The Pirate Pose
March 13, 2009 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Hilarious and incisive piece by Tom Wolfe about (pre-Crisis) hedge fund managers, tensions between old and new money in Greenwich, on Park Ave., etc.
posted by VicNebulous (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
"(pre-Crisis) hedge fund managers"

I seriously took this as a DC comic book reference before clicking the link... I don't know if that says more about me or the goofiness of the world these days.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:02 AM on March 13, 2009 [7 favorites]

Tom Wolfe beginning a recent essay with onomatopoeia is like Johnny Ramone playing "Blitzkrieg Bop" at one of the band's late-career shows. Something once revolutionary and thrilling reduced to an old man going through the motions for a paycheck.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:18 AM on March 13, 2009

posted by xthlc at 10:03 AM on March 13, 2009

Oh, I like the vitriol! I can't wait for world capitalism to collapse and these people to stare because they have no real skills to speak of other than whatever hedge fund managers do.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have all unemployed day to boil some eggs and cabbage and I'd like to lift some cinderblocks before I buy a dime bag and take a nap...
posted by fuq at 10:05 AM on March 13, 2009

these people to starve I mean.

posted by fuq at 10:07 AM on March 13, 2009

Twenty years after The Bonfire of the Vanities, the author checks in on the new masters of the universe and finds them even coarser and ruder than their predecessors could have ever imagined being.

Well, let's be clear here: Tom Wolfe thought their predecessors would balk at lying in court, so his idea of what they used to be like is more than a little suspect.
posted by shmegegge at 10:23 AM on March 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

shmegegge: "his idea of what they used to be like is more than a little suspect."

Didn't his recent novel deliver the breaking news that college students enjoy fucking?
posted by Joe Beese at 10:25 AM on March 13, 2009 [4 favorites]

Yess ... don't get me wrong, I think Tom Wolfe is an astounding writer, but one of my secret guilty pleasures are his scenes (and they happen in more than one book of his) that go something like:

PERSON 1: "Have you heard of this new thing the youth of today are engaging in, this 'hooking up'?"
PERSON 2: "No! I have never heard of this phrase you use! Pray tell, what is this 'hooking up'?"
PERSON 1: "It is when a young lady approaches a man, and, after an extremely abbreviated, alcohol-assisted courtship of several hours, retires to a private area purely for the purposes of sexual gratification."

Also there is a delightful passage in Charlotte Simmons which makes a comment about how even professors are wearing trousers made of cotton (!!) and how this is clearly some sort of rebellious fashion statement.
posted by Comrade_robot at 10:59 AM on March 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

One pager
posted by jckll at 11:31 AM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

jckll - Can you make a strong effort to monitor threads like these, and post your magic very early on, before I happen by? KBYETHX
posted by sfts2 at 11:45 AM on March 13, 2009

Um ok.

Also, I laughed out loud at this one particular sentence. Wolfe encapsulated...

Loeb seemed to especially resent these nobs who hobnobbed with other snobs and looked down on the mob from the eminence of their clubs.
posted by jckll at 11:49 AM on March 13, 2009

Shorter Tom Wolfe: Old money doesn't like new money. What a revelation.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:35 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

oh come on. there's some interesting stuff in there:

Paul Tudor Jones II’s status fixation showed up only in the way he literally stole the show that evening—no small feat considering the wattage of the show’s auction celebrities: master of ceremonies Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, and the most prominent auctioneer in the business, Jamie Niven of Sotheby’s.

wonder what they think of jon stewart now? or maybe cramer is just a little guy with $100 million and a TV show and that's why he's getting thrown to the wolves.
posted by geos at 12:48 PM on March 13, 2009

Tom Wolfe thought their predecessors would balk at lying in court, so his idea of what they used to be like is more than a little suspect.

Well, I think it's a little more nuanced than that. Sherman McCoy is only (!) third generation New York, his grandfather being Scots Irish from Tennessee. He is sensitive about not being a knickerbocker. (Remember, Bonfire was about a whole lot more than just Wall Street.)

What has changed is that the men who followed McCoy are not only not sensitive about not being a knickerbocker, chances are good they don't even know, much less care, what being a knickerbocker means. Thus the guy treating the charity seeking matron like a door to door brush salesman, or a young entrepreneur looking for funding. McCoy would never have done that. Nor would have Richard Whitney. Nor, I imagine, would have Bernard Madoff. All three owned up to a fair cop and - not lying in court - pleaded guilty (though of course what was said in camera we may never know).
posted by IndigoJones at 1:26 PM on March 13, 2009

Halloween Jack: "Shorter Tom Wolfe: Old money doesn't like new money. What a revelation."

Tangentially, regarding The Real Housewives of New York City...

I know I've lost some of you. No hard feelings. You can go on to the next comment now.

... a Gawker commenter commented that, on the basis of her work experience in the fundraising department of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, she believed any true society types would shudder away with horror from the company of such vulgarians.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:51 PM on March 13, 2009

I would like to take this moment to urge anyone who works in the web design department for Conde Nast to pull their head out of their fucking ass and set their servers to not automagically go "hey, you're on a mobile device! You want to go to our mobile device portal DESPITE clicking on a specific link! REALLY!"

Because, no, I don't want to go to the mobile portal, I want to read the article. I'm unsure who thought this idea was a good one - they apparently sold it to some newspapers, too - but there's an ax handle behind a woodshed waiting for them.
posted by mephron at 2:43 PM on March 13, 2009

"I suddenly had a picture of the entire astonishing edifice collapsing and modern man plunging headlong back into the primordial ooze. He's floundering, sloshing about, gulping for air, frantically treading ooze, when he feels something huge and smooth swim beneath him and boost him up, like some almighty dolphin. He can't see it, but he's much impressed. He names it God.."
posted by vronsky at 4:08 PM on March 13, 2009

The only New Yorkers more gaseous than Wolfe are to be found floating above the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
posted by jamjam at 4:20 PM on March 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Metafilter: Your favorite New Journalist sucks.
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:38 AM on March 14, 2009

On the other hand, I think The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is by far the best book to start with (and end with after many books between) if you want to understand from the inside out what was happening in the sixties-- really incomparably brilliant and dense with implication.
posted by jamjam at 11:26 AM on March 15, 2009

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