Frenzied? Identifying America’s Secret Disgrace: Leisure
In the notoriously harried ’90s, people who have time for little else somehow find a moment to complain about how little time they’ve got. A new Yankelovich poll puts 41 percent of the adult population into the “time-frenzied” category. Amid such laments, people who aren’t chronically pressed for time must wonder if life is passing them by. Indeed, they must wonder if they’re out-and-out losers, on a par with Seinfeld’s George Costanza as he snoozes under his desk. In such an atmosphere, leisure becomes the phenomenon that dare not speak its name. Are Americans really as pressed for time as they claim? They manage to watch an astounding amount of TV. They spend billions of dollars on recreational gear. One doesn’t doubt that soccer moms are over-extended as they scurry between work and home. But 47 percent of the self-professed frenzieds in Yankelovich’s survey are from households without kids and 33 percent aren’t employed. That doesn’t disqualify folks from being busy, of course, but would they be so quick to declare themselves frenzied if it didn’t seem almost shameful to have time to spare?

Reel Time: What’s So Funny, Kid?
Why would you need horror movies if you spent your days hanging out with 8-12-year-olds? At any rate, that’s one way to explain the relatively weak performance of the horror/thriller genre in an online poll asking kids of that age to name their favorite genre of movie. (The poll was conducted via Curiocity’s FreeZone Web site.) Given young boys’ zest for the cartoony gore of action figures and video games, it’s somehow reassuring to see that the action/adventure genre isn’t a great favorite. Likewise, at a time when kids seem appallingly precocious in many ways, their lack of interest in cinematic romance can only be good news. As for the kids’ interest in comedy, we’re probably not talking Dorothy Parkeresque witticisms here. But it suggests at least some appreciation of language, which is more than one might have given them credit for possessing.

That’s Incredible: The Moral – Don’t Use Politicians As Pitchmen In Ads For Used Cars
Thank goodness for politicians and used-car sellers. People in advertising are beset by enough self-doubt as it is. Can you imagine how they’d feel if ad claims were the least-believed phenomena on earth? The chart draws on a survey for New York-based Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners. Respondents were given a menu of untrustworthy choices and asked to single out one for disparagement. Though the 18-24-year-olds were more likely than their elders to bad-mouth ad claims, it’s encouraging to see they were markedly less likely to express disbelief in anything and everything. This finding suggests that intrinsically plausible ad claims–and there are some–won’t run up against as much youthful cynicism as we’re sometimes led to expect.