Good! It's "Let's Make Fun Of Wall Street" Day At The Miami Herald!
July 28, 2002 3:50 AM   Subscribe

Good! It's "Let's Make Fun Of Wall Street" Day At The Miami Herald! Can it be a coincidence that the two funniest columnists in Miami, Carl Hiaasen [Imagine if the entire board of Arthur Andersen were rounded up, blindfolded and flown to Guantánamo Bay for interrogation.] and Dave Barry [Wall Street is in trouble, and things are not going to get better until you, the small investor, stop selfishly thinking about yourself all the time.] have chosen this Sunday to raise a few laughs at the expense of poor, old beleaguered Wall Street? Let's hope not.
posted by MiguelCardoso (10 comments total)
We all knew the crash was coming.
We just didn't think there would be criminals involved.
posted by AtomicDan at 5:22 AM on July 28, 2002

It's great to see the humorist lampooning wall street. Too bad that it hurt so much. To get an idea of how much corporate fraud there is try this list. I've known about most of these scandals but it takes more significance when you see them on one page.
posted by MaddCutty at 8:16 AM on July 28, 2002

One of the 'funniest' flim flam jobs I've seen is Palm asking for a reverse stock split. Once worth $100 a share and now worth $1.36, a reverse split would only keep Palm from being delisted by nasdaq.
posted by Mack Twain at 8:38 AM on July 28, 2002

Jokes aside, when will people realize that the stock market is cyclical? Now is the time people should be investing in the stock market to get bargains. The Dow will bounce back, just like the Nikkei did.
posted by bobo123 at 9:14 AM on July 28, 2002

Uh, Mack, that's not a flim-flam job -- at least, no more or less than a normal split (which often helps boost the overall capitalization of the company, because more people can mentally "afford" the stock); it's perfectly legal and does happen, although it's uncommon. This spring, AT&T became the first Dow component, ever, to propose a reverse split (it hasn't actually occurred yet). It doesn't always help; a short list of companies to reverse split in the last two years includes: Motient,,, Iomega, Webvan ... In the wake of the stock slump, it's looking very attractive even to stable companies, because fewer outstanding shares also means less volatility.
posted by dhartung at 9:19 AM on July 28, 2002

That was nice reading. I enjoy Carl Hiaasen's writings too.

Jokes aside, a lot more than corporate corruption ails wall street. And it would take a lot more than the current measures passed in congress to bring it down to manageable levels. It is not as if people were not talking about accounting irregularities in the nineties. People knew that Rigases were a crazy and feuding lot and that 'goodwill' is not exactly kosher. I am not even in finance. But even I knew that there were a host of unethical practices out there. If I remember correctly, most dotcoms where accounting for things like advertisement swaps. It is just that reform did not look possible while things were going well. Of course, I suspect most people did not even imagine that Enron - that beacon of capitalism, written up in HBR and Mckinsey Quarterly, was a party to it.

I kinda liked Friedman's take on the subject
posted by justlooking at 9:55 AM on July 28, 2002

Thanks for that Friedman link -- that was excellent.
posted by josh at 12:10 PM on July 28, 2002

Carl Hiaasen is great. I am re-reading "Stormy Weather" right now. He is, of course, totally on target. The whole "Kenny Boy" issue still bugs me. Why is he not in jail? Did Hiassen look into the future? Are we going to see a late October Ken Lay perp walk?
posted by sciatica at 12:17 PM on July 28, 2002

There's a good BBC Radio interview with Hiaasen here, sciatica (scroll down a good bit, Real Audio req.). Also a lot of other good stuff, btw: two Matt Groening interviews, for instance.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:32 PM on July 28, 2002

Echoing the thanks for the Friedman link, justlooking. I appreciated how well he expressed the source of the frustration.

I hate to cater to clichés, because they're necessarily oversimplifications, but it's true that here in Italy you do have to grease certain palms in order to get certain things done. People shake their heads at it, but they also assume that's the way it has to be, and the way it is everywhere.
I used to argue the point with them, but I can't really do that anymore.

(This is also why one should automatically distrust highly successful businessmen around these parts who suddenly decide to go into politics, but that's another thread altogether.)
posted by PlinAgin at 4:09 AM on July 29, 2002

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