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This American Life walks into a bar…

What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine too. See how that works? Wahhh!

…on Wall Street. What they hear and record there will make you so angry you’ll want to march to lower Manhattan and have it out with the most arrogant assholes in the country, possibly the world.

The podcast version, titled Crybabies, is a must listen. The good stuff is in the introduction and the first act. To summarize the WATB’s lament on Wall Street: they are soooo put upon, they get blamed for everything they do. But the truth is, as THEY see it,  they are simply smarter than you. They’re smarter than 95% of Americans who were too stupid to not suck off the taxpayer teat when they had a chance.

Yup, that’s really what they think. If you are a hard working American, no matter what your education level is, and you were laid off as a result of the high rolling ways of these selfish jerks, well it’s because you had the DNA to encode for a conscience and they didn’t and the environmental stress called for cold blooded killers and they won. They WON, you suckers. So don’t pick on them for being greedy. Their feelings will get hurt.

You have to listen to it to really experience the contempt these bastards have for the rest of us. Get your whetstone ready and sharpen your pitchforks.

By the way, the Wall Street bar scene was narrated by Adam Davidson.  Yes, THAT Adam Davidson who couldn’t understand why Elizabeth Warren was obsessed with struggling middle class Americans when the *serious* people were trying to save the only thing that really counted- the banks.  Do you get it now, Adam?  You’re not in their league.  They think you’re a stupid sucker.  You work for Public Radio, fergawdsakes.

Host Ira Glass analyzes the Delaware Senate campaign of Christine O’Donnell and explains why the Democrats self-pitying whining about the mean Republicans isn’t working.  We seem to be on he same wavelength.  Democrats are pathetic.

One of the best podcasts I’ve heard in a long while.  Don’t miss it.

60 Responses

  1. Eat some raw meat this morning.

    • Wow, RD. I just listened to the podcast. I’m not really surprised, but to hear these jerks say these things is stunning.

      The most stunning part of it to me is the realization that they are truly stupid people. Stupid, superficial, and repulsive to anyone with a shred of common decency. That is the kind of behavior that our sick society rewards.

  2. It’s contemptible.

    But it’s not only Wall Street. This is a problem pervasive in America right now.

    It’s true of the media for sure. And also of higher-ups in many profitable industries like oil and pharmaceutical.

    • And Congress.

      John Kerry mentioned the other day that the only reason the Dems/Obama are having problems now , is that the public is poorly informed, prefering “slogans” to facts.

      “Yes we can!”, anyone?

      • Yes definigely Congress!

        I think it’s not the place so much as frame of mind, and I think the increasingly pervasive American frame of mind today is Superior Victim. “I’m better than you but I’m so put-upon.”

        One of the guys in that podcast said something that I’ve been pondering a while, that poor people tend to complain less, the more privilege and advantages one has the more one complains. But I’ve noticed that plenty of “poor” people have the Superior Victim attitude as well. Then I think about being “poor” in today’s America, and how it’s changed over the past half-century, where more and more “poor” people seem to have a priviledged and entitled frame of mind, which maybe comes from the way some American poor are poor — with TVs and ACs and cell phones, cars, etc.

        I’ve been reading Patti Smith’s book about her and Mapplethorpe, “Just Kids,” and one of the things that interests me about it is how they’re poor starving artists in late 1960s New York City. And I mean that: how they’re poor. Being poor, to them and the poor around them, meant they had nothing, often getting food from bakeries or diners throwing it away. Not that nobody in America is poor that way today, but for a lot of America’s poor the very nature of poverty has changed and with it their attitude about what they “deserve.” I guess I’m just saying the Superior Victim attitude isn’t so much about where you are or how much money you have but about your relationship to your circumstances and what you believe you deserve or are entitled to on a variety of levels.

        • Well said.

          To think that John Kerry, with his trust funds and his French villa and his yachts, has any understanding whatsoever of what the “little people” (serfs, to his class) are going through, or that he has any understanding of what they do or do not “understand,” or that he thinks he even GETS to comment on same……

          Makes my head explode. It’s astounding how arrogant he can be. Or stupid. Pick one. GAWD

          • Can’t stand John Kerry; can’t believe I ever voted for him, felt so crummy doing it; so glad I’ve stopped feeling obligated to vote for a Democrat.

            People like John Kerry can’t understand what groundlings go through because subconsciously they don’t WANT to understand it. And there’s a lot of that going on in Washington, on Wall Street, in MSM.

          • Yup. Great comment!

      • What a dumb a$$, I could not believe he said that.

  3. I always loved This American Life. This story reminds me about the admonition Obama was supposed to have made to Wall Street while shoveling our tax money to them: “I am the only one standing between you and the pitchforks” As usual, everything was viewed in terms of PR.
    Today’s tabloids

    • Well, now we know where they hang out.

    • Whining is straight up political death…who in god’s name wants to listening to whining ” leadership? much less follow it ” And if you can’t fight for yourself , how can you fight for me? The Clinton’s have always shown respect to and asked for support from the American public….one of the reasons their own pity party dislikes them…until they need saving of course.
      Then Bill and Hill get a whiny phone call.

      • Although GHW Bush’s presidency is looking better because W was so much worse, he whined. One term.

      • I don’t know how they put up with it, personally.

        • they stand it because they are boomers who never lost the idea that they could, by serving, make lives better.
          I remember, right after the “impeachment” of Clinton, he gave the SOTU address where republicans were looking miserable and sitting on their hands. He joke with them asking if they weren’t going to give him even a little applause. I was so astounded. Here is a man you can not knock down and his wife who you can not knock down..they are like weebles. But they also do not carry a grudge, at least not to the extent that it gets in the way of doing what they believe must be done.

  4. Yup, that’s really what they think. If you are a hard working American, no matter what your education level is, and you were laid off as a result of the high rolling ways of these selfish jerks, well it’s because you had the DNA to encode for a conscience and they didn’t and the environmental stress called for cold blooded killers and they won. They WON, you suckers. So don’t pick on them for being greedy.

    And this is “civilization”? I
    It’s more like the “archaic” definition of civilization, which is “the act of making a criminal process civil.”

  5. Are we seeing the beginning of the Peasant’s Revolt 2010? I guess it past the beginning and in the exponential growth phase.

  6. Listening now. I was turned off listening to the founder of Journolist. But he was right about GOP being way better than the Ds at turning tables (thinking now of Gore being ridiculed for “inventing the internet”)
    In the Wall Street segment – I believe you have to have a certain psychological make-up when you pursue money obsessively at the expense of anything else in life. The sense of entitlement is a must. I knew such a person in my life. At the drop of the hat, he had a long list of my mistakes, faults that got whipped up at the slightest reproach for anything. (and it was constantly revised and refreshed)

    • Survival of the fittest – the Darwin + handouts philosophy of the “free market”. Or socialism for millionaires.

      • Exactly : Survival of the fittest…until oops! they need a bailout lol!

      • That stood out for me, as well: Survival of the Fittest.

        That’s social Darwinism and is a core belief among libertarian supporters–little to no government, stripped regulatory requirements, the Wild, Wild West, where a man or woman’s value is equal to their wealth and the size of their gun. You add that view to the authoritarian edge of extreme Christian morality and you begin to see what Republicans are pushing right now, how they intend to “save the country.”

        Not pretty.

        Unfortunately, the Dems have totally lost the message and allowed the opposition to define the Democratic party in terms of socialism and/or Marxism, the biggest joke around.

        That responsibility for a garbled and inconsistent message belongs at the feet of Barack Obama and his handlers. They’ve messed the messaging up so much that I’m reading post after blogpost empathizing with the very Robber Barons and crooks who brought the country to its knees.


        And yes, socialism for millionaires. And the rest of us? We’re just not smart enough.

    • Great post, Riverdaughter! The audio is a great find.

      Edgeoforever, you have my sympathy, but you are fortunate you know only one such person. I know a lot of people who feel they are entitled. And if you ask them, they will tell you that they are smarter — and some will even say “better” — than other people. Therefore, they deserve the best; others deserve the leftovers. Most, but not all, went to Ivy League schools. (I know others from such schools who are totally different, however, but they have strong characters.)

      There seem to be sub-cultures in America (at least) which promote this school of “thought.” Some med schools, some colleges, some portions of some professions — I think it is a form of tribalism. And people who think this way, promote younger people in their field who also think this way. And so they perpetuate the culture.

      Sad, really. And troubling for America, as these people have so much power.


  7. I will check out the podcast, thanks RD. I really enjoy This American Life.

    OT link. Obama’s strategy? To get out there and hold the ‘biggest campaign rally since 2008?’ Will someone please tell him the Hope train has left the station?

    Poll: Rocky road seen ahead for Obama

    A significant majority of voters are considering voting against President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, expressing sour views of his new health care law and deep skepticism about his ability to create jobs and grow the sluggish economy, according to the latest POLITICO / George Washington University Battleground Poll.

    Only 38 percent of respondents said Obama deserves to be reelected, even though a majority of voters hold a favorable view of him on a personal level. Forty-four percent said they will vote to oust him, and 13 percent said they will consider voting for someone else.


    • He is pretty much down to the backwash – to use Colbert’s joke about W:

      Sir, pay no attention to those who think the glass is half empty. There’s still some liquid in that glass is my point. But I wouldn’t drink it. The last third is usually backwash

  8. RD,

    That 95% bit was uttered by Arnold but when the Republicans were busy trying to Amend the Constitution for a ‘FOREIGN’ born Arnold bought the rights to the film and the press forgot all about it.

    Funny, how the Republicans were willing to Amend the Constitution for a foreign born Austrian to be POTUS, but are hoo haa about farm workers.

    • Wendy Leigh, who wrote an unofficial biography on Schwarzenegger…Leigh portrays Schwarzenegger as obsessed with power and quotes him as saying, “I wanted to be part of the small percentage of people who were leaders, not the large mass of followers. I think it is because I saw leaders use 100% of their potential –I was always fascinated by people in control of other people.”

      This was the source:


      PRESIDENT Schwarzenegger?

      With each day, those words sound increasingly plausible. The governor’s supporters are running commercials calling for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would allow foreign-born citizens to hold the nation’s highest office. Republicans have launched the effort on Capitol Hill.

      In Washington, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a close Schwarzenegger friend, were the first in the congressional door to tout the amendment change. Hatch’s “Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment,” would allow a person who’s been a citizen for 20 years and a resident for 14 to be eligible to run for the presidency. Schwarzenegger easily qualifies on both counts.


  9. Baby girls are being killed so their poverty-stricken parents can avoid paying large dowries when their daughters eventually marry.

  10. OMG, that podcast made me so angry. Good thing I wasn’t in that bar, because I would be in jail charged with assault. I would have to punch that guy. I wouldn’t be able to control myself.

    • The interesting thing is that this group is the closer to the Republican Party, but with President Obama in office asking the Republican Party what they want, the Bush II control of the White House continued and our Civil Liberties continue to suffer too.

      Do people really think all this mess just started in the last 20 months…? The GOP was there pushing President Obama into giving Wall Street the Bail Out without any written policy as to how the funds were going to support the working folks. Obama still believes in the myth of ‘Trickle Down Economics’ which NEVER reaches the working folks.

      NOW the GOP has the FIRE PELOSI BUS TOUR http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMMj7zLcyGo
      with Chairman Steele traveling on it, putting ALL the blame on the Democrats and the Democrats don’t even have a response…because President Obama is probably wondering or asking the GOP what they want…

      • Oh, my, Woman Voter — you nailed it. The Democratic Party is only beginning to realize what a disaster is coming on election day. The party has no response because the party has no leadership.


      • “Do people really think all this mess just started in the last 20 months…? ”

        That’s exactly the meme Republicans are pushing and that voters are slugging down with abandon. It’s as if the 8 years of Bush&Co never happened. But the Dems controlled Congress for two years during that time, they will argue. Ahhhh, but the Republicans ruled the whole shebang for six, during which we had 2 unfunded wars, a tax cut, a costly and unfunded drug program, Wall St. anarchy and increased deregulation. The only thing that didn’t fit the plan, is the economy came unglued while Bush was still in office.

        You have to hand it to the Republican establishment: their propaganda machine is wa-a-ay better than the Dem’s. And Obama? His hero is Ronald Reagan. What could go wrong?


  11. Riverdaughter:

    If you are a hard working American, no matter what your education level is, and you were laid off as a result of the high rolling ways of these selfish jerks, well it’s because you had the DNA to encode for a conscience and they didn’t and the environmental stress called for cold blooded killers and they won. They WON, you suckers. So don’t pick on them for being greedy. Their feelings will get hurt.

    It’s so great to have you back, RD, with your mojo intact.

  12. I am not surprised. It’s not hard to encounter their attitudes of smugness, superiority and ingratitude in so many young guys, not just Wall Street investors. Just walk down the street and talk to any whiny suburban twenty something stoner who cannot find a job and is living with his parents. He was raised to believe that he owned the world as a white guy, and now women mostly dominate the workforce and get paid 25% less than them, and they barely complain. What gives?

    As Billy Shakespeare said:

    I hate ingratitude more in a man then lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness or any taint of vice whose strong corruption inhabits our frail blood.

  13. The Seven Deadly Sins keeps popping into my head the past couple of years. Over the centuries there have been several lists of the Deadly Sins, and in almost every list Pride, or hubris, is the most serious and the root of the rest. A person’s feeling or belief that he’s more important or attractive than others, excessive love of self, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, this is Pride; Dante defined it as “love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one’s neighbour.”

    • I haven’t followed this. Pride or hubris tops money or greed?

      Perhaps greedy money grabbing tendencies are more predictable and less personal. Pride and hubris (neighbor disdaining) may be more erratic and personal.

      • I think the idea is Pride is the seed, and from that greed can easily grow.

        In other words there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make a profit, to succeed, to earn the money to pay for nice things you want for yourself and those you want to share it with. But Pride can mutate the ability to make that money into greed.

  14. There seems to be a rash of cognitive disconnect alive and well in the US. How else can you explain why public servants who routinely offer up “who could have imagined” as their excuse du jour on why they failed to take into account a problem as “better informed”? How else can you explain why anyone would think their particular intellect is worth hundreds of times more than the average persons and therefore they deserve hundreds of times more and tax breaks on that wealth as well?

    I sure wish humbleness could be taught because there definitely is a need for it to be taught.

    • Well the way you teach the opposite of humbleness is raising children contstantly flattering them, indulging them, giving them unearned trophies, telling them “good job!” when you really mean “good for you for trying!”

      • IMHO, it’s not that simple. Doing some of those things for kids when they are very young will help them get off to a good start in life. Small children should be praised and reinforced in other ways for small victories.

        I think that much of what children learn is from observation–of their parents and peers. Most likely these jerks had role models who felt very entitled and behaved in the ways these Wall Streeters are now.

        • I agree with your first paragraph. For instance I said,

          giving them unearned trophies, telling them “good job!” when you really mean “good for you for trying!”

          I think acknowledgment, positive reinforcment, for actual victories is wonderful, along with encouragement for pursuing interests and making an effort. It’s the unearned part, the praise for existing or shallow appeal rather than for achievement that I think grew into this, “You’re so lucky I’m here and I don’t owe you or anybody anything” attitude. The notion that each of us is special somehow morphed into “my buds and I are better than those people over there and if you don’t unconditionally adore us I don’t know what’s wrong with you.”

          As for your second paragraph, I don’t know. I mean your role model point seems well taken but I kind of see them as having been raised by somewhat disillusioned dreamers-turned-workers who adored them too much and taught them their $hit don’t stink.

          • yes, agree, real self worth comes from real accomplishment.

          • Yes, I agree with you mostly, but very small child (under age 5) are quite limited in their capabilities–both cognitively and physically. I just think it’s important for parents to understand that and be realistic in their demands. Many parents actually demand more than their kids are developmentally able to do.

            I also believe in unconditional love. That does not mean you love everything the person does–just that your love for them is not suddenly going to be taken away because of something the do or say, or because they can’t get straight A’s, for example.

            Studies show that children learn much more from watching what their parents do rather than the parents’ words. It supports the old notion “Do as I say, not as I do” just doesn’t work. Parent have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

            Sorry, I’m pretty passionate about this, since I study child development.

  15. Speaking of Stephen Colbert, looks like he pissed off the House Majority Leader.

    An irate House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on Sunday that comedian Stephen Colbert should not have appeared before a House subcommittee last week, blasting the move as “an embarrassment.”

    “I think his testimony was not appropriate. I think it was an embarrassment for Mr. Colbert more than the House,” Hoyer said during an on “Fox News Sunday.” “It was not appropriate… What he had to say was not the way it should have been said.”


    Darling little tantrum, there, Steny.

    What I suspect most citizens find inappropriate and an embarrassment, though, is Congress’ failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

    • Cue the “it’s hard work, you just don’t understand how HARD it is”

      I think that the electorate should make it clear that whining about a job you volunteered to take for a six figure income and benefits is unacceptable. If it’s too “hard”, don’t run.

    • Steny Hoyer needs to be primaried. And in the meantime, he should STFU.

    • I think Colbert took a huge risk with what he did. However, congress is asking for respect they do not earn. Maybe if their hearings resulted in anything other that endless pontification for the voters benefit, people, including Colbert would have more respect for the process.

  16. I disagree with the idea that the average person doesn’t complain as much as the rich though.

    The difference is purely the government response to the complaints IMO.

  17. Listened to the podcast. Heading out to the garage to sharpen some things. {{steam comes out of ears}}

  18. I thought this was a great TAL too. While listening to the morally cretinous wall street guys, I was reminded of the “masters o fthe universe” phrase as well as the film “The Smartest Guys in the Room.” A pathological sense of entitlement & arrogance indeed.

  19. OT…I rented and watched the HBO movie “Temple Grandin” this week end. I recommend it highly. She is an inspiration as is her mother and aunt who refused to believe that this autistic child could not do more.
    In the 1950s when she was a small child, autistic children almost always got warehoused in institutions where they never learned to speak much less got PHDs in science.

    Watch the movie, rent it, if you are like me without HBO.

  20. Before they turn our social security over to these nuts, you may want to listen to this at new deal 2.0


    A celebration at Hyde Park marked the passage of two laws that changed America, and Roosevelt fellows were on hand to explain their legacy and vital role in providing security for our citizens. To view webcasts of this and other panels in the series “1935 and the Enduring New Deal”, click here.

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