Bubble Logic Through the Ages

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 6, 2009 - 2:16pm

My friend Randy Dotinga, a freelance writer who sometimes writes for voiceofsandiego.org, dug up the following ad while researching a story:

(click the image for a large version)

The ad, which ran in the San Diego Sun in May of 1924, tried to lure speculators into Pacific Beach real estate using some tactics that appear strikingly familiar to modern-day bubble watchers.

We have the talking up of current prices based on long-term projections of population growth:

...and the idea that more supply will somehow make the existing units more valuable (a misapprehension repeated for downtown San Diego in this last bubble):

...and, of course, the old "buy now or be priced out forever" gambit:

A single week! Wow. Better buy now. Or, in May of 1924, anyway.

Unfortunately, one technique that didn't survive into the modern era was the use of a pointing finger to issue direct yet totally superfluous commands to the reader.

I am considering trying to bring back the CommandFinger by issuing useless directives of my own:

...or possibly to call attention to items of interest:

The potential uses are manifold:

Behold, my friends, as the CommandFinger returns to render its olde-timey wisdom unto the Modern Era!

(category: )

Submitted by jpinpb on April 6, 2009 - 2:25pm.

LOL. Okay. I'm convinced! I'm buying, buying, buying, now, now, now.

Does this mean at the next meet-up you will be showing up w/one of those giant pointing fingers?

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 6, 2009 - 2:48pm.

jpinpb wrote:

Does this mean at the next meet-up you will be showing up w/one of those giant pointing fingers?

JP, that is a fantastic idea. I think I will get one surgically attached.


Submitted by danthedart on April 6, 2009 - 2:56pm.

That finger is hilarious!

Submitted by nostradamus on April 6, 2009 - 3:18pm.

Whoa that last pic tried to hypnotize me!

Submitted by FormerSanDiegan on April 6, 2009 - 3:53pm.

cool ad.

great fingers.

and Mr. Henning.

Awesome !

But where is the analysis of inflation-adjusted return on those Big Hermosa Tract lots between La Jolla and PB that were as high as $7500 per lot ?

Submitted by matt8268 on April 6, 2009 - 7:10pm.

A commentary on Pacific Beach that leads to discussion of a crack pipe. Coincidence? I think not.

Submitted by wooga on April 6, 2009 - 10:06pm.

It also has the "mass transit coming soon!" selling point.

Everyday I drive by the light rail sign next to my Chula - Eastlake condo (91913). I still have to drive to work. Good to know that it has worked on suckers like me for 85 years.

Submitted by jpinpb on April 6, 2009 - 10:23pm.

"Mass transit coming soon"? I missed that. Well, that's great news. Any idea when? I'll just sell my car today.

Oh, wait a minute. Are they talking about that bus that runs down Garnet and Mission once a day?

Ah, yes. The ever wishful effective mass transit that Europeans enjoy that is elusive here in the country of GM, Chrysler and Ford, sponsored by our ever-giving taxpayers.

Selling dreams since 1924.

Submitted by drboom on April 6, 2009 - 10:45pm.

OK, you sneaked up on me with the Redfin graph. Funny stuff!

I like the pointing fingers of the 19th century. Who can resist a finely engraved finger?

I feel compelled to look where this distinguished finger points. No cheapo 20th century newsprint finger could command the same obedience.

Computer generated 21st century finger-pointing doesn't do it for me, either:

I would look away from what this finger points at.


I actually learned a new word while looking for these: "manicule":

Toward a History of the Manicule

(found here)

Submitted by peterb on April 7, 2009 - 7:49am.

People dont seem to change too much over the years. Lack of change you can believe in?

Submitted by Rich Toscano on April 7, 2009 - 8:57am.

drboom, that is a sweet manicule...


Submitted by CAwireman on April 7, 2009 - 8:32pm.

Rich and all Piggingtonians,

I had to share my memory of Laugh-In's Fickle Finger of Fate.


"The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate Award, saluting actual dubious achievements by the government or famous people. The trophy was a gilt, outstretched finger atop a square base. "The flying, fickle finger of fate" was already a familiar catchphrase on the show (Dan Rowan would use the phrase when ushering "new talent" like Tiny Tim on stage).


Happy Pointing!


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