Wall Street and Stereotypes

As I was discussing the fictional elements of “The Big Short” in a small group, my group talked a lot about how many of the characters in the story are presented as “quirky”, not like how we would imagine someone on Wall Street to be like.  For example, Michael Lewis repeatedly mentions how Steve Eisman, one of the major players in the story is “atypical” when compared to the usual characters of Wall Street.   Continue reading “Wall Street and Stereotypes”

Trust & the Need for Credit (and before I forget to post this…)

Perhaps I’m caught up with the vibe of energy from last week’s class. With that said, I am conflicted with the use of credit. It could be due to the means of not (so far) requiring the need for credit, but or more so to the uncomfortable nature of using credit (if that makes any sense). To be frank, finances bore me, and I mean bore in the sense of sincere disdain for money. I dislike the desire for money, and I hate the necessity of it (says the introspective college kid). I prefer not to dwell so harshly on a current events that relate to the economy, or becoming vexed by the idea of being critiqued for what thoughts arrive into my head, whether they hold any validity or not. That probably explains as to why I’m still apprehensive for the need for education requiring a heavy payment, which to me should be a freely given option if such a tenure can be maintained. I suppose all of this comes to mind due to a close friend of mine referring to the education system as a scam. Albeit a very successful one.

In that instance, a drive for stability – and overwhelming “over-stability” leaves me to wonder how unstable we (as in everyone) really are. This (to me at least) relates to corrupt officials in the bank industry that seem to ignore the risk of financial instability, despite the many signs as demonstrated and later realized in both Inside Job and The Big Short. On Monday, a classmate in our group mentioned the act of trust, which in itself relates back to trusting the relationship between the bank and the loaner. There is a massive bout of instability that kept growing and growing, despite the warning signs of a financial crisis. It leaves me to wonder (yet again) on how unstable we really are. This instance goes in regards to not only the financial system, but the educational system, legislative, and judicial systems (sure, we’ll include the executive as well). Doesn’t this behavior reflect poorly on how we treat the systems that are meant to guarantee, or at the very least, ensure stability? The risk in trusting higher ups to not exploit their position also leaves me to question the amount of deserved credit. I suppose this entire body of contemplation may find more weight when revisiting Roach, primarily regarding the Bodies of Law section. With or without coffee.

Current: Definitions and Cross-Lingual Musings

In class on the 17th, we looked at pictures and articles the Steven J. Baum law firm’s Halloween party. One of the sides that stood out to me (find it here). It says “*!$%^&(  foreclosure! I’m current!!” It prompted me to think about the word current, its interdisciplinary use as well as its connections to Spanish. Continue reading “Current: Definitions and Cross-Lingual Musings”

Humanizing Complacency in The Big Short

Throughout our discussion of The Big Short, we have talked about how Lewis characterizes the bankers who bet against the market in a way that appeals to readers who may feel alienated by all of the heady economic jargon surrounding the details of the housing crisis. The reader can empathize with Steve Eisman’s cynicism after the death of his son, and understand the underdogs Charles Ledley and Jamie Mai and their “garage band” hedge fund. Despite the extensive back stories as well as detailed physical attributes given to the reader by Lewis to make these guys relatable, I could not help but consistently question whether or not their bets indicated complacency towards gross injustice.

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King Lear, “How to Harvest a Migrant Worker”, and Batteries

During the lecture on Friday, we discussed our readings of King Lear and The Big Short, by Micheal Lewis, and discussed how we could compare elements of the books and there representations of power to that of how modern society uses batteries.

I do not know much about how batteries work, but I’ve been thinking about how people use batteries everyday and for many uses, and once the batteries are drained, they are disposed of, normally without any thought of it’s environmental impact. We extract it’s energy, and then get rid of it.

There are obvious parallels we can look at when lending “batteries” as metaphors for actual people; King Lear gives away all of his power and is thrown out into the elements, and Wall Street gives away adjustable rate mortgages to impoverished immigrants as they present themselves as an easy target. There is little-to-no thought put into the future of these people by their benefactors; Roach writes in Echoes in the Bone that “violence is the performance of waste.” (Roach, 41), and, oddly enough, thinking about batteries has helped me analyze that quote a little more.

It will be interesting to see how environmentalism will tie into future readings; the transfer of power within the texts have shown that there is frequently little thought put into the future of their actions, and I can see the housing crisis possibly be a model of what happens when issues are left unregulated and ignored, for example, climate change, or capitalism as we know it.

Scatological Language in The Big Short

As i’ve been reading The Big Short i’ve found it really interesting to focus on the concept of scatology that Dr. Beth introduced us to towards the beginning of the semester. Scatalogical language, as defined here, is obscene language that particularly deals with excrement or excretory functions in a humorous manner. Scatological words and phrases are frequently peppered throughout Michael Lewis’ novel, and I’ve noticed that they often function to drastically change the tone of a conversation.

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“$100 Million- Gets Thrown Around Like it’s Three-Digits Instead of Nine”

During my group discussion today in class, we talked about the fictionalization of the people discussed in this book and how they were more character-like than real people. We found this to be a present theme in our reading of The Big Short so far. Continue reading ““$100 Million- Gets Thrown Around Like it’s Three-Digits Instead of Nine””

King Lear, Rap Music and Talking to Ghosts

“…by the sacred radiance of the sun, the [mysteries] of Hecate and the night…From whom we do exist and cease to be, Here I disclaim all my paternal care…”

The above quote is spoken by King Lear in the first Scene of King Lear when he disclaims Cordelia. In one of our first classes Dr. McCoy said something about how the name “Katrina” held a violent history. I did some research into the origin of the name “Katrina” and apparently it comes from the name “Katherine.” The etymology of “Katherine” is debated but a couple of the possible etymologies directly adhere to violence. One of the possible origins is the Greek word for torture; “aikia.” Katherine was also the name “borne by a semi-legendary 4th-century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a spiked wheel.”

However, I also noticed that the name is thought to have possibly derived from the name of the goddess Hecate. Apparently Hecate was “a goddess associated with witchcraft, crossroads, tombs, demons, and the underworld.” Continue reading “King Lear, Rap Music and Talking to Ghosts”

The Essence of Home

In the PBS documentary The Old Man and the Storm, Herbert Gettridge fights every step of the way to single-handedly rebuild his home after Hurricane Katrina, despite financial difficulty, governmental abandonment and alienating discouragement. But his eventual triumph is bittersweet: his house stands empty and alone in his old neighborhood, devoid of family and community. The schools are still closed, the streets still packed with debris. His wife says the house doesn’t “smell” like home; Herbert misses seeing the neighborhood kids playing outside and receiving visits from family members. Continue reading “The Essence of Home”