in the Post Archives that the new ones deal with extreme micro-issues. All of the basic, general stuff was addressed years ago. I don’t want to hold back on posting these items because as a society we very much need to come to a full understanding of what drives you Goons and no one else is doing this kind of work. So I have to post the items. But it is not possible to sum up in a few words the points made in the items that are going up today, which are examining minute details of the story rather than addressing general matters which could more easily be summed up with a small number of words.
So the headlines are a lot longer than those you see at other sites.
As the idea of looking at investor emotion becomes more commonplace, people’s understanding of what is going on will become sharper and fuller and it will become possible to get by with shorter headlines. We are not there today. These are the pioneer days. This is the future of investing analysis. But we are very much in the early days of coming to an understanding of what it means to use peer-reviewed research (ALL of the peer-reviewed research, including that published in the past 34 years) to guide one’s investing strategies.
That’s my sincere take re this matter, in any event.
I naturally wish you the best of luck in all your future life endeavors, my long-time Goon pal.