Saturday, October 15, 2011

Erin Go Blah

OK, so it is duly noted that money bunny Erin Burnett should never be mistaken for a friend of the masses. I mean, at the risk of belaboring the blitheringly obvious, she has never been that person. If she were, she would not have the job she has.

Burnett's pedigree -- worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and is set to marry a Citigroup exec -- is exactly the curricula vitae one would expect for someone in her job. Same with Jim Cramer. It should not be a blindside surprise that Burnett comes across as a smug, overprivileged twit, functionally ignorant of how people outside of Manhattan get by in life. That is not an accident, that is a job requirement.

Look, the financial system itself is simply a polite fiction that people have agreed to agree on, to passively accept. Americans of all wealth quintiles, whether they have investments or not, have some awareness of how the DJIA works, insofar as it is "good" when it increases, "bad" when it decreases. But that's about the extent of it; even people who work in the financial services industry display little specific acumen as to why -- or more importantly, for whom -- those indicators necessarily mean those things. For the most part, it is about as scientific and empirical as astrology, or the reading of chicken entrails. Again, this is by design; the industry has a vested interest in protecting the arcana of their vested interests, and the mechanics therein.

This is where the cheerleading sector comes in, the CNBC money bunnies and balding galoots, the Burnetts and Cramers and Maria Bartiromos. The women present a veneer of knowledge and a frisson of sexuality, not-so-subtle reminders that money equates power and both will get you more ass than you can handle. The men present either the appearance of gravitas and expertise, or in the case of Cramer, the illusion of expertise coupled with a shameless buffoonery one normally associates with the local morning zoo radio drive-time show.

But they're all there for the same reason, in the end -- to make you believe that they know what they're talking about, that Wall Street's interests coincide and overlap with the interests of people outside of Wall Street. They are there to elide the increasingly obvious notion that Wall Street financiers simply regard the rest of the country and the rest of the planet as a dead-brain milch cow to be periodically cleaned out.

Don't ever tell yourself differently, folks. I am not exaggerating even a little bit when I tell you, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Six-Pack, that nobody in that industry, from Erin Burnett on up to Jamie Dimon, gives a red-hot monkey-fuck whether you live or die, whether you can find a job, whether you live in a fucking cardboard box while they pick out $10K leather couches for their East Side penthouses.

They do not care, nor do they care about the banana-republic levels of income and wealth disparity, and the only emotion they feel when you resent this indifference and chicanery is antagonism and open hostility. There is not a moment in the lives of these people where they wonder why the peons don't have more, because that would interfere with them wondering why they themselves do not have more.

If the financial services system is a racket -- and Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ, how can any sentient being at this point not understand that that is exactly what it is? -- then financial "journalists" are the procurers and whores of that racket, shamelessly exhorting and pimping anything and everything, whether they know better or not. They are the kids on the street corner in Goodfellas, running bets on the rigged numbers game to Tuddy and Paulie at the neighborhood pizzeria. They are Crazy Vince selling you the ShamWow and the pajama jeans on your midnight teevee, call within the next 20 minutes and get a 30% discount, tonight only.

Because one thing they do know is that the system is predicated on belief, like Tinkerbell. If people start understanding the flawed mechanics of that system, the shenanigans and outright thievery and graft that so much of it is built on, they might get wise and stop believing, and Tinkerbell dies.

Getting upset with a financial journo for doing what they've been conditioned and groomed for years to do is like getting upset with, say, Pat Robertson for saying something completely stupid and hypocritical. Like religion, modern de-leveraged and de-securitized finance is simply an ungainly belief system, but one that is necessary for its believers to maintain. They are balls-deep up in this biznitch, and if people stop buying what they're selling, they might no longer be able to have thousand-dollar meals at Cipriani's, or send their kids to $50K private kindergartens. Can't you feel the pain of the 1%ers, you heartless motherfuckers?

But there's nothing stopping anyone outside the bubble from taking a look at this shit, watching someone like Burnett waltzing down to the OWSers to fuck with people who are up to their eyeballs in debt and can't get a job because Burnett's cocksucker bosses might lose a quarter-point on their stock bonuses, and saying, "Wait a minute. How the fuck do credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations and MERS benefit me in any way, directly or indirectly?" I mean, who you gonna believe -- Erin Burnett and Jim Cramer, or your own lyin' eyes?

The answer, of course, is that those alphabet-soup financial devices don't benefit you at all -- if anything, their only net effect on the average 'merkin is more debt and pain. That's where Erin Burnett comes in, to convince you that that pain you feel in your ass is not Lloyd Blankfein's tiny, barbed cock, but the invisible hand of the marketplace giving you a nice prostate massage.


woodguy said...

Nailed it again with your characteristic eloquence, eliciting yet another episodic sense of awe at your ability to distill an issue to its essense.

Scared me to death you did, as this site was unavailable to me for the last week or so. Can't tell you how relieved I am that my sense of loss was temporary.

I am continually amazed that this site generates so few comments, and wish it were required reading for all cable TV subscribers. Be in no way discouraged and thanks again for your ongoing efforts to inject some sanity into the cacophany of blather that passes for discourse in our crumbling society.

Heywood J. said...

Thanks, woodguy, as always the kudos are much appreciated. Not sure about the accessibility of the site; while I obviously don't post very much these days, I do pass through and peek in pretty regularly, just to make sure the lights are still on.

Traffic and comments (or the lack thereof) were a real burn on my ass for the first few years of doing this. I felt like I was putting in a lot of time and effort, to craft something hopefully different and better, only to see folks (liberal and conservative) spin donuts around me in terms of sheer numbers, with perhaps less effort and/or ability.

But it is what it is, and I'm okay with it at this point. I write because I like to, when the urge hits, and I'm just not very good at self-promotion or marketing the blog.

And blogs, like newspapers, are loss-leaders at this point anyway. Everybody tweets and Facebooks now, which I suppose is fine if one has a sense of humor or irony about the inanity of the format, of communicating solely in nuggets of words, rather than fully liminal thoughts and ideas.

I'm pretty sure that what I do falls under the "TL;DR" category for those folks. The thing is, I'm better with that than I used to be. If I was in it for the traffic I would have shut it down three years ago.

So thanks for hanging there, all you faithful and frequent commenters. As the election season picks up steam and methane, I will undoubtedly be upping the posting frequency, in an always futile effort to keep from being completely outpaced by the stupidity.

Marius said...

Yeah, Woodguy's right, H. Don't leave up out here in the cold, man. We depend on you to keep our sanity -- all three of us. It's fucked up out there, in early 21st-century 'Murka.

As to traffic and popularity -- this ain't much, but it's all I got: when I was growing up in grad school, wondering if anyone was gonna read my shit, my doctoral advisor, a man of great talent but little following, told me, It's not about the applause, but the music.

Or, if you wanna increase your readership without selling out, you could try this. The next time one of these clowns come up with a "book," do a snarky review of it here, on your blog. That's how Ed at Gin&Tacos got his big break.

Anyway, keep on keeping on, man. You're really good at this. Even if we don't comment much, we do read your productions.

Oh, and: we know good writing doesn't just happen, so you should know that we do appreciate the time and effort you put into this. It's not been lost on the three of us (where's Tehanu, he's gotta be lurking aroudn here somewhere).

Anonymous said...

All the best to you, chum. You'tre the canary in the coalmine. I value your hip-shootin' shit.