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Banking Porn / February 24, 2009
By Mr. Walker

CNBC Anchor Babe

There aren’t a huge number of constants in the world of finance. First of all, that word, finance, includes a guy sitting in a cube cold-calling retirees while he’s working at Fidelity. It also includes Larry Fink, the CEO of Blackrock, who runs a firm of over 3000 people with (even now) over a trillion dollars of other peoples’ money he’s running. However, there are a few constants. Most of us make a decent living (just so you don’t quit reading, I’m easily in the bottom 25% of this business, I’m a computer programmer at a small fund and they can always threaten to send my job to Bangalore, which the probably would if it weren’t an annoyance to do so). All of us know people who make way, way more money than we do. We’d like to have their jobs. We’re all scared to death we’re going to blowup and go broke.

But what I want to write about today is another one of those rare constants in this business—we all, every one of us, watched CNBC. That might not seem important or interesting, but believe you me it is. I like CNBC for the babes. For a long time Erin Burnett was my favorite. I used to think of Erin a lot, sitting in my cube looking at SQL code on the screen. Here’s her picture. Pretty brunette, lovely blue eyes, went to Williams, which means she’s rich and too stupid to get into Harvard even after three years of Princeton Review classes. On screen she’s the perkier, WASPier, and of course younger version of Maria Bartaromo, the original Italian-as-pesto CNBC ‘money honey’ that most of the over 50 guys in this business think of during stolen moments with the Kleenex box while on the road. My favorite thought about Erin was that I’d be in a club bathroom banging her in a stall, just after we’d both done two fat lines of meth. There she’d be, sweaty and pinned against the wall, knickers around her ankles, with that glazed, euphoric, glassy eyed look that really good speed gives you, and she’d be asking for it faster and harder, while I pulled her hair and my brain smashed into thousands of little meth rock sized pieces. Call me any time Erin, we’ll make it happen.

But as much as that thought makes me happy, the image of me barebacking Erin Burnett in a bathroom isn’t nearly the sickest thing about CNBC. Here’s lesson #1 about investing. If you’re going to make any money you have to have some kind of unusual insight into something, and you’re probably going to have to spend a lot of time doing what other people tell you is stupid. When everyone was piling into Lucent and Global Crossing in 2001, the smart guys who were destined to make money were out buying boring old retailers with business plans and customers, railroads, real estate exposure, and emerging markets. Sure, they didn’t have a good year when the bubble burst, but they didn’t get crushed either, and they weren’t holding companies that were going bankrupt. It is generally accepted, by everyone in this business, that independent, contrary thinking drives good returns. If that’s true, then, the why the fuck to we sit down and listen to the same people say the same things about the same 10 companies all day long? It’s the most hypocritical thing in the world. I suspect most people would see a small improvement in their performance as investors if every morning they took the hour they use to watch Squawk Box and instead read The Cat in the Hat.

But it’s actually far worse than that. It’s not just that CNBC is an exercise in truly counterproductive groupthink, that loses real people real money by listening to what a 26 year old ‘analyst’ from JP Morgan is trying to shove down retail investor throats that day. That’s bad enough. What’s worse is that CNBC has long ceased to be a journalistic enterprise in the traditional sense. Yes, they have reporters and editors and anchors and the various bits of bunting that make it LOOK like a news program. But the traditional job of news, to get out stories of interest to viewers, to find good commentators with competing opinions, to present facts concisely, this is not what they do. CNBC grew up on the internet boom. I remember when it first started out and it looked painfully amateurish, Maria would be reporting before the bell from the trading floor and her standing with the market makers was so low they would regularly bump into her as they went to find someone who actually mattered. With the dawn of the daytrader and the online brokers (who admittedly didn’t screw their customers nearly as much as Merrill did) CNBC became two things. First, a cheerleader for bull markets, and second, a cheerleader for Wall Street.

One would think that having experienced The Great Crash 2.0 and The Night of the Long Knives on Wall Street there would have been some change in what CNBC does. After all, cheerleading stock analysts and recommending good stock picks in this environment would be like Shipbuilders Weekly talking to Joseph Hazelwood on the bridge of the Exxon Valdez about the new autopilot systems on oil tankers. Or at least you’d think so.

Two examples. First, things have gotten so bad with Great Crash 2.0 that even CNBC feels guilty and occasionally has a thoughtful, intelligent person on their show. For example, Paul Krugman sports an imprimatur from both the New York Times and the Nobel Prize committees, so he’s been popping up more often. And sounding a group of measured, sensible warnings. This past week, though, the rolled in the big guns, the Darlings of Davos, Nouriel Roubini and Naseem Taleb. Roubini is an academic economist who has been warning about the world economy for a couple of years. Taleb is a famous author (Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan) who has been trashing the way Wall Street works and how they think of the future for years. It’s hard to explain just how out of place those guys are on CNBC. Think Alien and Predator being the guests on Good Morning America, something like that. They titled the talk ‘Dr. Doom and the Black Swan’ but the graphic repeatedly run was ‘Turning the Corner.’ Neither of those guys were talking at all about a corner being turned. Roubini was talking ‘U-shaped’ recession, i.e. long and bad. Taleb was explaining how doing anything in the current system was folly, since it will just blow up again, maybe worse, sometime in the future, and probably sooner than we think. At the very end they were asked what everyone is asked at the end of a CNBC interview, what stocks should I buy? Taleb seemed so appalled he didn’t even answer, but went on another rant about how the system is fundamentally flawed. Watch here.

Second. on October 16th of 2008 UBS announced that it had taken a bailout from the Swiss government in order to stay afloat. Nobody is ever all that surprised when some part of the US financial system blows up. We do it about every ten years. The S+L crises. Long Term Capital Management. It’s our thing, we’re crazy wild risk-taking Americans. What we are not is Swiss bankers, who are (or rather were) thought of as the absolute smartest, most careful guys in the world. After all, they’re the fucking Swiss, right? Cantons, yodeling, chocolate, banks stuffed with Nazi gold and the ill-gotten gains of Russian oligarchs and Gulf potentates. Those oligarchs and potentates might be evil bastards, but they’re usually pretty smart about their cash so it’s hanging out in Zurich. After forcing a bailout by the government, one would expect shame, consternation, self-examination. One would be wrong. Within a week I saw CNBC pimping some new UBS analyst talking about, I think, European national indexes. I wanted to pick up a stapler and throw it at the TV. HAVE YOU NO SHAME? YOU PEOPLE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT WAS ON YOUR OWN FUCKING BALANCE SHEET! I WOULDN’T TRUST YOUR OPINION ON THE DATE OF THE NEXT FULL MOON YOU SICK BASTARD. However, all was forgiven and the CNBC anchors cheerily talked to the shame of the Swiss banking system prattle on.

Erin and I are through, by the way, I’m a Becky Quick guy these days.

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Add your own

  • 1. Baked Dr. Luny  |  February 24th, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Gut geschrieben, Herr Walker. These guys should all be bankrupt right now and we should hand finance over to the stoners and acid freaks, talk about unusual insights…

  • 2. Baked Dr. Luny is a Nigger  |  February 24th, 2009 at 11:21 am

    The poster above is a nigger, who will hopefully have his scorched eye sockets fucked out by a rabid bull.

  • 3. Jim  |  February 24th, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Discover the Austrian school of economics, my friend. The truth will set you free.

  • 4. Pablito  |  February 24th, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Nice video link. We definitely haven’t hit bottom yet. But Paul Krugman is a joke btw, he’s just a cheerleader for the administration.

  • 5. Steve  |  February 24th, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism is my lady now. There are hotter chicks out there but this one is smart and calls it as she sees it. Invest in rice, beans, guns and lots of ammo. This collapse has made realize what a bunch of worthless, stupid fucktards we have for our masters. What does that make us?

  • 6. Anon  |  February 24th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Wow – what a video. Two people worth hearing and a pack of arrogant fools talking over them.

  • 7. CeaseToExist  |  February 24th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    The bovine stare and braying of that goon who asks Taleb for stock tips is absolutely hilarious. It’s as if some oblivious prick walked up to Klaatu in the middle of the ultimatum speech in “The Day the Earth Stood Still” to rub his genitals against his saucer.

  • 8. Tate Labianca  |  February 24th, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Man… you guys are getting plain ol’ nutty with the pseudonyms these days, huh?

    Pretty soon, you will be crediting articles to A. Hole, Johnny Flapjacks, Fucker McFuckHead and the like.

  • 9. Doh!  |  February 24th, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    #2, why do KKK members come to this website? Why? It’s such a nice website.

    Also, people who watch TV for clues on how to set up their 401k are dumb fucks. Don’t get your financing info. from the TV. That’s the same TV that led Americans to burn billions in Iraq. ROFL.

  • 10. Baked Dr. Luny  |  February 24th, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    You, sir, are a cunt!

  • 11. Doh!  |  February 24th, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    At least I’m not a baked cunt.

  • 12. Baked Dr. Luny is a Nigger  |  February 26th, 2009 at 3:22 am

    This is more like it, gentlemen.

  • 13. vsemotocikli  |  April 3rd, 2009 at 5:30 am

    I’m addicted to your website, even if I don’t understand a single word of it.

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