I was looking forward to this 19th-century Western starring Tom Hanks, and as luck would have it, it was one of the featured movies on my recent flight. The film is based on the book of the same name. It’s the story of a Civil War veteran, Capt. Kidd (Hanks) who now serves as a news-teller in Texas. During the film, he encounters a young girl in distress and brings the young girl, Johanna, to her aunt and uncle.
The employment of Captain Kidd is the feature that I would like to focus on for this post. You see, in 1870, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a former Confederate officer, was making a paltry living traveling from town to town in Texas and reading newspaper stories to local residents for an admission fee of ten cents. The US Texas citizens in 1870 only heard of the news outside their region when a “news-teller” occasionally arrived in their town.
One exciting scene is when Kidd and Johanna arrive on the border of Erath County, and are detained by militiamen led by Farley, a racist cattle baron who took over the county and had all non-white residents violently expelled. Farley coerces Kidd into reading propaganda that glorifies him to his workers, but Kidd instead reads a story about a disaster in a Pennsylvania coal mine.
Obviously, Farley’s workers erupt into a rebellious fury. Kidd and Johanna make a run for it in the ensuing melee, but are surrounded by Farley and his men. Just as Farley is about to shoot Kidd, Johanna kills Farley with Kidd’s shotgun, and John Calley, one of Farley’s henchmen who was inspired by Kidd’s words, deals with the other henchmen.
How different is Captain Kidd’s occupation than today’s times where we all have access to news on a minute-by-minute basis about what is happening not just in the U.S. but the globe and
Is this instantaneous news access better for today’s investor?
If you are a long term investor who invests in a broadly diversified globally invested portfolio, then the daily blow by blow is not helpful. Think of today’s news items:
The economy, the volatile market, pandemic, Russia’s attacking Ukraine — there’s an abundance of chaos simultaneously.
The following question was recently posed to legendary investment strategist and consultant Charles “Charley” Ellis, author of the classic bestseller “Winning the Loser’s Game,” in an interview with ThinkAdvisor regarding these current events.
Do these events pose any new challenge to investing?
Ellis clearly answered: “No. But because we’re human beings, we still tend to get more emotionally involved with up markets and down markets and with recent information rather than studying history, as we should.
We’re too responsive to the short term, to daily newspapers, too responsive to what other people are saying and the way they say it. We ought to be more coldblooded, independent-minded, rigorous in our thinking.”
Later he added,
Be steady on your plan. Don’t get shaken loose.
While it is hard, focusing on your plan and most importantly, the reasons for your plan are the key to investment success.
I would recommend the movie and would give it an “airplane” rating of 8 out of 10. (You know what I mean – I’m less critical of movies that I watched on a plane!) The movie has drama that I neglected to mention in this review with the Captain trying to get the young girl home. I think you would like it, but if you don’t, it will still be better than watching the daily news updates!
Hope you have a great week!
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