As you may have heard, the Democratic National Convention was held in Charlotte this week. As you may have also heard, some people who figuratively work on Wall Street have had their feelings hurt over the last several years by President Obama, who they believe could have chosen his words more carefully when speaking about the industry. Bankers, traders, hedge fund managers, and pissant first-year analysts have emotions too, y’know, and calling them things like “fat cats” really stings, almost as much as the things you don’t say, like “S-U-P-E-R, That’s what Wall Street bankers are” every time someone wins a deal, or just shaking general pom-poms of encouragement in the lobby as people arrive every morning.
So you can imagine that those working in close proximity to the convention were particularly nervous for what brand of emotional torture the administration had in store for them, and came into the week with their guards on high alert. Read more »
Two weeks back, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse perpetrated against young boys, including an alleged incident in which Sandusky raped a 10 year-old in the shower. Since then, even more victims have come forward, and it’s been difficult to imagine how they’re coping, particularly when Sandusky will only admit to “enjoying” young people, with whom he claims he has only ever touched on the leg (though not with sexual intent), hugged, showered and just generally “horsed around.” Beyond the actual victims, which is to say, the people who were touched in highly inappropriate ways by a man 40 and 50 years their senior who was often times naked when doing so, we’ve also heard about the aftermath struggles of others affected (in their minds) by the alleged crimes, such as Joe Paterno, the PSU undergrads for whom getting drunk and watching sports on a Saturday has been ruined!!! and the school store, where merchandising sales have taken a hit.
And yet there is another group of people who, in the last couple weeks, have been overlooked. People who’ve had their entire worlds turned upside down. People for whom we should consider saying a prayer. Naturally, we speak of the legion of Merrill Lynch brokers who graduated from Penn State in the last several decades. How are they holding up? Barely hanging on by a thread here, is how. Read more »
To research his role in Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, Shia LaBeouf spent a good deal of time at John Thomas Financial, an Encino branch of Charles Schwab and Goldman Sachs. It was there he learned how to stick $20,000 in an online brokerage account and turn it into $450,00-ish in a matter of months, wow the shit out of Lloyd Blankfein in the 47th round of interviews, and insider tips for passing Level I of the CFA. You know what he never did? Ask any of the guys he was shadowing about their feelings. Same goes for Penn Badgely, who spent some time on the Citi trading floor to prep for his role as a junior analyst in Margin Call (where he learned that “young traders sport ‘nice clothes that were not terribly tailored’ and that that the term ‘bucks’ means millions”). That’s because these two whippersnappers only care about the surface. They’re not interested in drilling down to the person underneath that suit and the fifties still stuck to your ass from the weekend. One guy who is? Kevin Spacey. He cares, deeply.
“I am trying to humanize bankers,” said Kevin Spacey, the Academy Award-winning actor, who plays a senior trader in Margin Call. “Everyone talks about facts, figures and debt. I was more interested in what they were feeling.”