Bing Blog

Nightmare on Wall Street


Idea for a terrifying new movie:

Guy has it all. Big house. Big car. Big spouse, but not that big. Two nice kids who go to a big private school. Big dog, even. Every day he gets in his big car and goes to his big, big office, where he trades in derivatives and brunches, lunches, and dines with friends at ratings agencies who love him big-time and give triple-A ratings to everything he does.

All that's about to change.

One day he wakes up and things feel different. The sky outside is crazy black, like the space over the building on Central Park West that Zool visited in Ghostbusters. There are no birds in the trees. He gets in his car and wends his way to his office, from whose windows he can see the whole world. But things are strange. Scary. People are jumpy. The downtown streets are suddenly deserted. The floor of the Exchange is quiet. Something is coming. And it can't be stopped.

His assistant comes into his personal space. She is trembling. A tiny rivulet of perspiration makes its careful way down her usually untroubled brow. "It's here," she says.

And so it is. The Monster has arrived, and is beginning to take its grim harvest. First it kills the derivatives business, snapping its spine as you would a bread stick in a trendy boite. "Aieee!" says the derivatives business, which had the feeling it was being stalked but didn't take measures to protect itself until it was too late.

Next, without warning, it swoops in from Washington and strangles the credit card business, limiting the places it may feed until it keels over, a shadow of its former self.

Then it scares a whole bunch of banks to death. You know banks. All you have to do is say, "Boo." And so it does.

One dark night as the wind howls outside, the Monster eviscerates the ratings agencies, who were asleep in their snug little beds, believing themselves safe. No such thing. Their carcasses are found the next morning, gutted by a host of new regulations.

Finally, in the last act, the Monster comes for our hero. Will he save his family? His Beamer? What will life be like if he cannot defeat the horrid Monster who is intent on avenging wrongs from the sub-prime mortgage crisis?

It all depends on what you think of as a happy ending.

24 Comments Add Comment

Actually, the happy vision I see is the SEC going through Wall Street like Sherman went through Georgia. It has to be the SEC, because the Fed is just a big lap puppy. And Congress, well, money talks and I think I've heard enough.

If I were a producer, I would have to say "Sorry, this story has been overdone. Besides, in horror flicks there are no happy endings."

When I read this, I thought of Godzilla.

And then I asked myself: how are the Japanese faring the crisis?

Aaand...they'd be better off with Godzilla.

...and then the Monster moves on to attack other industries, its voracious appetite sated only after it uses the blunt club of VAT taxes and the sharp knife of regulation to bring the once proud country to its knees.

Can't say that I care much what happens to derivatives other than those that are used for legitimate hedging purposes: a lot of companies use them to manage foreign currency exposures, and a lot of farmers use them to lock in margins on crops at the time of planting.

But I do think that if two consenting adults (or corporations) want to enter into an agreement they should be allowed to do so.

A happy ending?

The monster rips open the hero's guts, making him disgorge all his billions, then gives the money back to all the widows, orphans, retirement funds and 401k's it was stolen from.

Oh, but before that the monster pops the hero's eyeballs out and eats them. Just as an appetizer.

Gosh, a scene like that would get me back into a movie house -- sticky floors, nacho crunchers, commercials, screaming babies, cell phone yappers and all.

Especially if it was in 3D!

Because I was too stupid to invest in gold 18 months ago, I now am forced, purely out of self interest, to root, dare I say, for our protagonist.

Ain't life a bitch?

Come on Royce, roll! Daddy needs a new pair a shoes.

You can keep the rest of the croc.

Some people earn their nightmares. Others have nightmares thrust upon them.

Bing: You might have found a second career in the entertainment business. Good idea for a film, but my concern is that you might be a vaticinator with real vision. There is still time to write a great ending.-Banks could rescue the economy by rolling all credit card debt into 8% 5 year personal loans instead of offering 3% home equity loans. That's a 5 % gain for the banks!

We have nothing to fear except fear itself or the deficit which ever you prefer.

The one nice thing about being low man on the totem pole is: when it falls you don't have far to go to hit bottom.

The rich dress in Prada. the bogeyman wears derivatives.

If you don't believe in them, the power of congress vaporates...or click your heels 3 times and chant "there's no place like fed'.

And they, the people who create legitimate products and services, all live happily ever after. Even happier than before!

I care more about keeping my 1996 Jetta running than our hero's beemer. How about this for simplistic new regulations:
Banks must retain (until paid off or foreclosed on ) 50% of all loans they write.
Stop trading in options, futures, etc.. If you think a stock will go up - buy it. If you own it and think it will go down - sell it. Everything else are just transactions invented to generate commissions or to increase bonuses.
Wall street might become a ghost town, but I will sleep better.

It has just gotta end better than the jobless recovery known as the 'Nightmare on Main Street'.

Twas the night before Blissmess...

ChicagoSail...agreed, as long as the consenting adult with the virulent STD reveals their infectious status to the other consenting adult, i.e. full disclosure derivative nookie.

As in all financial crises through the ages, the ending shall be a happy one: yet another flavor of the "Three-card Monte" will be deployed by Wall Street, the mark's money will start flowing again, the money-mill will come back to fill speed and the Monster will perish in the hungry maw of a Political Action Committee.

This is not science fiction. This is Obamunisn and it's going on now at capital near you. God Help us.

The derivative, hedge fund, collateral debt obligation, and credit default swap beast's voracious hunger and pangs gorge on all known existing and future tenders; especially, legal tenders.

We're all being consumed by this beast. Ouch! Who can stop it!

It's faster than a bullet train, faster than a shooting star, stronger than the lochness monster, we're trapped in the vortex of oblivion! Ouch!

Waking up in a cold-clammy sweat, we wonder, have we been stung by our broker lately?

Only our 401ks know for sure.

Have a good day.

I was simply impressed with the Ghostbusters reference (Bing is dating himself), but, um, yeah! what these others guys say!

Paul, I have no idea what this fine clip has to do with my blog, but I'm posting it anyway because it's so damn good.

Mike, you get my vote for the best comment on this column. Keep it up.

We are not in Kansas anymore, folks.


When I look at anything, I look at it literally and symbolically. It keeps my mind actively engaged.

The Caravan is Wall Street. When Van states,

Turn on your electric light,
so we can get down to what is really wrong,

it's a call for transparency.

The Whiter Shade of Pale deals similarly with self realization,

That a face at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale.

Wall Street cerainly has skipped the light fandango, turned cartwheels cross the floor,
made it self seasick, and yet we,
the crowd, call out for more.

The Hendrix piece, via Dylan, is a naive bit of philosophy; as if these guys are capable of feeling serious remorse for the destruction caused. I threw it in to illustrate a hoping for a regret that is apparently non exsistant.

Your blogs open a cascade of metaphoric relatonships nearly everytime I read them.

This is what was on my mind as I prepared my post.

Since you wrote that, the movie was made. It's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps", of course. You've probably seen it by now.