Friday, November 28, 2008

Tidestemmer - "Symbolic Jetstream"

When I read guys like Gene Fama of Tidestemmer I suddenly suffer from small dick syndrome. Nice work, Gene. Below are two of my favorite excerpts (bold emphasis mine):

"Watching the news, the takeaway wasn’t that the companies were laid low by uncompetitive practices, or that taxpayers were about to pay an enormous sum to keep them uncompetitive. The big outrage was that the CEOs traveled to Congress in private jets. Granted, this was stupid on their part—not because it was a symptom of managerial dysfunction—but because it underestimated the media and government’s tendency to seize on empty symbolism. Let’s look at it in context."

"Unfortunately, this will go down as a chapter in the ongoing narrative of free market greed as the cause of all economic woes. Symbolism works great in movies, where visual storytelling plays on our emotions, but in real life it’s a propagandistic distraction. The line is increasingly blurred for generations raised by MTV and lousy schools. And since news is visual storytelling, the corporate jets handily cast the Big Three bosses as pampered villains—which misses the real story. Detroit was laid low by the very government and unions that now blame “mismanagement” and prescribe more regulation as the solution. Now personally, I’d rather GM spun off Cadillac and closed its doors. There’s nothing inherently better about producing cars than producing other stuff and trading it for cars. But before we turn over more power to Congress to design undesirable cars for a competitive marketplace, we should look at economic reality. Then we should investigate Nancy Pelosi for traveling in a huge military jet on the taxpayer’s dime. When it comes the Big Three, at least we voluntarily decide whether or not to buy their cars and pay for their jets. Until Congress tells us otherwise."