There was sad news for game show fans this past weekend, when Richard Dawson died at age 79. He was the famous host of the Family Feud and the Match Game, a favorite background noise while studying during college. I remember my favorite moment, while watching a Family Feud episode in my fraternity.
Dawson: The category is something that comes in a travel size.
Me: [Joking] A Suitcase!
Contestant: A Suitcase?
Dawson: Show me Suitcase! [It appears on the board]
Fraternity Brother: No, it makes sense!
Me: What suitcase doesn’t come in a travel size?
The WSJ article has this quote from a critic:
In his classic 1981 cultural analysis “Within the Context of No Context,” George W.S. Trow identified “the important moment in the history of television” as the moment when Mr. Dawson asked his contestants “to guess what a poll of 100 people had guessed would be the height of the average American woman.
“Guess what they’ve guessed,” sniffed Mr. Trow, harping on the meaninglessness of such an enterprise. “Guess what they’ve guessed the AVERAGE is.”
Contra Trow, I would say that guessing what other people expect is the focus of a great deal of economic activity.