It doesn't get any better for fans of moderate to heavy S&M than the caged arena of certain conference calls in this environment. True, instead of tuxedo clad Michael Buffer's trademarked voice, you get a nasally, twentysomething operator who can't get through a sentence containing "forward looking statements" without stuttering, but I think if you just close your eyes and let yourself, "And for our next questioner we have Meredith Whitney from Oh-Pen-Hem-Er and Company" can become "...and in the left corner, weighing in at one hundred and thirty pounds, hailing from Brown University and parts unknown, the Citi Slayer, the Dollar Dominatrix, Meredith 'Markdown' Whitney!" And if you really try, I think you can picture someone pouring glistening oil all over Jamie "The Borg" Dimon just before he steps onto the canvas.
...Mr. Dimon was also quick to state that his bank is not cutting back significantly and said he sees the loan market returning to normal in the future.
Ms. Whitney, who has a "perform" rating on JPMorgan's stock, then asked: "If you really believed that, you would be gunning credit card lines, right?"
"We are not speculators," Mr. Dimon shot back. (No one on the call challenged him on this point, or at least not audibly.) "We are buying slightly more risky assets and we are growing our business, so we are not panicking."
Mr. Dimon continued: "Obviously we are trying to modify what is going on -- we are not going to say 'Yahoo, this is over,' and go extend credit -- like we did -- without fear. If you are not fearful, you are crazy."
Then from Ms. Whitney: "I'm fearful, thanks."
"We know you are," Mr. Dimon replied, his smile coming through the conference call. "We are waiting for you to reverse your position."
A quick reversal. A pin. One... Two...
'If You Are Not Fearful, You Are Crazy' [The New York Times]