Time to celebrate. Break out the bubbly, the cheese & crackers, turn on the game, crack open that can of rice beer. And what is it we celebrate? Well. What is about to happen, dear worst-reader, is more than just a new year. To (y)our joy this is a year just like the last and the last before it and the last before it. And what ties every year together? 2016 will bring just as much truth that 2015 brought and 2014 before it and 2013 before it, and so on and so on and so on. Yes, the truth is here. But that’s not what we’re celebrating. No. We’re celebrating another year after another year after another year of avoiding truth. Some like to call it avoiding the mirror. But I’m not one for mincing words–at least like I mince meat. Indeed. And so. We are once again at the truth. It is right in front of us. And do we see it? Of course not. At the least, I, worst-writer, have tried to put it out there. Just have a look here. Yes. I’ve tried in vain to articulate in the worst-way possible anything akin to truth, albeit Tommi’s worst-truth. And what is that truth? Well, it goes something like this: you are fucked. I don’t mean that in a literal way, although for some it would be welcome. No. This form of being fucked has nothing to do with the tingling and pleasure grinding that remakes you, your parents and every other lost soul that has walked this jungle of consume to survive. No. This form of being fucked has more to do with payback, revenge, vengeance. Yet when worst-writing about such acts one can only wonder who is the one doing the payback? Well, the answer is easy because it is yet another part of the truth avoided. For you see, dear worst-reader, the truth is simple. The thing fucking you is the past. And not just any past. It is not an infinite past. It is a not-so distant past that has found a way to rear its head out of its smelly coffin. It’s still wearing jewelry, a necktie and even a pocket watch. It’s tophat no longer fits on its flaky skull, though. But tophats are neither here nor there. Eh? If you haven’t guessed who or what this past is, then I reckon I should just come out and tell you. It is the past of your great grandparents, the near past of your country, where tophats are common place amongst the grinding folk of Greed’s yesteryore. Indeed. For you must realize eventually, dear worst-reader, that the comings and goings of your country–that place you so mistakenly love without condition(s)–is ramping-up yet another assault on you. You know what assault I’m worst-writing of, don’t you? I know it’s hard for you. But you must (eventually) try (to look around). All it takes to wake-up from the dream that is your nightmare is to try (and look around). You will see how and who is fucking you so royally into oblivion. Your sweet-lie that is the middle class has been decimated. The poor have finally washed their last dish–there is no more chance to being a millionaire. (Boy, I particularly loved that lie we were fed: dishwasher to millionaire.) Or maybe not. Yeah. Forget all that. It’s end of year buying season. Go buy something. Or. Maybe. Have a look at the commencement speech above. It’s from the guy who “bet against America” because he was able to see the truth. Yes. He was able to see your truth. He was able to see how (y)our past reared its ugly Greed face and took over everything. Greed is a vindictive bastard, eh! That Greed face told you to buy and buy and buy–nomatter what–and you abided. You bought and you bought and bought more. And when there was no more money to buy with you borrowed and you borrowed and you financed and you financed. And now that the bottom has fallen out and your pants have been hanging at your ankles for so long you can’t tell anymore the difference between penetration, violation and procreation. Yeah. You are fucked. And with that in mind. Even though buying season is almost over, it doesn’t matter. The first thing you’ll do as the year changes to the next is what did previously and what you family did previously. All because you can’t see the truth. Or maybe not. Nomatter. Good luck suckers. Rant on. -Tommi
“When you borrow a lot of money to create a false prosperity, you import the future into the present.” -Michael Lewis, Boomerang
Almost a review of three books. Well, not quite almost. Nomatter.
Informed about the world of high finance and rob-your-soul banking? Me neither. Every class I ever took that had anything to do with business, economics or numbers, I bagged as soon as I could and went about living life as it should be lived. (Without numbers!) Anywho.
Here are three worst-writer recommendations–I think. Well, maybe this isn’t really a recommendation.Whatever. Reading at least one of these books might help if you’ve ever wondered what a CDO is or what Subprime is or if you’d like some insight into the mechanics of what has facilitated the fail upwardness of the grand fiat world of finance we are all now slaves to. For me, the questions I’ve been asking are still open. These books only helped me ask a few other questions. Which is good enough. I mean, that is a form of progress. Or? So, like I said, this ain’t much of a recommendation. Nomatter. These books are great.
The Big Short, Michael Lewis
Too Big To Fail, Andrew Ross Sorkin
More Money Than God, Sebastian Mallaby
The Big Short is the second book I’ve read by Lewis, here a post on the first. Lewis is probably the best writer here. The others read more like text-books. I often refer to the index of Too Big To Fail when I need to look up specific terminology or acronyms. Which reminds me. A great website that goes in this direction, plus a bit of political incorrectness, is:
For those interested, the questions I’m still asking (about high finance) are:
Who and what are bond traders? How do they work? Are they any different than slimy car salesman? And for those that lose so much money on their trades, why aren’t their faces posted in all public places as a form of humiliation? Or better yet, in order to help cover their losses, why aren’t dart boards made with their eyeballs as bulls-eye.
If all money is privately held yet claims to be backed by governments (you know that whole “legal tender” thing) then how come I can’t get the same type of backing when I go to Vegas?
What is it that makes humans worship god and money equally subsequently voluntarily subjecting their lives to a new form of slavery and forgetting so quickly how to laugh at their own stupidity in the process?
This one isn’t quite a question but I’m gonna give it a whirl: The answer to the question regarding how to reign-in the wild-west, winner take-all mentality that is world finance is to address how the mechanics of all this high finance functions and then figure out how those who run the machine are compensated.
Or something like that.
- Subprime lending – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Collateralized debt obligation – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- List of trading losses – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Boomerang by Michael Lewis
What is a boomerang and how does it apply to the problems of a world faced with replacing productivity and creativity with speculative finance? Without looking it up on Wiki, I recall a boomerang being a hunting tool. Aborigines used it to stun or deliver a debilitating injury to their prey in order to approach it and then administer the kill. Obviously there is a political underlying reality to what has facilitated the West’s financial woes but that isn’t best exemplified in a primitive hunting stick that returns if it misses its target and ultimately ends up becoming more a toy than a useful tool.
Today, dear worst reader, we talk about Boomerang by Michael Lewis. And even if it doesn’t matter – and it might not come across that way as you read on – I love this book. In fact, it’s the second by Lewis I’ve read, and I loved the first just as much. He has a knack for writing short, precise books that get right to the point and he does it in a pleasurable way. So. With niceties behind us… Although I try to steer away from being a critic and/or a reviewer, there are a few things I have to criticize about Boomerang. First, to me, Mr. Lewis should stick with calling this book “The Meltdown Tour” like the Kindle edition I have or “Travels in the New Third World” which (I think) is part of the title for the US version. Of course, being the successful writer that Mr. Lewis is also means that he can hop-skip and jump around the world trying to find interesting ways to explain our doom and call his book anything he wants. Yet, I still have to ask: Who would ever think to write something on this subject matter in the form of a travel journal? Great idear, dude.
Even if the boomerang metaphor doesn’t really fit, I get what Lewis is trying to say with it. And, as I’ll explain in a sec, it might be better applied to something/somewhere else. I reckon throwing something into the air and having it magically/automatically return to you is kind of a catcher. It’s just that I think he’s looking for something along the lines of ‘what goes around comes around.’ Or perhaps it’s more like ‘you reap what you sew.’ Nomatter. I simply disagree that the financial woes in our debt ridden western world can be explained and/or understood from the point-of-view that it’s all about something we did (in the past) which is now coming back around to bite us in the ass. Unless, of course, the boomerang worked as it was intended to work. I digress.
The thing that most people miss when contemplating wall street is that the west has replacedidears such as merit and achievement, and if you go even further law, with a new kind of hereditary entitlement. That’s right, I’m referring to the type of entitlement that the Enlightenment tried to get rid of. One of the tricks used to cause this re-establishment of entitlement has culminated in the simple act of commoditizing EVERYTHING. Hence the misunderstanding that there is a wall street and a main street. Wall street is simply the entitlement that all main street is trying to get at. Main street has happily and joyously enabled wall street and I would even go so far as to say that it’s done so more than partisan politics has. Welcome to the new world-order formula of consume equals survive by any means necessary.
Put another way, if you really want to get ahead today and/or move beyond just making a living you either have to be a Bill Gates or a in-the-right-place, at-the-right-time bond trader for a company like Goldman Sachs. The beginning of this new century proves more than in any other time that working for a living, that is, actually earning something, has gone the way of the dinosaur. All that’s left for us now is speculation and debt. And these two things are like a boomerang, I guess. Lewis writes: “When you borrow a lot of money to create a false prosperity, you import the future into the present.” Ok. I guess that’s what goes around comes around. Or? Anywho. Having grown up in this gluttonous do-nothing, achieve-nothing yet get-ahead world (fail-upwards) only one question comes to mind: how did it get like this? The dawn and the hey-day of the industrial era was not about the likes of Henry Ford or Thomas Edison maintaining fortunes by speculating on derivatives that are based on debt that was created by selling-off a nations production capacity. The problem with all this Tommi-contemplation, stirred by Michael Lewis’ book, is that I know the answer(s) as much as I know the nose on my face. Yet who really wants to know noses? I digress again.
As stated, this is my second book by Michael Lewis and I’m digging this guy more and more. Lewis has a unique ability to intertwine journalism with story telling. So. If you want to know how the western world’s debt problems are intertwined with wall street shenanigans Michael Lewis is for you. The best part of it is that you’re gonna get the added bonus of not only having a quick education in the trickery of world finance but also some insight into the character and personality of nation-states that seem to compete with one another just like toddlers in a sandbox where the toys they fight and bicker over are “securitized fish”* and other financial derivatives.
The book has five chapters, each detailing deadbeat countries and their debt woes. Lewis starts his travels with Iceland, then moves on to Greece, followed by Ireland, Germany and ends with California where a somewhat strange but interesting interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger is inserted. The thing that bothered about this book is how Lewis included Germany in his story as though it too is a deadbeat nation. Obviously, all the places Lewis visited have serious debt and finance problems, including Germany. Yet, comparatively, the only one that seems to be able to manage the problem is Germany. So it doesn’t make much sense to me why Lewis didn’t put a little more effort into setting the Germans aside.
Maybe I’m biased because I live here, but if you ask for Tommi’s humble opinion, Germany shouldn’t be lobbed in with countries that are basically nothing more than borderline madhouses (what can you expect from a country (Iceland) that believes Milton Friedman could be an architect of a new economy?) or criminal enterprises (the Greek government). The west has gone through various experiments in economics and politics in the last (insert # years here). As angry as I might be with my choice of expatriation country and these friggin’ Krauts, there is one thing that you can’t take away from the Germans. Post-WW2 Germany is probably the only country that has been clearly run/governed by the word of law like no other country. Forgive me for generalizing here, but Germany doesn’t just interpret law or use law for the sake of providing advantage(s) to politics (government) or interest groups (corporations); all of which is the basis for American’t and other Anglo-driven countries to have such run-amok economies. You would think that some kind of praise is deserved for how Germany, as a country, has conducted itself since the advent of the Euro and the advent of the anglo way of living beyond ones means. While all Anglo influenced countries consume themselves into deeper and deeper holes of credit/debt, I can barely find stores in Germany where I can use my mastercard to buy stuff – and it’s 2012! For reasons too obvious and outdated, people insist on trying to drag down these Krauts or just lob them into the same Eurowasteland pot.
One thing fascinating with this book is how Lewis provides a few short examples of the differences between Germans and Anglos, especially in the realm of world finance. (And this is, btw, IMHO, the subject that Lewis could have gotten into a bit more in order to set the Germans aside.) But all is not rosey. What he fails to say is that, as bad as the “Landesbank” scandals (2008) were, the Germans could never go as far as the Irish or the Greeks. Or does he say that? Yes. Actually he does say that. My bad. He just doesn’t expand on such a revelation enough. He writes, “The Germans took the rules at their face value: they looked into the history of triple-A-rated bonds and accepted the official story that triple-A-rated bonds were completely risk-free.” And then he says, “Others do not behave as Germans do: others lie.” Sure, the Landesbank traders bought into subprime up to the day that the market crashed, making them somewhat gullible, but they did so because they thought they could trust the US, and more importantly, the obviously corrupt, biased and down-right stupid Anglo-driven rating agencies.
Why Lewis fails to differentiate Germany from the deadbeats is not a mystery to me. In fact, it’s one of the reason I don’t watch BBC or CNN anymore. I just can’t bare to hear all this anti-German talk as though it’s the early 20th century all over again. I mean, seriously. Up until WW2 Germany was on the verge of becoming a super power beyond, at the time, anyone’s belief – and we all know what that culminated in. Since then these Krauts have worked their asses off and have gallantly abided by the Marshall Plan and its doctrine of commerce good, war and divisiveness bad. Now that they have given up their beloved Deutsche Mark, even accepted idiotic mafia-like southern Eurowasteland liars into the fold, no one seems to want to credit Germany for actually doing a pretty good job at economically leading this whole mess. Btw, at the same time they also managed to integrate their own deadbeat former soviet other-half into the country. Somebody stand up and say: Alaaf!
So, are people afraid that the world may someday replace English with German? Oh! Did I just stumble upon the answer? The Anglo-fear makes no sense to me – unless you watch the BBC cover the demise and failure of the sold-out British economy. But then again, Lewis says this about Krauts, and when I first read it, I was seriously pissed: “For the Germans the euro isn’t just a currency. It’s a device for flushing away the past. It’s another Holocaust Memorial.” Come on. Are you serious? What do these Krauts have to do? Because of who they are, their past, and how they concurrently conduct themselves, they still must face this level of patronizing as though the sandbox of little children had some kind of scary superman in it that just might represent, at the least, a different way of doing things. Be afraid, people. Z’Germans are coming!
Anyway. I really enjoyed this book, even though I think Lewis is a bit naive and perhaps lazy when it comes to the part about Germany. But what the heck. At least I learned more than I thought I already knew about the gullibility of Germans. This is great read – even if you’re skeptical of the German way of doing things. Write on, Lewis.
- Why It’s Good to Be Michael Lewis — New York Magazine
- Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour by Michael Lewis – review | Books | The Observer
- Book Review: Boomerang, By Michael Lewis – Forbes
- Michael Lewis – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
* “The fish had not only been privatized, they had been securitized.” -Michael Lewis, from the chapter about Iceland and how fisherman turned away from the sea for careers in speculative finance.
Griftopia by Matt Taibbi
In The Beginning
There are two scams in the 1990 movie The Grifters that reveal everything there is to know about how things work–and not just in America but in the whole western world. The first scam I want to worst-write about this day, dear worst-reader, is actually shown twice in this film. I reckon the producers wanted to make sure that this scam was very clear to the audience. The second scam, though, is a bit more complicated and you have to put some effort into the movie if you really want to get what it’s about. With that in mind, let’s start, dear worst-reader, with the first scam.
It all begins at a typical corporate restaurant in what looks to be 1980s LA. In this scene Roy, played by the brilliant John Cusak, shows the audience how to trick a bartender. Using honed eye contact and taking advantage of the busy environment, Roy presents to the bartender a twenty dollar bill and at the same time requests a beer. The twenty dollar bill is lodged but clearly visible between Roy’s fingers. The bartender turns to get Roy his drink. Roy quickly, almost like a magician, switches the twenty dollar bill for a ten dollar bill that was lodged/hidden in the palm of the same hand. When the bartender delivers the drink, Roy maintains eye contact and pushing the ten dollar bill to the bartender who then grabs it and immediately goes to the register to make change. The bartender returns to Roy with change for a twenty.
The second iteration of the same scam happens a few moments later when Roy has gone to another bar. This time it’s not a corporate restaurant but a real dive where the lights are dim and the clientele isn’t so yuppie. Immediately Roy tries to employ the same scam on the bartender. Clearly Roy has lost the edge on this one as he doesn’t maintain the same eye contact as with the previous bartender. Still, he orders the drink and does the switch with the bills. The bartender delivers the drink, pauses and the camera shows us that Roy has been caught in the act. The bartender proceeds to immobilize Roy’s hand, thereby turning it over and revealing the second bill lodged in his palm. Panicking, Roy cannot free himself from the burly bartender’s grasp even though he has let go of both the ten and twenty dollar bills, as if to indicate: here, take it, I’m finished. Then we see the baseball bat and hear a thud as it violently rams into Roy’s sternum.
Before I get to the second scam, allow me to address the fellow that has helped motivate all this worst-writing today. Matt Taibbi got me thinking about my life, the things I’ve seen and experienced and about all the bullshit that I’ve had to consume-to-survive. That, in turn, reminded me of The Grifters. Hence, to me, Matt Taibbi picked the perfect title for his book “Griftopia”. For one thing, the title is like displaying a mirror in front of America. The only problem is, like most things political, social and demographic in my grand united mistakes, actually getting American’s to look in that mirror will require more than a book title. And while I’m picking at the title (which I also tended to do in another post here), I think most American’s have had enough with the “opia” stuff. In fact, I’ll bet a coin that since at least two if not three American generations, having been bombarded with the ignorance of talk radio, infotainment news, and pharmaceutical addiction, they cannot tell the difference between the words utopia and opiate, no matter how you prefix it.
So. I finished Griftopia last night and after a few hours of post-read contemplation, including glasses of red wine, studying all the notes and highlighted text (I read it on my Kindle), I realized that I had just read something unique. And that says a lot since this is the fifth book on the financial crisis I’ve read in less than two years. Indeed. The difference this book has to all the others is the simple fact that it was written by a badass. In fact, it’s written by not just any badass, this is the work of a rock-n-roll badass journalist that America needs more of. Heck, the guy even writes for Rolling Stone magazine. With that in mind, baby, praise be to thumbs-up-yahweh, Marshall and Fender, and music lovin’ motherfuckers! Or. Thank goodness Rolling Stone was able to elevate this dude to where he belongs—especially when one considers where most news comes from these days. Put that together with the frank and no-holds barred way Taibbi writes, and you’re off to the informed races, baby. With that in mind, America, stop being afraid of all the mirrors it’s time to face. Taibbi can help you.
As I said, this book got me thinking—especially about the world I grew up in. For it was indeed a world full of … . So as I was reading this book I got to thinking about those that raised me—or perhaps those I wished raised me. Nomatter. Where are they now? What have they been doing? Are they all still the fun and happy-go-lucky guys that they were then? Are they all still obsessed with coke? Pussy? Making fun of those who are less fortunate? Oh, wait. A grifter is different than a con-man.
According to Taibbi, grifters are now a class of their own. Somehow that doesn’t surprise me. Grifting is considered, by its perpetrators, a calling. And it is a calling that is above most thievery conventions. Luckily, my heart never beat at the sight of a dollar and so early on the grifters (and con-men) that I met, saw through me. I guess, in a way, I was lucky. Seeing through me meant that I was something like a court jester or a clown. That gave way to me being able, at times, to be tolerated and when I was on a lucky streak, some of the grifters even hired me. (Yes, the new class(es) of grifters also includes employer and employee relations.) Anywho. Out of my experience with grifters I offer the following explanation and/or definition. Please hold your salt shaker near.
A grifter is a person that takes advantage of another person by gaining trust. It’s that simple. In that definition also lies the difference to being just a con-man. Surprisingly (or maybe not) when I looked up grifter in the book of knowledge (wiki) I was re-routed to “confidence trick”, which might be a bit confusing because that can also include the term con-man. A grifter is not just a con-man. Let me try to clarify more.
For one thing, a con-man can either steal directly from you (your wallet) or sell you something you don’t need. (Say, I have a this great piece of land in southern Florida). A con-man can also indirectly steal from you. (Praise the lord! Would you like to join my church?) The thing to remember about a con-man is that he usually ends up poor, in jail, lynched or shot. A grifter, on the other hand, will always get away with what ever it is he steals. A grifter fears nothing because the thing he’s after is ultimately not just the act of stealing but also the process of getting in your soul. So keep in mind, modern humanity, the world you and I live in, is the result of the work of a few very special grifters. And this worst-definition… ain’t done just yet.
One of the ways grifters are able to survive as they do is because they have a unique gift. On the one hand, they are really smart. On the other, they do most of their work on the backs of others. Hence, con-men. Now get this. Grifters can see through the bipolar quilt that western society has comfortably wrapped itself in. (Remember, metaphors are smart.) This quilt is made up of two basic peoples. One is the con-man—who we covered already. The other is a bit more complicated to explain, and I’ll try to touch on the issue more in the next section titled “History”. The thing to remember is this: a grifter cannot make it if it can’t get to the soul of its victim. A con-man cannot lick a grifter but a grifter can own a con-man. A con-man is only in it for the doe! Grifters are after something completely different. That secret is basically this: human beings will fill their souls with anything when they are forced to do so. To that there are no exceptions. Grifters know this more than any other because grifters have no soul.
I’ll get back to Taibbi’s book in a sec. I’m kinda on a roll, so how ‘bout this for a bit of worst-history on grifters. Let’s check out exactly where this whole grifter thing started. Grifting was perfected in Eurowasteland during the age of enlightenment. In fact, grifting culminated in the over-throw of things like monarchies, aristocratic rule, incestuous hereditary privilege, etc. Because of this, the kings and queens and the ruling inbreds of Eurowasteland quickly caught wind of how power and wealth were shifting—without them. Subsequently the kings and queens faced for the first time existential questions they never faced before. For these questions they had no answers. They tried to fight back but there was something in the souls of the masses that they couldn’t defeat. Every time a king or queen thought they had captured one of the leaders of this new-soul movement, it turns out that all they got were one of the many con-men. Hence, we can thank grifters for the term: throw them to the wolves.
After a few monarchies fell and others were weakened in Europe, the remaining inbred filth turned to compromise to save their asses. Since grifters aren’t about governing, politics and status, when word got to them that they would be granted privileges and support for taking their business to new shores, they laughed. I guess the idear among those same kings and queens was that maybe, if they got grifters out of the way for a while, it would buy the monarchies some time to recuperate from all the revolutionary damage. Of course, the grifters, being somewhat bored with having brought down so much power, were already on their way to new horizons. And so. America was founded by turning the British monarchy into an invalid and ugly step sister. The French Revolution rid Eurowasteland of the rule of useless eating blue bloods. Others followed. The grifter classes came to be. Welcome to your future, souls. Democracy awaits you! Freedom wraps around you–like a comfy quilt!
Griftopia is another seething exposé that breaks down the impending doom of American’t and its willingness to rely on financial speculation—as opposed to actual productivity—to maintain its status in the world. Of all the books I’ve read while trying to figure out what a CDO is or what a subprime mortgage is or how it came to be that with all its power and wealth, America suddenly had to rely on the whims of idiot politicians and krapp-eating bureaucrats to literally save its ass from a financial meltdown that would have made the great depression look like a picnic, this one takes the cake. Taibbi has figured it out and he’s even provided a bit of insight into to what a grifter nation is. The real shocker of this book is its subtext—which deals with the souls the grifters prey on with so much success. These souls are just like the doomed and defeated monarchists who once could never see the future. Indeed, Taibbi manages to put what must have been a huge amount of research in a few hundred pages and for that alone this book should be read. Taibbi’s style is a winded and he could learn a from the likes of Michael Lewis when it comes to story telling, but perhaps that’s not what Taibbi should be doing at all. What he should be doing is writing more rock-n-roll, kick-ass books about impending doom. I especially enjoyed Taibbi’s explanation of AIG and how they insured mortgage securities and derivatives. The details revealed about AIG are even more intriguing as they involve so much of Goldman Sachs’ everyday business, a company that is so intertwined with the US govt. And Taibbi, in this book, comes through loud and clear about how much contempt he has for the likes of Goldman Sachs, rich-shit bankers and useless, drone bureaucrats. The end of the book did kind of disappoint me though, almost as though Taibbi ran out of gas or something. He tries to end it all by talking about a congressional meeting that took place where grifter bankers were accusing the American poor of facilitating the mortgage crisis. In my opinion, the behavior of Americans and their belief that credit and borrowing is a right, is something that has not been addressed much in any book (I’ve read). Taibbi just wants to bat that issue away. Shame really. And with that, I digress.
The Second Scam
Oh, before I forget. I should probably get back to the second of the two scams from the movie The Grifters (1990) that I mentioned at the beginning. As I said, this second scam is a bit more complicated than hiding and switching dollar notes in the palm of your hand— which does not deserve to be belittled, btw, for it too is part of the making of American’t. No, this second scam has more in common with what the bankers of the too-big-to-fail banks have done to the oh-so willing souls that think they are, even today, still part of the American dream.
In the film, Roy’s mother, Lilly, played by the beautiful and lovely Angelica Huston, is not a grifter. Lilly is a con-man. Since I’m not really into gambling (and my eyes never lit up at the sight of a dollar), I’ll let wiki provide the explanation of what Lilly does as a con-man in the movie The Grifters. “Lilly works for a bookmaker handling playback at horse racing tracks — that is, she makes large cash bets to lower the odds of longshots.” When she’s supposed to be placing those cash bets to lower odds, she gets caught up with her son Roy. Remember the baseball bat incident? Well that incident has caused Roy to require medical attention for internal bleeding. Helping Roy causes her to miss a race. To cover up for not placing the bets at the race, Lilly goes to the track and collects the stubs of those who did place such bets. In short, she tries to cover her ass. The problem is, the odds of longshots were not lowered. Oh, the way she tries to worm her way out of it. Oh, the voices of whining individuals all raised to believe the lie that achievement can be yours, that you can be anything you want, that freedom reigns. And if that doesn’t work, there’s always the cry of the wild in the form of demanding (and getting) a society of entitlements which amount to nothing more than the right to gamble on the backs of others and welfare for the rich only.
The thing to keep in mind here isn’t the mechanics of what Lilly does or the selfishness she considers her right, thereby using her child as her crutch. What one should consider is the truth and how never facing the truth gets people in this kind of a mess. Lilly and Roy represent a large part of the baby-boomers and their children. Neither parent or child can see the truth in anything they do. These are not complicated people, they do not live in complicated places, glamor is their enemy and not their friend and yet they live on the backs of others in a comfort unseen elsewhere on this earth. And I suppose there lies the truth that only a few worst-readers can face. The truth is Roy and Lilly are our own sad ending. We are a grifter nation.
- The Grifters (film) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- John Cusack – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Matt Taibbi – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Matt Taibbi | Taibblog | Rolling Stone