Pirates, at least the traditional image we have in our minds (the ones with the parrots on their shoulders and wooden legs from the 1700s), were in reality rapists, thieves and murderers. They were violent outlaws; terrorists of the Caribbean colonies. Some of them were hired as mercenaries called privateers, but they were still pirates even with a note from the King. They pillaged, slaughtered and plundered for a couple hundred years.
And a couple hundred years after that? Well, now pirates are a multi-billion dollar Disney franchise.
The point is: there’s hope for Wall Street. Yes, Bankaneers – as I’ve decided all profiteers from the economic collapse should be called – should stop lamenting that they’re misunderstood. They are not. They’re greedy, shortsighted and smitten with their own power. We get it. Instead, they should just embrace the villain role full on. And maybe they too can inspire a theme park ride someday. (Perhaps a roller coaster where only one out of every hundred gets a lap bar. Just an idea.)
Follow Bank of America’s lead: Bank of America has been criticized (fairly) for not paying any (not one cent) of federal income tax in 2010. This was after they took federal bailout money, during a year where they reported a $10 billion profit and WHILE they were foreclosing on American’s homes. But BofA didn’t just stop there. They just recently announced an additional fee for their customers to access their own money: a $5 a month charge to use a debit card. Which still isn’t “CGI level villainy” just yet. So, in September this year, the giant – too big to fail – mega-bank announced it was cutting 30,000 mid-level jobs to save $5 billion in costs.
Funny how all corporations are now the euphemistic “job creators,” even after they proved to be (over and over again) job-cutters. Yes, the swashbuckling job-cutters! Arrr!
The lesson here is go all out. Don’t try to make anyone like you. Don’t try to deflect scorn – raise fees AND kill jobs. Go ahead – you think Black Beard held back?
Also, the whining is just atrocious. David Moore, CEO of Moore Holdings wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal last week where he reported a homeless man heckled him after the author had just given him a dollar. This anecdotal evidence is all the proof this cheap guy in an expensive suit needed to conclude: Obama has done this to him.
“I do not recall another president in my lifetime whose negative drumbeat about large segments of the population has been so relentless,” he wrote.
Apparently Moore can’t recall anything before the Obama administration, when dissent was equated with treason. “With us or against us.” Also it’s quaint (in a boy-in-a-bubble way) that he thinks CEOs and his Wall Street pals are a “large segment.” Muslims and gays are both larger groups than the top 1 percent and unless Moore is three years old, there’s been a negative drumbeat against them in his lifetime…even by a president.
The sniveling is not going to get the Bankaneers romanticized. There’s nothing sexy about being a privileged creep and trying to make yourself out as a victim. Dignity is much sexier. This is no way to get a theme restaurant modeled after you!
So buck up, Bankaneers! What you’ve done to your country is immoral, egregious and unethical – regardless of whether or not it’s legal. There are privateers in pirate movies too. They’re doing the same stuff as the criminals. “Just doing my job” is not a good excuse when you’re responsible for millions of others losing theirs.
There’s no such thing as gilded rage. Embrace the disdain. If money is good for anything – you can at least shove it in your ears to drown out all the jeering.
It’ll be a sub-plot to the sequel: “Bankaneers of the Wall Street: The Curse of the Volcker Rule.”
Taking Eternal Vigilance Too Far