It stands to reason that one day in the future, historians will use deep textual analysis to look back on what transpired in 2017 and wonder aloud "What the actual fuck happened there?"
From beginning to end, this year felt like an experiment in which humanity took basic facts, ignored them and then just did whatever it wanted. The inauguration of Donald Trump was a perfect start in that its terrifying message of American Carnage™ caused the Dow to repeatedly shudder as if it was having a rolling fear orgasm, and ended with The White House brazenly lying the America public about the objective size of a crowd. And in response to the clear signal that chaos was the new norm, the stock market rallied like it knew something.
All year long we've watched old school money guys throw on tinfoil hats, scrawl messages on sandwich boards with their own feces and take to the streets waring of a market crash to end all market crashes...and yet:
This is the Dow's performance over 2017. It's something to behold.
Let's look at all the great stuff that caused it!
In addition to increased geopolitical instability brought about by a purposefully unhinged new president, the perma-bull market was also "buoyed by" the ongoing death of the hedge fund model, multiple legislative failures on reforms that were "baked into" the market's optimism, rising interest rates, and tax plan that was a comical absurdity, until it became a comical potential tragedy.
And that's not even the good stuff! 2017 had so many transcendently dumb moments that it's kind of amazing we even still have an economy.
There was the wondrous window of time during which Mike Mayo yelled at banks for free, and who can forget when Lyft went the full Faustus and made a deal with Henry Kravis? Dealbreaker lost its favorite Silicon Valley icons this year as both Travis Kalanick and Marissa Mayer were sent packing by Uber and What'sLeftOfYahoo respectively. While Marissa ended up profiting from her own death (because she is an evil genius), Travis stayed true to form as a messy bitch who loves drama. And speaking of messy bitches; remember when Carl Icahn was kindofmaybe doing government work? That also happened this year!
2017 was also the year of the Blue Apron IPO, aka "The public offering that let Pets.com out of financial purgatory." We were hard on Blue Apron in 2017, but in our defense, it proved itself to be an absolutely terrible public company. In fact, Blue Apron's most positive legacy might end up being that it saved us all from a Juicero IPO. Oh...Juicero, you were maybe the most 2017 thing of all.
We also spent this year witnessing the ongoing decline of the finance world's Job; William Albert Ackman. Poor old Bill had another freakishly poor investment year. He started off the year getting pinged by the SEC, watched Carl Icahn triple-down on his Herbalife position for the express purpose of hurting him, saw more leakage on his Chipotle bet, showed up to the Sohn Ideas Conference without an idea, almost got knocked the fuck out by Joe Biden [WE BELIEVE YOU, CHARLIE GASPARINO] and lost a very public battle with ADP. But Bill will soldier on into 2018 because pain is now the only way he can feel. John Cryan knows what we're talking about.
2017 also gifted us with news that Wells Fargo will probably go virtually unpunished for... 2016, basically, and that Jamie Dimon is definitely not prepping a future in politics (WINK WINK).
And speaking of Wall Street icons taking their talents to The Beltway, 2017 was the year we lost Gary Cohn. A once awesome character in our pretend world who is now dead to us. Oh, and 2017 even gave us this incredible malapropism: United States Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin.
To be fair, 2017 is the culmination of a long-term trend. We learned this year that logic truly has no innate bearing on how we think or act. The man in the Oval Office despises objective reality, the majority of market movers have decided to see only rays of sunshine in the creeping darkness, the notion of value has lost its notional value, and we watch in awe as quants play for keeps in the tiny spaces that exist between what is real and what might be. But before we start coming off like a Wharton dropout doing shrooms at Coachella, let's be clear that this diatribe wasn't just bullshit theorizing. 2017 has proven over and over again that we are neck deep in a groupthink flight from the gravity of truth and logic. We are plowing our futures and our fortunes into an economy that makes little sense but feels fantastic.
Oh, you think we're being dramatic?
Happy New Year, you delusional monsters.