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Winners and Losers

That is what we have boiled our society down to. One person wins and another one must lose. While not fundamentally incorrect, it isn’t exactly right either.

While we are tossing kids trophies just for showing up we are purporting a culture where you are either winning or losing.

I’m not saying everyone deserves a trophy but life isn’t so simple.

Last week we had one winner and one loser and you’d think by some of the bloviating and crying that either all had been won or all had been lost.

But it’s just not that simple.

By way of example, let’s look at the new Bon Jovi album (no, I wouldn’t subject anyone to actually having to listen to it…do so at your own peril). The NYTimes proclaims Bon Jovi Earns a no. 1 Album The Old Fashioned Way: Sales“.

Now on the surface, hazah for Mr. Jovi for selling 315,000 copies of his latest opus…but the minute you drill down into the article you are left scratching your head. For example, half of the sales are derived from whatever arcane math Billboard uses to determine 1,500 streams equals one album purchase (and you think Nielsen ratings are silly) and an accompanying promotion where every ticket for his tour came with a physical copy of the album.

By Billboard (and apparently The NYTimes) accounts, Mr. Bon Jovi is a winner. However, I say the math is sketchy and furthermore, 20 years ago, 315,000 for a new Bon Jovi release would have been considered mediocre, at best. And it may have been enough to crack the Billboard Top Ten albums, but it most certainly would not have been number 1.

I hardly think achieving some bizarre mathematically obtained number one album makes him a winner and I don’t think he is a loser either. It falls somewhere in the middle….like a lot of things in life. 

If we look at the recent election, someone won and someone lost. And I would bet no one is more surprised by the outcome than Mr. Trump himself. But what did he really win? I was never convinced he wanted to win and my guess is that he wants to be president about as much as I want to be proctologist (besides the schooling, ewww).

Despite his proclamations of draining the sewer of Washington, I suspect he will align and partner himself with seasoned politico’s who know how to work the system. They’re the real winners because ultimately, they’ll be shaping things and that is what should terrify us (think back to Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney).

I am not convinced how present The Donald will actually be as a president. Sure, he’ll slap his name on things but as opposed to steaks and buildings this time it will be bills and laws, so nothing terribly new (aside from the devastating potential impact). And as a cursory look shows, Trump loves to delegate and license his name. 

Bon Jovi may have “won”, Trump may have “won” but it can’t be so simple. In one case you have some pretty odd math to place a W in the win column and in the other you’ve got a guy who won fair and square. On one hand a new Bon Jovi album and on the other an ill-tempered political neophyte with access to the nuclear codes.

Who really wins? Who loses? 

You see, it’s just not so simple.