December 31, 2008

Let’s make sure no one gets a laugh out of these jokes

By: David Donadio

This Times piece on financial jokes starts out promisingly enough:

DID you hear the one about the stockbroker who’s been sleeping like a baby? Every hour, he wakes up and cries.

That was before he read that Somali pirates were issuing a new ransom-backed security to buy Citigroup. Moody’s rated it AAA, Henry M. Paulson Jr. deemed the pirates “fundamentally sound,” and Bernard L. Madoff will safeguard the returns.

but then quickly devolves into tedious pop psych platitudes:

Laughing at well-known people and bad situations can be a good way to channel anxiety and release tension, said Shawn Achor, a business consultant who teaches psychology courses at Harvard. “A lot of Americans feel powerless to change the economy at a macro level, and they hear on CNN the names of people like C.E.O.s and the Treasury secretary,” Mr. Achor said.
“These are people with power to affect the economy in a way that the individual doesn’t have,” he said. By poking fun, “you invert that power structure and gain power over those people.”

Ya don’t say! Were the Marx Brothers satirizing the state, too?

I’d pay real money if someone would install a postmodernism alert system that sounded warning klaxons in the Times building, National Public Radio and other affected areas whenever someone was about to abstract needlessly into metanarrative and turn an otherwise enjoyable diversion into emo d-baggery.

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