Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Afternoon Report, October 23, 2008

This information, called The Afternoon Report, is provided by a daily email blast from the publicity firm of Boneau Bryan-Brown, which maintains this blog.

A Hemline Index, Updated
New York Times - by Tamar Lewin

"Terry F. Pettijohn II, a professor of psychology at Coastal Carolina University, is one of those who sees popular tastes shift with economic conditions. Take beauty, for example. "What we find attractive is not a stable currency," said Mr. Pettijohn, who has studied how economic and social factors shape preferences in popular music, movie stars and Playboy models. "It's affected by the environment, by what's happening in society, and what makes us feel more comfortable in threatening times." Looking at Billboard No. 1 songs from 1955 to 2003 for a study to be published in the journal Psychology of Music, he found that in uncertain times, people tend to prefer songs that are longer, slower, with more meaningful themes. "It's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water,' and 'That's What Friends Are For,' " he said. "In better times, it's more likely to be faster, upbeat songs like 'At the Hop' or 'My Sharona.' " The correlation isn't perfect. The song Mr. Pettijohn's raters called most meaningless, "Macarena," was a hit in a relatively bad year."
This is not unlike the old saw about people going to the theatre to escape bad times. Very perceptive.

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