Having a column based entirely on your veiled hatred of one person is not as easy as it sounds. For instance, early on in my tenure as editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper, I got into a tiff with an older and unnecessarily rude, not to mention arbitrarily unfair cafeteria worker, who refused to let me buy an orange juice before class one morning because it was, apparently, “too close to the bell ringing.” Now if there was one thing I knew like the back of my hand it was that there was no rule about not being able to purchase a beverage prior to the bell ringing. After, yes, that would make sense. But not before. So, naturally, I stood there and argued with her and made some really insightful and, more importantly, RIGHT points as to why she should just “let me buy my fucking Tropicana,” to apparently no useful end because the bell rang and I had to go to English or whatever it was (I actually think it was French but who’s counting? Oh, yeah, me) sans juice.
Being prone to hold grudges and, conveniently, without a “Letter From The Editor” for our upcoming issue, I decided to take the withholder of juice to task and detail my experience for the whole school to see. I never anticipated the outpour from the student body that followed: laughs, tears, people coming forth to share similar testimonies based on interactions with the very same Cafeteria Gestapo. So I decided to continue my assault in no less than two more “Letter(s) From The Editor”.
By the fourth go, though I could have continued on pure rage alone (one of the things you should know about me if we’re ever going to live together is that getting between me and my morning orange juice is just not a good idea), I didn’t really have any new material (“And what’s the deal with her flipping out on us when we don’t have exact change? What’s the deal with that?” didn’t exactly make the fridge at home). I thought about trying to start a new fight with her (“Let me buy this muffin, bitch”) but it seemed a bit too contrived even for my low standards of journalistic ethics. Also, my parents told me that my next LFTE had to be an apology “or else” (let the record state that I’ll never try and stifle my offspring’s creativity). I did what I was (unreasonably) told to do, and my Letter following the “I’m sorry” missive was about four minutes not being enough time to get to class.
Seems that something similar is going on over at Slate, Hank Blodget starring as me, Slate as The Lance, Jacob Weisberg as my parents, Jim Cramer as Cafeteria Lady**, and a 2,000 or so word diatribe on past performances as false guarantors of future results as “four minutes is not enough time to get to class” in this scenario:
Although common sense suggests that scrutinizing past performance should enable you to select funds that will perform well, it usually won't. There are some instances in which past performance is a good predictor of future performance: with index funds, for example, or in cases in which a fund's good results are due to low costs. In most cases, however, past performance is irrelevant.
That's the basic gist, just imagine it dragged out for ten-ish more paragraphs (and don't operate heavy machinery while doing so).
Hank-ie Boy, we love you, we're glad to see you're trying to branch out and we’d usually never advocate something so drastic, but please, for the love of god, bring the Cramer Hate back. You know you’re dying to top, “[Cramer is] irreverent, madcap, and, yes, even brilliant, in an idiot-savant, freak-show sort of way.”
(Although we do appreciate the immunity to self-inflicted irony (here’s an example to furnish what I’m talking about: In 2002, Eliot Spitzer published Merrill Lynch emails in which I was “giving radically different assessments about stocks internally than I was publishing publicly. In 2003, I was charged with civil securities fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. I settled without admitting or denying the allegations and was subsequently banned from the securities industry for life.” If you’ve been following the reasoning I’ve outlined today, you will realize that what I’m trying to tell you is that my having done this in the past is no indication that I’ll do it again in the future. Mostly because I don’t think Spitzer was bluffing when he said that if I tried to “pull a stunt like this again, [I’d] be spooning with a guy named Bubba for 10-20.”))
**Don’t even try and stifle the smile that image is putting on your face.
History Is Bunk [Slate]