In Brian Gail’s novel Fatherless, Michael Burns takes a job at an advertising firm responsible for marketing cable television. He eventually finds that the content of the cable channel programming leads to moral dilemmas, and he tries to argue for programming that is friendlier to family values.
In the course of his market research, Michael discovers that men are overwhelmingly behind families’ decisions to purchase cable service and women are responsible for the decision to cancel cable subscriptions. I thought of that the other day as I listened to a C-SPAN interview with financial analyst Meredith Whitney. During the course of the interview, the discussion turns to credit card lending and legal changes to the way the credit card issuers set rates. In the past, credit card companies would adjust rates for customers depending upon risk. If customers started missing payments, not just on their credit cards, but on other bills, they were viewed as greater risks, and their rates would be raised.
What I found interesting, in relation to the story told in Fatherless, was that what really set off warning bells at credit card companies was when a man started to miss payments on his cable bill. In other words, men apparently place a high priority on their access to cable programming. They will let other bills go unpaid before they give up their cable. By the time they start missing cable payments, they are in serious financial difficulties.
Something tells me that it isn’t EWTN that these men are clinging to.