Our daughter told a racist joke to the Hispanic waiter at our local Mexican restaurant. How was your week?
Actually, she was in 2nd grade when it happened.
The restaurant is a block from our house and the salsa is other-worldly, so we go there all the time. We sit in Eddie’s section because the kids love him. He always has a battery of jokes, magic tricks, and riddles for them. They stockpile their own material to riff with him.
One day, while volleying jokes back and forth, Maddie says, “I heard a joke on the bus today.” I immediately white-knuckle my margarita glass – there were fifth-grade boys on that bus.
“A Mexican, an Asian, and an American are on an airplane…”
Eddie bursts out laughing, not at the joke, but at the look of horror on my face. He slides into our booth, folds his hands – grinning ear to ear – and listens.
It turned out the joke was at the Asian’s expense. There’s a big Korean population in our town. The 5th-grade kid who told that joke probably picked it up from his disgruntled dad. I know the guy. If I’ve learned anything as an adult, it’s that asshole kids usually have asshole parents.
Maddie had no idea what the joke meant, only that she heard the older kids laughing at it.
Eddie and I gently explained why the joke was wrong and hurtful. She cried for the rest of dinner, the entire walk home, and for an hour before she fell asleep.
Six years later, she organized the walk-out at her middle school after the Parkland shooting. She recently accused me of being “racist” because I replaced the lyrics from Despacito with “Ranch Doritos.” She’s a country-mile left of me politically.
But she’s also a patriot. She has a side-gig singing National Anthems for charities and sporting events (Here’s her most recent Penguins game. Trust me. It’s spectacular).
Why am I sharing all of this? So, I can brag about my daughter, obviously. But also as an important reminder that kids, probably much younger than we think, are paying much closer attention than we think. Who knows how much of this craziness in our country they’re seeing right now and what it will mean when they’re adults. Your guess is as good as mine.
Here’s what we can see right now:
Consumers and investors, alike, are a little spooked by this whole Trade War thing. Both our Economic Sentiment Index and Investor Sentiment Index had a little hint of down-and-to-the-right in their most recent readings. For sure, most consumers don’t have a strong grasp of trade policy and tariffs, but they know uncertainty when they see it. Whatever. I’m sure everything will bounce back up in two weeks for some yet-unforeseeable reason because that’s just the way things have been going pretty much since February.
People are starting to seek mindless refuge from the political storm. We track all sorts of media consumption by genre and have noticed a recurring theme over the past two quarters. Interest in action (TV and film), fantasy (books and movies), cooking/home/lifestyle programming, and other “escapist” content areas are on a noticeable rise. I know a ton of people from Netflix read this email every week – maybe you can tell me otherwise.
Men and women can’t agree on Serena Williams. These results were so sadly-unsurprising that I almost didn’t mention them. Women have far more confidence in Serena’s post-pregnancy tennis career than men do. Oh, and men are much less likely to have a favorable opinion of her at all. Men also oppose the U.S. Open’s decision to take pregnancy into account when determining tournament seeding. Look, Serena Williams is arguably the most dominant athlete of all-time in any sport, of any gender. She’s playing in the Wimbledon final today – only 13 matches into her comeback. Guys, stop hating.
Ridding the planet of plastic straws is one of the few things we can (mostly) all agree on. It’s not going to bring about world peace but a clear majority of people can get behind the idea of banishing plastic straws and that’s at least something. Most notably for those of you in the restaurant industry, diners at fast food and fast casual joints (the ones most likely to peddle plastic straws) are the most supportive of eradicating the straw population. Huge hat-tip to Emma on our team who had the nerve to pen the words, “going straw-less is flawless.” That kind of word sorcery is out of my league.
An even bigger hat-tip to whoever came up with IHOP’s name-change spectacle. I hope you all listened when we told you it was a ruse from the beginning – a brilliant ruse. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a chart in our data like the one below. Awareness numbers for IHOP marketing flipped in a hot minute. For what it’s worth, overall sentiment toward the brand (not pictured) was more negative during that time, but I’m guessing that’s because so many people thought they were serious. Bravo IHOP marketing people. Bravo.
Random (Eye) Stats of the Week
- 37% of U.S. adults say they have brown eyes, 30% blue, 21% hazel, and 11% Other;
- 73% of U.S. adults wear eyeglasses (or contacts) some or all of the time;
- 38% of people wear glasses just to read;
- 19% of people can only wink with one eye, 4% can’t wink at all;
- 27% of people say they always lose their sunglasses;
- Therefore, 30% of people buy cheap sunglasses.
Put me in the always-losing-my-cheap-sunglasses category.
Hoping you’re well.