WHIP INFLATION NOW??

It ain’t no surprise that the cost of anything and everything is more expensive that it was a year ago. According to government statistics, the cost of goods and services rose around 7.9% and it’s been the biggest increase in domestic prices in some forty years.

I lot of reasons were given on why everything is more than it was once. The reasons state range from shortages for goods and services were backlogged due to pandemic related restrictions from the overboard of demand of said goods and services thanks to folks attempting to spend more just to get back toward a sense of “normalcy” to the war going on in the Ukraine, and because big companies can raise prices just because they could get away with it. It all depends on what you hear, what you read, and what you pass on through social media, as well as other reasons both real or otherwise and lingering around in the meta universe.

Of course, we here at AccessiblyLiveOffLine.com don’t write much about the economy or anything connected to finance. (It’s not our speciality!) But it’s one of those things that you can’t turn from. Call this the hippo in the room that you can ignore. (Yeah, the previous line reads as something one would see as a panel cartoon found in The New Yorker. But we digress!)

If anyone is old enough to recall life in these United States (akin to a regular article from the pages of Reader’s Digest) in the 1970’s, inflation was indeed the hot topic of its day. Yours truly was living as a kid (or “tweener” in today’s demographic market speak) when I had my taste of inflation. I first heard about Richard Nixon’s price freeze proposal that had something to do with holding off the cost of goods sold and exchanged, but didn’t understand much of it. (It was later explained to me through a segment of In The News, a three minute feature of news and topics of the day that CBS aired between programs aired on its Saturday morning TV schedule as narrated by Christopher Glenn.) I did recall when I went to get my weekly stock of candy from the neighborhood Rexall drug store, it would cost me an extra nickel or dime to get a Butterfinger candy bar or a slab of Turkish Taffy.

When I renewed my subscription to TV Guide magazine (Yep! As I kid, I was a paying subscriber to the pocket size magazine where I would be able to read all the latest news about what was on TV), I had to pay more since stand alone issues were going for twenty cents rather than fifteen, and the increased cost was passed to its subscribers! And although I was not driving, the cost of fuel was rising! Yeah, there were lines at the gas stations for a while, as well as the price of regular leaded gas was creeping to as much as forty cents and 9/10th a gallon! And when President Jerry Ford did his “Whip Inflation Now” campaign, there were those red colored pin back buttons with WIN written in write lettering, folks were either wearing those with WIN, or as protest, donning those buttons upside down where it would read NIM that stood for “No Immediate Miracles”. And as part of a typical and topical opening monologue by Bob Hope, his comment (as written by one of his many writers) about whip inflation now was “Do you know that the price of whips went up forty present?” It was kinda funny when I first heard it anyway!!

The inflation rate reached its peak at the end of 1981, when a recession was plaguing the nation. At the time, I was enrolled in college, so I really didn’t notice how prices were higher than they once were. Maybe I didn’t notice because I was away from home for the first time. Besides, I was taking my effort on something else while I was in school. What that “something” was is for another article as that stands.

But over time and tide, the cost of living was leveling itself off. Before long, those old glory days of price freezes kind of melted away (pun intended!), and my WIN button from not too long ago wound up being stashed away inside of a long forgotten junk drawer where the old forgotten junk made its home, perhaps never to see the light of day again.

So that brings us to the day of now. Although the pandemic as it was once known has leveled itself but didn’t officially finish, the cost of everything that’s going up, up, and (guess where?) has yet to cool down. Again, I am no economic expert (and I won’t play one), so I can’t say when this skyrocketing cost of doing business is going to settle down. I can state that it will, but how is anyone’s guess—including mine.

But social media the way social media behaves won’t let this notion down. With other factors to deal with, it’s just another cog in the wheel that will be here for the moment until the next big thing draws attention to itself.

PS…When the price of candy started to rise, I got into a heavy bubble gum habit since bubble gum kept its price level. I don’t know why this was the case, but at least I was able to save enough paper wrappers of Bazooka gum featuring Bazooka Joe And His Gang that consisted of tiny comic strips with BJ and company telling jokes that were so old, the joke book they came from was written with primitive pictures! (Insert rim shot sound effect here!) I did save enough of these wrappers to get a cheap plastic telescope by mailing 500 of these wrappers to a PO box located in Reading, PA. I did get the telescope about a month later, only to break the thing within the week! Better luck next year I suppose….

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DEAR MR. BRODY is a documentary written and directed by Keith Maitland that takes a look on how a 21 year old heir to a 25 million dollar fortune made a declaration and promise that his fortune would be made available to anyone just for the asking.

The backstory. In early 1970, Michael Brody Jr., the 21 year old grandson of a multi million fortune of an oleo margarine business, made a public declaration that he would give away his fortune to anyone by sending him a letter to his home in Scarsdale, New York, or to his business address in New York City to make a request–no questions asked!

Before long, the media was on the story with newspaper articles and radio/TV news coverage. He was young, good looking, and played the guitar. His popularity even got him a spot on The Ed Sullivan Show playing his music and making his pitch with his 21 year old wife Renee in tow. He would be the hippy that promised to make good for the cause of the wealth of society, even down to offering his money in aid to President Nixon to end the war in Vietnam.

The letters arrived to his home and office by the thousands. Many of these letters were typed. Others were written by hand in ink, pencil, crayon, or however a person could compose a letter asking for the money. The requests even became creative with photos and drawings enclosed, and even a few that enclosed audio tapes of songs, poetry, spoken messages, and whatever could be recorded with a tape recorder. The letters asked for the money for themselves, a charity that can offer the additional goods, and for starting up a possible business. Whatever reasons people could think of, they did it all. When the letters eventually came to Mr. Brody’s addresses, they were all stored away, never to be opened or read.

This documentary takes a rather forgotten chapter on domestic society from fifty plus years ago and shows just how many people were financially challenged back then, long before the term “financially challenged” would fall into the American English lexicon. Being the fact that folks were stressed out when it came to having the money to live on, or to be just downright poor. The war on poverty that Lyndon Johnson declared just a few years before was far off from being won over.

Through newsreel footage to interviews with those involved with Michael Brody’s offer for peace through money as well as a few of those that actually wrote their request letters some fifty years before, this documentary examines how money could not and did not buy any happiness to those that wanted it. It also shows that even though the domestic economy was in high gear at the time, it wasn’t made available to everyone because there was no way to have those that were middle class or less to create a public voice expressing their concern. And that isolation wasn’t necessarily for the better!

And what became of Michael Brody’s promise of giving away his fortune? Very little of it was even given away. And whatever was given, the financial institutions that handled his estate didn’t back up his checks. Many of them bounced! Michael himself was also into the drug culture of the time with the use of marajunia, LSD, and other hallucinogens that affected his way of thinking. Before long, he suffered various stages of mental illness. In early 1973, just three years after he made his offer of his fortune to the public, he killed himself through a self-inflicted gunshot. He left his wife and a son at age 24. The letters of requests that were eventually collected were filed away in boxes and containers to be never opened, read, or fulfilled.

Of course, the sense or trust of such a declaration had more impact back then. Anyone who would be considered as a fraud had to really go out of their way to target its victims, and those potential marks were more likely to accept such an offer. In today’s social media landscape, such an offer would be deemed as just another scam of the day, one of the millions (billions?) that live out in the metauniverse.

So if you or your heirs did indeed write a letter to Michael Brody Jr. to take part in his offer for money, this documentary will give you the answers you were looking for. Call this documentary a “better late than never” reply. But then again, all you did was the time to compose your letter of request and the six cents postage to mail off the thing! Better luck next time…!

DEAR MR. BRODY will be available for streaming through Discover + beginning on April 28th.

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