Are you craving some new opinions on the News Beast merger, taxpayer-funded misdemeanor sexual assault, the new books on Keith Richards and Larry Summers, the hedge fund trader’s girlfriend I met on the Acela last night, or Katy Perry? Then enjoy the colorful and probably profanity-laced IM exchange between Daily Baller Mike Riggs and myself, in which we turn out to agree about most things, including that poor cheerleader who was sent home for refusing to cheer on her rapist, or whatever.
MOE: Hey Riggs! Sorry, I was just emailing back Pulitzer Prizewinning journalist Gene Weingarten who emailed me a funny email this morning with an equally funny typo. Do you have any namedropping to get out of the way while I scan the papers for something to mouth off about?
MIKE: HMMMMM. I met someone who just took a job at Fannie Mae this weekend! That’s about as high-profile as it got, tho. I asked him what it was like to work for the most hated agency in the country, and he said, “We’re under conservatorship. That’s not the same as working for the gov.” And I was all like, “So what the fuck does the “g” in GSE stand for?” LOL. What a douche this man was.
MOE: I guess that’s the kind of “talent” the world’s most hated government conservation project attracts…where had he formerly worked
MIKE: Um, I was sorta baked, so I don’t remember. The Fed, maybe? Some part of the government. Perhaps if you’ve worked for a 100% governmental agency, going to work for GSE is like going to the private sector.
MOE: Well they do guarantee like more than five trillion dollars worth of mortgage securities? Which is why the banks can rake in cash mass-foreclosing on properties no one is sure who actually owns, because whatever happens, Fannie and Freddie will cover the losses? So…maybe they get a lot of private sector types sucking up to them, because doing “business” with Fannie and Freddie usually turns out pretty well for them?
MIKE: I would love to have the government guarantee my business! Like, how can you fail when your guarantor is able to print money?
MOE: Oh so last night I’m on the train, and the girl across from me has like, a Macbook Air, and I just got a Macbook Air. (My laptop melted.) And she’s also got the same exact BlackBerry as me, although otherwise we did not have a whole lot in common because like, she had perfectly applied eyeliner and one of those manicures where the nail polish is like NASA engineered and my hands are all like blotchy and raggedy, and then she starts listening to music with those earphones where everyone in a 300-foot radius can totally groove to whatever you’re listening to and she was listening to Katy Perry which I would never do. But anyway, the point is, she told me about her boyfriend, who is 27 and works at a hedge fund and who makes, she estimated unsolicitedly, at least two million dollars a year.
Which I found impressive.
MIKE: Sigh. I love Katy Perry. I have been listening to “Firework” on repeat all morning. So, I think I would like this girl. HOWEVER, I do not make $2 million a year. In fact, I think my full annual salary is less than what her boyfriend pays in taxes! Which is why I am lucky that my girlfriend does not mind me being broke and wearing the same blazer I bought my freshman year of college wherever we go. Maybe when I am 27, people smarter than me will have monetized the Internet, and I will be making $2 mill per annum!
Also, what is this woman doing in D.C.? Or were you in New York? I didn’t think people in D.C. made millions a year. I thought making the big dough was a New York thing? Maybe some finance types have moved down here to be closer to the federal teat? And work in their PJs, just like bloggers?
MOE: No this was on the Acela, ha. Her boyfriend lives in New York, duh. She is a paralegal of some sort. I asked if she ever made him come visit her in DC and she made an incredible face.
MIKE: Incredible like, “How dare you ask that? D.C. is too demure for my honey, who wipes his ass with gold leaf?”
MOE: Just like, “Um, how best to put this…’No.'” I was sort of joking when I asked, because none of my friends in New York even makes the proverbial “six figures” and yet, you know, I’d still rather crash on their couches than vice versa? So here are some topics: Larry Summers actually talked to a “journalist” probably because that journalist is also renowned flack Richard Wolffe, whose new book evidently portrays him as the misogynistic counterproductive industry shill whose de facto Treasury Secretaryship everyone on the “professional aka stupid” left had spent the past two years scratching their heads about. Liz Phair reviewed Keith Richards‘ memoir in the Times book review. Newsweek was swallowed up by a voracious listicle-breathing beast and Jack Shafer wrote about it after consuming large quantities of ecstasy.
MIKE: Oh man. Such good topics! I hate Richard Wolffe like the Devil hates Holy Water, and I haven’t listened to Liz Phair since she wrote that song about facials. Tina Brown is getting ready to destroy another mag. IT’S ALL TOO GOOD! You pick a topic, and I will roll with it like all good homies do.
Actually, fuck it. Let’s start with Wolffe. What did Summers say to him? Oh my god. I am reading this now. Wolffe disembowels Summers.
MOE: Okay sorry, I was reading up on the Keith Richards thing to see if there was anything good, and actually no, Maureen Dowd actually got the point across when she dubbed him a “gentleman pirate” in that exceedingly cerebral column of a few weeks ago…
So yes, Wolffe it is. I know not much about this guy but somehow the thing about forcing Christina Romer to endlessly revise her models (before he forced her out entirely) is um pretty convincing.
MIKE: As a capitalist pig, I like the idea of a progressive president having a business-friendly man in his inner circle. But Summers, it seems, wasn’t just business friendly. Some of the stuff he said was sort of blow-jobby and reality-denying. Then again, how reliable are economic models? Are they more or less reliable, say, than your average mid-sized media market weatherman?
MOE: And he blocked the Volcker rule for months, and everyone knew already that his one most loyal Administration ally Peter Orszag is like, the total wretched opposite of Keith Richards, as a man, and on top of that a tool of the plutocracy, of which he has always been a part. I think you should wait to see your bonus check this season before proclaiming yourself to be a “capitalist pig” but that is just me!
MIKE: Ha. What is a “bonus check”?
MOE: Of course models are imperfect, but things can be tested, things have been done; economists like Larry Summers I don’t think actually believe in economics. They believe in outsourcing, so they outsource all policy to the Fed which outsources it to the banks which do whatever seems to be the most “profitable” until it all goes drastically fucked and they come crying to guys like Larry Summers for a bailout.
MIKE: Guys like Larry Summers give us free market types a bad name. They really do. Every principled libertarian I know hates big business as much as she hates big government. It’s why we all hate Summers. But here’s a new question: If Summers was cock-blocking his White House colleagues from day one, why did he last so goddamn long? Like, why did Obama let Romer leave when it seems clear that Summers was the problem? My guess: Summers has the business ties that Obama needs to appear less anti-business. Or, “had.”
MOE: Re Orszag, I always loved most the one passage in his New Yorker profile intended to cast him as some sort of, ahem, “activist.”:
Orszag, despite his image as a number-crunching technocrat, considers himself an activist. He has always been interested in the intersection of economics and politics, rather than in economics as a purely academic or ideological pursuit. As a high-school student at Exeter, when all his political friends wanted to intern for the liberal hero Ted Kennedy, Orszag went to work for a far less glamorous figure—Tom Daschle.
MIKE: What does that say about Orszag? He is averse to working for drunk murderers?
MOE: I think Summers lasted so long because Obama did not realize what he had gotten himself into. He appointed his buttboy Treasury Secretary to appease the markets and when that seemed to go wrong he was terrified to make any big changes in fear of what the markets would have to say about it. This was stupid, myopic, cowardly and self-defeating but it’s what happened. Summers and Orszag and Bob Rubin and all them have a total corporate welfare wonk cartel in this town and it would have been a lot easier to bust with a more independent Treasury Secretary but oh fucking well.
MIKE: We are slaves to the market! All of us! It’s become the new thing, to say, “Can we/should we do this? How will the markets react?” No one ever says this about ice-cream kiosk operators!
MOE: Well if Orszag drove some girl who was not his wife into a lake while drunk chances are she could also be carrying his child, so the narcissist in him might want to work a little harder to save her even if the penny-pinching budget guy might think twice. I don’t know, maybe we are getting into “offensive” territory here. Yeah, it’s funny that they talk about how the “markets” will react when they don’t actually even know what that means, most of the time I think they are talking about the Dow, which is inane.
MIKE: I don’t understand much of it, to be honest. Don’t all major events have an effect on the Dow? I can’t live my fucking life for the goddamn DOW. I can’t, and I won’t try. I don’t want my government bending over for the DOW either. Speaking of taking things too far, have you noticed the backlash against the Touching Strangers Agency, AKA the TSA?
MOE: Um, you mean this principled young woman?
MIKE: OK, so she’s a bad example! But there are plenty of good ones. Let me check my twitter feed…
And boom: Here’s TSA threatening a $10,000 fine for refusing to get groped (http://gawker.com/5689925/) And CNN is pushing a video of some mouth-breathing TSA agent groping a fucking 3-year-old. They are taking our freedom in exchange for getting on an airplane, Moe! Get angry! Or can you not angry about this stuff? You do direct a lot of your rage at systemic issues (Wall Street, WaPo’s editorial board; meta corrections policies, etc.)
MOE: Well, I think with most women, it’s kinda all relative when it comes to groping. Like, I’ve just been subjected to way worse than anything I’ve ever gotten from the TSA? And also, they never actually stole anything from me? Which stands in contrast to my bank…
MIKE: Yeah, I have been doing some soul-searching re my anxiety about having my dick measured by a TSA x-ray machine. And I realized, women go through this everyday. Maybe not the x-ray part, but men are always undressing ladies with their eyes. NOW I HAVE TO GO THROUGH A FEW TIMES A YEAR WHAT WOMEN GO THROUGH EVERYDAY, and suddenly, I am feeling much more feminist and so, so, so angry.
Also, I think that what TSA does, and what other places do, amounts to a much more subtle (“creeping”) desecration of personal freedom. And that shit is harder to roll back. Also, it’s so innocuous that it’s difficult to make people angry about it. Like, I could never start a Tea Party movement aimed at abolishing backscatter x-ray machines.
MOE: What did you make of this story I am just wondering. Because as a woman who has totally seen it fucking all, this was actually like “damn.”
MIKE: O. M. G. This if horrifying. A woman was scolded by a school superintendent for not cheering for the man who raped her as he was making free-throw shots at a high school basketball game!
MOE: Ha you haven’t heard this story? It’s pretty old, it’s been a big cable news thing.
MIKE: Um, no. I don’t know why this wasn’t on my radar. I suspect that I sort of tune these stories out, because they test my capacity to deal with how fucked up our species is. By “a big cable news thing,” please tell me you mean that the cable newsers are on the right side of history in reporting this one? (Also, I have to run after you respond. Apparently I am meeting a fraternity brother for lunch!)
MOE: Uh, sort of. It’s complicated because it now involves the dreaded “courts system” which conservatives hate bc they just aren’t that into laws. This conservative blogger (who quotes noted white supremacist and ousted Washington Times confederate Robert Stacy McCain accuses the story of being mainly a hypocritical attempt by the Left to depict the GOP as pro-rape when actually the girl’s rapists were like all rapists BLACK and ergo DEMOCRATS.) Ha, and hm maybe your fraternity brother will have some thoughts on this!
MIKE: Oh jesus on a dinosaur, RSM has weighed on on this? DEEP SIGH I need to go eat my feelings. And for the record: I think the courts are OK, as long as they hand down verdicts that I like! ANYWAY. This has been fun, Moe. I am out!
MOE: ciao, Baller.