It was a wasted 10 minutes. Like a prime-time Hallmark sponsored TV special, it only confirmed my prejudices. Not one of the 5 – and except for one saleswoman they were all senior people – had any clue as to what had taken place. All focused on themselves and their hardship. Not one of them had a word about the larger issues that the Bear Stearns collapse signified. That included the firm’s ex vice-chairman who begged the readers to remember Bear Stearns for its – of all things – charitable givings.
I only hope that when future generations think about Bear Stearns, if they do at all, they will remember its philanthropy.This “if they do at all” is incriminating. It speaks of a self-doubt that no one reaching vice-chairmanship of a place like Bear Stearns could possibly afford to possess; the swagger of these guys was something to behold. The expression, rather, is from T. S. Eliot:
Those who have crossedMaybe I am over-interpreting, but I think in reaching to T.S. Eliot whom he must have remembered from college years, the ex vice-chairman of Bear was admitting to himself and to those who could decode him that he had been a hollow man all along.
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us – if at all – not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.