Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Too Big To Fail":"First as Tragedy, Next as Farce"

Having just slogged through Andrew Sorkin's "Too Big To Fail" and caught the HBO docu drama, both the door-stopping book and director Curtis Hanson's very watchable but Olympian film (as in the Mountain, not the athletes) left me a bit cold. Sure, as Alexander Hamilton foretold, large debt and big business were the keys to American greatness. But, of course, the pursuit of happiness doesn't mean everyone will achieve it. So the book's interplay of the mini-biographies of the Wall Street players who featured so largely in the 2008 Financial Crisis, with a single photo of one of those titan's being confronted on the bailout by Main Streeters, coupled with the briefly titled epilogue regarding Wall Street bonuses and the corporation's failure to use the money to loan out, only marginally addresses how the popular wisdom that "the economy needed to be saved and only Wall Street with the cooperation of the American government could do it" by-passes the required analysis that this problematic and, for many (in the short term and for most in the long term), disastrous situation deserves.

As the NY Observer noted today, is Andrew Sorkin "too cozy with Wall Street"?

As philosopher/cultural theorist Slavoj Zizek noted in his book "First as Tragedy; Next as Farce" (Verso books) -- billions of dollars have been hastily poured into the global banking system in a frantic attempt at financial stabilization. So why has it not been possible to bring the same forces to bear in addressing world poverty and environmental crisis?


An interesting analysis of the book and some of Zizek's analysis may be viewed in RSA Animate based on Slavoj Zizek's book, "First as Tragedy; Next as Farce." If you sat through Too Big To Fail, this might also be more than worthy of a look. He may not have all the answers, but Zizek certainly raises many challenging questions.



And, if challenging analysis isn't your thing, and you need to have your illusions reinforced, here is a trailer from HBO's "TBTF":



 

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Current Reading

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