Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Matt Taibbi on "everyone else was doing it"

Taibbi's article on Goldman Sachs has been getting a lot of attention. Today, he struck back at some of his critics in a most excellent fashion:

. . . even if it is true that “everyone else was doing it”: so what? Who cares? To me this response is highly telling. We published a piece accusing Goldman Sachs of systematically ripping off pensioners and other retail investors by sticking them with rafts of toxic mortgages it knew were losers, of looting taxpayer reserves to cover its bad bets made with AIG, of manipulating gas prices to massive detrimental effect, of helping to explode an internet bubble that caused over $5 trillion in wealth to disappear, and numerous other crimes — and the response isn’t “You’re wrong,” or “We didn’t do that shit, not us,” but “Well, Morgan did the same stuff,” and “Why aren’t you writing about Morgan?”

Why didn’t we write about Morgan? Because we didn’t. Because it’s your turn, you assholes. Maybe later someone will tell the story of the other banks, but for now, while most ordinary people are only just learning about the workings of the financial innovation era that blew up in their faces last year, the top dog in that universe is going to be first in line to get the special treatment. That might be inconvenient for Goldman, but it doesn’t make the things I or anyone else say about them untrue.

I find Taibbi's analysis uneven sometimes, but his writing and reportage are consistently excellent, and you should be reading his blog if you aren't already.

1 comment:

  1. I can't comment on your excellent post about the "Happiness Paradox" due to age, but I've been thinking along the same lines. I've come to the same conclusion as you did then, that many conflicts are false dichotomies.

    It's tricky to talk about happiness because it's so ill-defined, but I do believe there's an enduring sort of bliss distinguishable (at least somewhat) from transitory stimulus-based happiness... whether it's possible to stay there permanently, I don't know (and doubt). But anyway, I find the way that I can best feel this is by resolving such paradoxes. This is the purpose of koans, I think. It's funny that everyone's heard of them, but I don't know if I've ever seen any research into the possible neurological impact of pondering and resolving koans. I'd love to see data on that, because "solving" such a paradox does seem to make a notable difference in my thinking from that point onward, at least about that particular subject.