I have not had time to look at the final document. By the time you read this, several more crises will doubtless have erupted, driving the United States further into the hands of once passÚsocialist weirdos and commie punks.
But ... instant analysis being all the rage these days on the TV news channels, here is some.
One item contained in the bailout package struck me very strongly. Apparently, from now on Wall Streeters must have caps. By caps, one assumes they mean baseball caps, which is what everyone wears on Main Street, that in-vogue style arbiter.
The baseball cap has achieved a hegemony unparalleled by any garment since the invention of underwear. These days, you can hardly call yourself a man if you don't wear a baseball cap, indoors and out. It is considered patriotic to wear a cap in the shower, and while asleep.
Certain elements of the community enjoy wearing the cap backward, sideways, or at rakish angles. This simultaneously signifies their rebellion against the system and their conformity. Also, their cowardice in refusing to wear, say, a trilby or a panama or even--Heaven forfend!--go hatless.
John F. Kennedy suspended the constitutional requirement that all men wear a hat, but it has since been reinstated. Wall Street has for some time been the most notorious enclave of the bare-headed. On any given day, one might see senior executives walking about the urban landscape without so much as a Yankees cap on, let alone a cap with beer cans and tubing attached. Many of these individualists also shun the $6 bottle of water as they make their way about the Street of Shame. No wonder the economic system collapsed!
Well, those days are over. Requiring all executives to wear baseball caps, the so-called "Pelosi amendment," will doubtless bring back the can-do attitude that once ruled the roost in New York's money capital.
Where financial types in London were once identifiable by their bowler hats, and pimps by their wide-brimmed Fedoras, no such stereotyping is now possible. When you see a man in baggy jeans, sneakers, a T-shirt and a baseball cap, he will be either an escaped criminal or the Treasury Secretary, or perhaps both.
MARX MY WORDS
For too long, apparently, the individual has run roughshod over the American dream. What is needed now is sameness. If we all look the same, we will all be the same. If we are all the same, then no excesses such as those that have dogged the global economy will be possible. Our very fungibility will protect us from each other. Karl Marx rules.
Of course, wearing baseball caps all the time will damage the shampoo and conditioner industries, perhaps fatally. Barbers will become endangered. The manufacturers of sunglasses will likewise suffer. But our lives will be better because ... oh, wait a minute. Just let me turn the news up a scoche.
Aha. I was wrong. Not everyone on Wall Street has to wear a cap. The cap is on salaries, so it'll just be the people who prepare payroll checks who have to wear baseball caps. Sorry about that.
Still, better instant analysis than no analysis at all, eh?
ROGER CROMBIE is a Bermuda-based columnist for Risk & Insurance«.
November 1, 2008
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