But GameStop exploded instead. At one point, its shares were worth more than 100 times their value last August – and some hedge funds bought more to offset their shorting losses. Redditors made the equally daggy AMC cinemas and even the venerable BlackBerry surge as well, surprisingly – who knew BlackBerry still existed?
But then several share trading providers – including, ironically, one called Robinhood – put a lock on the shares. Apparently it was fine for hedge funds to manipulate the market, but as soon as a large group of small investors began to overwhelm the small group of large investors, Wall Street began demanding regulation – usually their least favourite thing.
Some of the investors who bought into GameStop have made vast fortunes – and other Redditors suggested they buy Wall Street traders’ mansions and turn them into GameStop outlets. Like much of Reddit, it’s a pretty funny idea.
But we’re all players at this casino – we work for the companies being traded, or are their customers, or shareholders via our super. So what the Reddit army has been doing isn’t just amusing – it’s a wake-up call.
The hedge funds mess with us – so why not mess with them? If there’s a company we value, even if its outlook is sketchy, why shouldn’t we invest in it to keep it afloat? It’s a lot more rewarding than the pokies.
Even Labor isn’t betting on Labor
Much has changed in this world of ours, so it’s reassuring to see that federal Labor is still riven with leadership tensions at the first whiff of an election. With only one outright victory in the past 25 years, the party has become a perma-opposition, whose regular need for bloodshed can only be satiated by hacking at itself. Spills are now Labor’s core competency.
It’s a good time for the left globally. Thanks to their pandemic handling, Jacinda Ardern and Justin Trudeau are flourishing and Boris Johnson’s leadership is messier than his quiff. The GOP has become a Trump-branded flop, just like the ex-president’s other businesses. And Anthony Albanese is even somewhat Bidenesque – affable, been around for yonks, and loves banging on about trains.
Last year’s final Newspoll had Labor in touching distance – 49 to the Coalition’s 51. This was surprising after the federal government’s strong handling of the pandemic, but probably reflects the economic uncertainty that has many of us wondering whether we’ll ever own a caravan of our own, let alone a house.
Many are also worrying about our jobs – including Albanese.
Labor does well when people are concerned about healthcare, welfare and education, which are top of mind for many right now. Much of the economy is still struggling, and JobKeeper is almost finished.
But how Labor would fix all this remains largely unclear. Bill Shorten’s proposals contained enough pain for the PM to campaign against them, but that doesn’t mean an Opposition shouldn’t have plans.
Despite Morrison’s pandemic success, the next election feels somewhat open. But knowing Labor, they’ll panic and put in Joel Fitzgibbon, because he keeps talking about coal. He’s paying 15-1 with the bookies – it’s a safer bet than GameStop.
A fabulously depressing afternoon
Last weekend, I spent a gloriously sunny Saturday watching a depressing movie about frustrated love. Wong Kar-Wai’s sumptuous In The Mood for Love was screening at the Art Gallery – though the Sydney Film Festival (SFF) retrospective of his films has largely sold out, equally depressingly.
The Gallery’s Domain Theatre is great – and an underused resource. They screen interesting offerings, but could it become a dedicated arthouse cinema, perhaps programmed by the SFF? Combined with the exhibitions and the café, it’s a great visit even before the AGNSW’s renovations open. Given how strongly this mini-festival sold during COVID, we’re clearly in the mood for more.
Here comes Stormin’ Gorman
At last, poetry has found a mass audience! Well, Amanda Gorman’s poetry. The woman who performed The Hill We Climb at the Biden-Harris inauguration is going gangbusters – her publishers are printing a million copies of her three books to satisfy the global demand. Plus she’s dropping a new verse at the Super Bowl next week – her second time performing for hundreds of millions of people this year.
Gorman has a BA from Harvard, which shows what a vocational degree it is – she majored in sociology, as do her poems. Our Arts-sceptical government might want to take note – especially as she plans to run for president in 2036. Before long, this remarkable woman might well be the US government.
Dom Knight is a radio presenter, author and hopeless investor. Peter FitzSimons is on leave.
Writer, broadcaster and co-founder of The Chaser and Giant Dwarf