Thursday, October 02, 2008

It's Time to Hear From Poets & Comics
About the Financial System Meltdown

Okay, we've heard enough from the politicians and pundits about the near-meltdown of the financial system. Now it's the poets and comedians turn to take a whack at it. My friend the poet Amy Sparks, she of the luminous smile and even more luminous pen,
had this to say about it. Meanwhile, Fortune Magazine's resident wise guy Stanley Bing (actually a pen name for a guy who's a top PR person at CBS) weighed in with this, while Shaker Heights native Andy Borowitz had this to say. Not feeling like poetry or jokes are going to help? Then you might try this handy page on the Wall Street Journal's recently upgraded website, which provides links to their comprehensive coverage of the still-unfolding financial crisis.

12 Comments:

At 6:18 PM, Blogger Geoff Schutt said...

John, the best I can come up with is ... we need someone like Will Rogers right now. Maybe because I'm thinking "Great Depression" too much lately, and Rogers' voice seems to still read loud and clear and wise and funny from that time, long ago. History repeats itself, yes. But do we have a modern-day Will Rogers? There are plenty of comics (and poets) who have created nice niches for themselves. Yet, do we have "one" person so respected who can speak to and for the hurting and the hungry, and the frightened, and still bring a smile to their faces?

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Geoff, funny you should ask. Indeed we do have that very kind of person: Warren Buffet. I was just watching him on Charlie Rose last night, and his sophisticated grasp of economics and gift for explaining it in the most direct, homespun way possible is unrivaled. It helps of course that he's got a track record of nearly a half century of always making money in the stock market, but like Twain and Lincoln, he's from the middle of the country and yet can outdazzle any coastal sharpy intellectuals in thinking and expressing his thoughts. I'll be posting about him soon.

 
At 9:13 AM, Blogger Geoff Schutt said...

I'll look forward to hearing/reading more of your thoughts about Warren Buffet, John.

Back to Will Rogers for a moment .... I spent some time this morning re-reading quotes of his, and it's amazing how well they hold up (or, how little the basic way of doing things in this country has changed in 70-plus years!).

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Geoff, I'd love for you to post some of those quotes for us if you get a moment, because your point is right on with what Buffet has been saying: that it's unchanging human nature behind this economic disaster, just as it was behind every other one in history. He has a wonderful way of getting past all the largely meaningless drivel about complicated international financial instruments, which we like to pretend can't be regulated as they were in the 30s after FDR and his folks established a strong regulatory presence over American finance, which we've dismantled brick by brick in the last 25 years. He offers the important reminder that things haven't changed as much as we'd like to imagine, and thus that meaningful regulation has to be a part of the solution.

 
At 6:50 PM, Blogger Geoff Schutt said...

http://www.willrogers.org/index.htm

John, if you go to the above link, and then connect to "Will Rogers Dot Com" on the left-side menu, you can gain access to all of his "Daily Telegrams," which are fascinating looks into American history, as it happens(happened), and much of the history that we are repeating, over and over.

 
At 6:53 PM, Blogger Geoff Schutt said...

"I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts." -- Will Rogers

 
At 5:55 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks, Geoff. Very interesting stuff.

 
At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

A timely item:

Will Rogers talks to the bankers: keynote roast from 1924 (mp3 from a 78 rpm record)

He really gives those bankers heck.

 
At 7:36 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Wow, this is quite a find! Thanks for posting this, Bluster. I hope everyone takes a moment to listen to this. It's a classic. I find it interesting that this came during the go-go years of the '20s. Imagine how much more material he would have had in 1934 instead.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

By the way, Bluster, it's good to hear from you after a quiet spell. The conversation's never quite the same around here without your hyper-informed intelligence.

 
At 11:10 AM, Anonymous craig said...

Mr. Bluster, as always you blow me away. The speech was written with a pen that pierced the subject so deeply because its users powers of observation were ALWAYS honed with truth. Roger's charm and humor brought his readers back every day, and acted almost as "novacaine" to the recipients of his barbs. As one's integrity builds, the power the writer's pen can wield grows commensurately.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I like how you said that, Craig. I think you may be a first-time commenter (at least I can't recall another Craig offhand), so welcome. And thanks for taking part in the conversation.

 

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