Sunday, January 20, 2008

Stump Speech

WALL STREET, n. A symbol for sin for every devil to rebuke. That Wall Street is a den of thieves is a belief that serves every unsuccessful thief in place of a hope in Heaven.

FINANCE, n. The art or science of managing revenues and resources for the best advantage of the manager. The pronunciation of this word with the i long and the accent on the first syllable is one of America's most precious discoveries and possessions.

COMMERCE, n. A kind of transaction in which A plunders from B the goods of C, and for compensation B picks the pocket of D of money belonging to E.

— Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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Recent readers of these pages will be aware that I have been engaged in an ongoing dialogue of sorts with several market commentators concerning the vexed and contentious issue of banker pay, especially as it relates to the ongoing crisis in financial markets. While tempers may have flared, I do hope that we can quickly move beyond casting aspersions

ASPERSE, v.t. Maliciously to ascribe to another vicious actions which one has not had the temptation and opportunity to commit.

at each other and mutual backbiting

BACKBITE, v.t. To speak of a man as you find him when he can't find you.

about real or supposed injustices

INJUSTICE, n. A burden which of all those that we load upon others and carry ourselves is lightest in the hands and heaviest upon the back.

alleged by one and sundry to have been committed by our fellow participants in the financial economy. For the stakes are high for all of us, not just commercial and investment bankers, to prevent a more permanent and damaging disruption to the economy and the financial markets by precipitate and ill-conceived action in any one area, including that of compensation to investment banking employees and other financial middlemen.

While I fear it may be too late to keep this dispute out of the world of

POLITICS, n. A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

and the interfering hands of that most fearful and meddlesome creature, the

POLITICIAN, n. An eel in the fundamental mud upon which the superstructure of organized society is reared. When we wriggles he mistakes the agitation of his tail for the trembling of the edifice. As compared with the statesman, he suffers the disadvantage of being alive.

I believe I echo the sentiments of many when I say I would prefer a thorough airing of the situation in public to the resolution of our various grievances through

LITIGATION, n. A machine which you go into as a pig and come out of as a sausage.

So, while I remain resolutely convinced that banker pay is far more symptomatic than causal for the bulk of the current problems under which we all suffer, I do wish to

APOLOGIZE, v.i. To lay the foundation for a future offence.

to my various interlocutors for any

INJURY, n. An offense next in degree of enormity to a slight.

I may have caused them with my intemperate language and scathing sarcasm.

After all, I believe a fine Hegelian conflict of thesis and antithesis to be the most effective way for all of us to discover the

TRUTH, n. An ingenious compound of desirability and appearance. Discovery of truth is the sole purpose of philosophy, which is the most ancient occupation of the human mind and has a fair prospect of existing with increasing activity to the end of time.

about this issue, and I also believe it will help us move past this valley of despond on to a bright and shining

FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.
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I thank you for your attention, Fellow Citizens, and I look forward to your vote in the coming primary election.

© 2008 The Epicurean Dealmaker. All rights reserved.