The 1% is laughing at us

Buried deep in the DealBook (I refuse to spell it DealB%k) section of the New York Times website on Jan. 20th was an article that highlights the disregard that the titans of finance have for the rest of us schmoes.

My thanks to Richard Brenneman for bringing this to my attention via his blog eats shoots ‘n leaves

A Raucous Hazing at a Wall St. Fraternity from the New York Times, Jan. 20, 2012

Kappa Beta Phi, an exclusive Wall Street fraternity whose members include big-name bankers, hedge fund billionaires and private equity titans, met at the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan on Thursday night for its 80th annual black-tie dinner and induction ceremony.

Oh, maybe they just wanted to get together to be thankful that they weren’t run out on a rail after the recent economic collapse and managed to avoid any real increase in regulation.  Nah, they just want to joke about the complaints of the little people with their silly Occupy protest.

Neither a rough year in the financial markets nor the animus of the Occupy Wall Street movement was enough to dampen spirits at this year’s dinner, which was attended by members like Alan C. Greenberg, known as Ace, the former chairman of Bear Stearns; Robert H. Benmosche, the chairman of the American International Group; Meredith Whitney of the Whitney Advisory Group; and Martin Lipton, founding partner of the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

The Occupy movement was fodder for several after-dinner skits. In one, a documentary filmed during the protests, James Lebenthal, a bond specialist, joked with a protester whose face was appeared to be tattooed.

“Go home, wash that off your face, and get back to work,” Mr. Lebenthal told the protester.

Reached through his daughter on Friday, Mr. Lebenthal declined to comment.

In another skit, William Mulrow , a senior managing director at the Blackstone Group, put on raggedy clothes to play the part of an Occupy protester. Emil W. Henry Jr., a managing partner at Tiger Infrastructure Partners and a fellow new Kappa, joined him dressed as a wealthy baron.

“Bill, look at you! You’re pathetic, you liberal! You need a bath!” Mr. Henry said, voice full of mock indignation.

“You callow, insensitive Republican!” Mr. Mulrow said. “Don’t you know we need to create jobs?”

Well, I guess when you are busy raking in profits at the expense of, well, damn near all of us, you just gotta blow off some steam now and again.  Jesus, we really are close to collapse, aren’t we?




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