Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bonfire of the Inanities

This Malcolm Gladwell beignet from about a month ago (link via Mike Lombardi's column in NFP, of all things), is as much a profile of a man who's made a reputation overlooking Ockham's Razor in favor trendy aphorisms, than of the mentality of the Masters of the Universe. The "I'm good at this, therefore I'd be good at that" excuse is especially hilarious. "Gee, I won the Super Bowl on Madden 10. Maybe I should be playing or coaching actual football." Only people who don't worry about accountability for their actions have this mentality.

Look, this is not that complicated. Which is more relevant -- obscure and tendentious psych models that may or may not draw valid parallels between upper-echelon finance weasels and the fops who botched Gallipoli, or the more obvious notion that terminal fuckfaces like Jimmy Cayne, John Thain, Lloyd Blankfein, et al, do what they do because there's no reason for them not to?

Seriously, economists and their literary catamites prattle on about incentives and disincentives and such. Very well, then. At what point has any disincentive occurred -- or hell, even been seriously proposed -- to discourage the recklessness of Jimmy Cayne and his bridge buddies, retroactively or pre-emptively? It's other people's money they played with, it's other people's money they lost, and it's other people's money that constitutes the ginormous stack of chips they've been given to play with again. No penalties, no consequences, probably not even any truly meaningful regulatory changes. Can't say they're not getting what they paid for.

It doesn't take a handful of pop-behavioral psychology theories to understand why they keep doing what they do. For all his earnest semantics, Gladwell seems ill-equipped to answer the negative corollary to "why do they do it" -- what's do discourage them from doing it again? Cayne's a loudmouth chump, a pushy rentier capitalist who'll never be forced to pay his karmic freight, certainly not by the government they just doubled down on. This has nothing to do with Gallipoli, it's just a jerkoff who's never been given a reason not to be a fuckin' jerkoff. I've said it before, and not to frighten the Palin Power retards, but "socialism" is when the government runs the banks -- what do you call it when it's the other way around?

Because I'm petty and pedantic, and because I think people like Jimmy Cayne should be dunked in maple syrup and dropped on Grizzly Island, here's a bonus bon mot from the Weasel of Wall Street:

When Cayne told Greenberg that he was a bridge player, Cayne tells Cohan, “you could see the electric light bulb.”

As opposed to what, a mechanical light bulb, an origami lightbulb, a fucking drawing of a lightbulb? Is there a non-electric lightbulb we have heretofore been uninformed (you know, kept in the dark) about?

Maybe a derivative of a lightbulb, where one person actually manufactures and markets the damned thing, while Jimmy Cayne and his parasite bookie friends run their little off-track betting parlors with everyone else's money, betting on esoteric features such as how long the lightbulb takes to sell, how many hours it'll work, what percentage of milfs will buy it at Home Depot, etc. Certainly every lightbulb on Wall Street has been powered for quite some time by the bullshit these assclowns have been selling. Beats working.


The Vile Scribbler said...

Hey, Gladwell's new book sounds fascinating!

cavjam said...

Boy, I sure hope you're just on sabbatical. I've always found this blurg one of most well-written on the intertubes. I'd miss it were it gone.

Heywood J. said...

I'm still around, just buried with work/school/family stuff, and uninspired by the usual stream of silly-season non-stories.