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This morning over coffee my wife said to me, “I don’t think Kate Upton is very pretty at all. Are they even looking at her face?” And I thought (though I can’t wholeheartedly agree with her), it’s just like the music business: modern technology lets you take anyone and make them look and sound like a superstar. Hire a world-class photographer and take him to the most beautiful place on earth, let him shoot anyone – really anyone – and then give the shots to a photoshop expert and you’ll have your SI swimsuit cover.

Or have a world-class producer pick his favorite song from one of the top songwriters in the world, put him in a top-of-the-line studio where he can also hire the best musicians on the planet and you can literally take anyone – yes, anyone – put them on the mike and using ProTools or AutoTune you will have a hit record. Guaranteed. (If you don’t believe me listen to this.)

But where is the “real” in that? I miss “real” (with apologies to Bob Lefsetz for stealing his modus operandi.) There are an amazing number of talented and beautiful people out there that don’t get even a smidgeon of the notoriety that Kate Upton and Brittany Spears get. I heard a guy last night playing here in Bend down at the shopping plaza. He sounded awesome. Who cares?

Nobody – because we’ve been trained to eat up the “fake” and ignore the “real.” “Fake” is way more profitable for corporate America because it’s so easy. “Real” takes too much time and effort. 10,000 hours? Who’s got that kind of time?

In the Sixties, “real” was everywhere. Jimi Hendrix, Cream, The Stones, Bob Dylan, The Beatles. For Christ’s sake, The BEATLES! They were the ones who really capitalized (forgive the pun) on “real.” And now everyone wants the shortcut to being/finding/capitalizing on the next Beatles. The irony is that they’ll never find it so long as they do it the “fake” way.

And this is all happening in our financial world, too. We long for the days of real growth in the economy, jobs and wages but rather than do what it takes to make it “real” (like allowing institutions to fail and debt cycles to cycle) we insist on “faking” it. We (The Fed) do absolutely everything in our power, lower interest rates to zero, print trillions of new dollars, etc. in an effort to see “real” growth in the economy only to find that we only get “fake” signs of growth like soaring stock and bond markets while the things that really matter in the big picture, jobs and wages, continue to stagnate.

It’s ALL an “Eminence Front” but nobody’s talking about it because we’re much closer to the top of the cycle than we are to the bottom. Maybe at the completion of this cycle Brittany Spears will cover The Who’s classic. Wouldn’t that be an awesome contrary indicator?