Friday, November 21, 2008


What good is getting our first African-American president if I can't get a blog post out of it? All I can say at the moment is, I always seem to have more to say about politics when I'm unhappy with how things are going than when I'm satisfied and hopeful.

Here at least is something on the economy: Michael Lewis in Portfolio magazine, on the end of Wall Street as we know it. I'll grade myself on a curve and say I understand about 2/3 of this piece. To me Michael Lewis will always be first and foremost the author of Moneyball, the story of the rise of stats gurus in the management ranks of major league baseball, and a trademark Michael Lewis tone and attitude are evident in both pieces of writing. Moneyball's prophet/cynic Billy Beane is a lot like Steve Eisman in the Portfolio article, the short-selling artist who got rich while foretelling the destruction of the investment banking industry. Lewis humanizes the financial disaster nicely in the part depicting Eisman and his colleagues, on the day the roof came crashing in, watching people on the street in lower Manhattan, knowing their work and vision has been vindicated while feeling the rumble of a Biblical wave of destruction, something like Yahweh's vengeance wreaked on a slack and heedless people. Also interesting is the final scene, Lewis's pleasure or fascination in the company of a charming monster, John Gutfreund, morally repugnant yet proud.

No comments: