I once took my girlfriend to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, it had to have been around like 1998 or something. They have a big stage where there are live performances and shows inside the park. That day, splashed across the marquee, it said “Today Only! Billy Ray Cyrus! Showtime 2PM!”
Here’s a guy who, for a brief stretch of time, owned both country and pop radio across America, selling out shows at huge venues in every part of the country. Millions of albums sold, TV appearances made, and then poof! Just like that he’s playing a 2 o’clock show at a theme park in New Jersey.
The saddest part is that he played to an empty theater even at Six Flags that day.
When I watch the foolishness of the ratings agencies and their latest downgrades, I get the same mixed feeling of pity and apathy these days. Especially when I see the market’s (non) reaction to anything they have to say anymore. Six months ago, if a secretary from Moodys had taken an overlong lunch, the media was there to divine what that might mean for Hungarian credit spreads. Moodys and S&P releases on Europe – or even the hint that a release might come – meant a full-scale stampede for the risk-off exits and a tornado of media coverage and wordles and op-eds and god knows what else.
And poof! Now no one cares at all.
And whay should we? This is all rearview mirror, rehashed stuff at this point. We already know that everyone knows how bad things are and that the ECB is going Bernanke – it’s simply going to print. So what the hell do we care which country it’s printing for on any given afternoon?
Here’s what you need to know circa now:
Last night Moodys downgraded six European countries. This morning everyone got up and went to work. Oh, and Spain held a bond auction, sold debt without a problem.
It’s not that there aren’t risks in Europe that could effect the global economy – there are. It’s that nobody needs Moodys to tell us about them anymore.
As a postscript, things turned out okay for poor Billy Ray, his daughter Miley became Disney’s Hannah Montana and she’s made north of $150 million in the last five years. Billy got a recurring role on her TV show as her dad, hopefully making enough that he can skip the theme park shows.