Plus those guys on Wallstreet don't do a great job of promoting the interesting side of the industry- all that swearing and bidding and sweating... A friend's dad once told me that on the day his wife gave birth to kid number 3, he lost $9 million of a client's money and was so deliriously distraught that he puked and passed out in the bathroom and didn't wake up till the janitor found him that night and the kid was already born. Cherished memories.
Anyway I'm admitting this deficiency in my knowledge base for two reasons:
1. As our nation plummets even deeper into what would be a comedically meteoric clusterfuck if it weren't going to screw over everyone in my generation while all the idiots who at fault are contentedly dead, it seems prudent to be informed and
2. I'm guessing most of you out there don't understand every in and out of the market either. It's big and numbery and, until recently, didn't seem to have a huge impact on day to day life if you weren't a high-rolling coke-snorting Rolex-wearing Wallstreet guy. And frankly, it seems to me that a lot of those guys are in those jobs at least partly due to the fact that it's easier to talk to numbers than to other humans. Maybe if you make enough monkey you can buy some friends...
But as I'd like to be the ultimate crunchy hippie whose ideal form of currency is macrame bracelets and hugs, I realize that finance is not all numbery drivel, and that even if it is, it's important to start getting real and getting informed. I went to the bookstore today with my brother to pick out something to inform me investment-wise, became achingly bored in 2 minutes, then wandered into the children's section in search of a colorful remedy where I came across this...
Reeeally? I mean Barack seems like a good guy, but does his story really merit shelf-space next to my beloved childhood One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish? It freaks me out to think that our political system has become so reductive and polarized that candidates are either evil scum or the Harry Potter of politics. Then, not to be outdone, I find the republican counter...
Can you believe this shit? A children's book which features a whole four page watercolor spread of a guy in a cage being tortured for five years?! Who the hell would buy this?
And, more importantly, where is the middleground? Neither men are complete saints, and canonizing them in children's books is a perfect example of how we're cultivating a nation of followers who don't look beyond the myth to demand the fact. If you want to read to your kids about Jesus or Moses or Santa then fine, but don't start shoveling pagefulls of kiddie-propaganda down their throats about real people who deserve critical, sophisticated analyses.
In such a black and white media circus it's easy to get caught up in absolutes. I've had to remind myself often that I can't constantly defend Obama just because he's not McCain- there are thousands of Obama quotes and interviews and policies which I know nothing about, and if I support him just because of who he is instead of what I know to be truth, I'm no better than the mindless Bush devotees who I've criticized so fervently in the past.
I think that especially in the face of such unprecedented economic turmoil it's important not to get swept up in Obama-Mythology. He's just a guy like the rest of us with good and bad qualities, and if we mentally bestow him with every positive attribute from MLK to JFK's, we'll be as disappointed and disillusioned as ever.
Plus, our generation cannot afford to be uninformed... we can't accept the children's book watercolor version of politics, economics, or anything we care about for that matter. Thoughts? Suggestions? What do you feel uninformed about? Maybe we can do some virtual fact networking. And maybe if you're not as mathtarded as me you can explain how all of a sudden the entire economy can go tits up in one night like a tipsy sorority girl in stilettos? Keep me posted.