Nov

6

TroyVictor's Homeric reference invites reflection upon markets and social order.

Why, when combined, do Iliad and Odyssey present the evolution of human mores as found in our markets of today?

With a study of world masterpieces, we see how Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey represent an eclipse of the “old order” by that anew: having been governed by contract, so guised, therein leading to servitude, we oppose with preeminence of the individual – represented by the ode’s central character, Odysseus.

Agamemnon raises his fleet to Troy by contract… All would honor and enforce Helen’s choice. Intent was then extended beyond marital rights at time of her suitors’ resolution. Thus we see how the four corners of a contract may be rounded by the scissoring malfeasance of human pride (or the Greek notion of hubris).

So too here with a president and congress, commissioning a secretary of corporate errands (Rubin) en route to private offices (Citi).

As the Iliad depicts the unfurling of flagged notions of men bound in strife, so claimed to be that strength of contract as law; though as likely leading to social and economic decay. The Odyssey celebrates that struggle of man as an individual, there chronicling Odysseus’s escape from both the madness found in the armies of men and their leaders’ desires for power; all to be purged with loss of his crew during the ensuing return trip to the sanctity of home and kin.

So too since have we with the “Crisis” this year past.

Perhaps the markets of today are not of Troy as found in the glories of exchange but in the ruins of what has been lost during the past ten years. The ten year war since fought, as if by contract among monetary and global centrists, who in 1999 achieved their commercial and depository banking union at the behest of investment banking tribes, with what we see today from the repeal of Glass-Steagall?


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16 Comments so far

  1. Nick White on November 6, 2009 8:25 pm

    WTF???

  2. lon evans on November 6, 2009 10:38 pm

    Ah, never better than Vic himself, but equally as arcane. Can’t you guys just say what you have to say and cease with the presumptuous pontifications? Lord, you’re worse than Greenspan at his Delphic best.

    Take a note from Strunk & White. Learn to write for your audience, not your ego.

    lon

  3. Jeff Watson on November 7, 2009 12:51 am

    It would bode well to revisit your history So much ballyhoo here, I don't know where to begin, as it's late and I don't feel like writing a Tolstoy-length response.

  4. Steve Leslie on November 7, 2009 8:45 am

    Mr Dimick has a remarkable command of the English language and of history. His thoughts are those of a very wise and learned man. I acknowledge and bow to his superior insights however difficult they may be to initially comprehend.

    Comments such at WTF and those by pseudonymnal poseurs charlatans and cowards add nothing to the discussion.

    with due respect, If you wish to be a significant contributor to this respected site, roll up your sleeves use your real name and write your own original thoughts. Then you may cross the Rubicon enter the fray and get a bit bloodied battered and bruised as so many brave soldiers have before you. Otherwise I suggest you just twitter. Either way, machts nichts.

  5. Nick White on November 7, 2009 1:38 pm

    no, steve, seriously… wtf? ;-)

  6. Rocky Humbert on November 7, 2009 5:15 pm

    Once again, I see similarities between Mr. Dimick’s convoluted prose and the most complex financial derivatives. Both are impossible to understand.

    “Surely you’re joking, Steve Leslie.” http://www.amazon.com/Surely-Feynman-Adventures-Curious-Character/dp/0393316041
    Since I have NO understanding of Mr. Dimick’s point, I am humbled by your suggestion that his post(s) demostrate a “remarkable command of the English language.” If Professor Feynman could explain Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics to my college freshman class, surely Mr. Dimick could occasionally pander to a simpleton such as myself — with a sentence that contains just a noun, verb and direct object.

    Lastly, (and to demonstrate just how clueless Mr. Dimick left me), it seems that Mr. Dimick is making an analogy between Robert Rubin and Agamemnon. Whereas Agamemnon was murdered by his wife Clytemnestra, Bob Rubin is still (happily?) married to Judith Rubin, and his daughter-in-law writes a blog called “The Happiness Project.” http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/

    So much for Greek tragedy!

  7. douglas roberts dimick on November 8, 2009 1:48 am

    Thank you Laurel for selecting the artwork. Perfect…

    Ion, to be compared to V, well, given my limitations, it is one of the kindest acts of a keystroke that can be bestowed…

    You are right, of course, which is where the humor is found – between the presumptions and pontifications. Wearing a brightly-colored lavender blazer to party among a bunch of swells; pronouncing one’s own invention (Theory of Quantitative Relativity) to towering groups of “made” – intellectual mafioso’s (forget about it) – algos, quants, algo-quants, and others of noteworthy success: well, therein lies the essence of life… struggling when not surviving within the swill of an intelligencia and their derivative affiliations, if you will…

    I cannot speak for V, as I am sure he is so relieved… but I snickered and lit anew upon reading daspec this morning, to see us taking the time – which is the point, in my mind – to speculate upon that appearing notable or unfathomable.

    For instance, Strunk and White present an interesting casestudy of your point as to the art of writing. If one considers how White (in 1957 as his former student) “expanded” upon Strunk’s 1918 original text, we can speculate how propriety and license concerning literary style may play to your audience-ego observation, which, at the end of day (for evaluation purposes), could come to rest with physicality – of publication relative to socio-economic dispositions.

    I sense that Steve seems to gather the same. By the way…thank you, Sir, for the benefit of the doubt, to whatever degree that it was so intended.

    Rocky, I once asked V if you where he (alter ego, of sorts, as a pen name). Perhaps we may share the humor in that, my error in fact?

    Thank you for the Feynman reference. I shall study it.

    A student of Homer, as drawn on herein, began upon sophomore year at university with Professor Reuter during a year of his World Masterpieces (I and II). Then, commencing with my final tour of service in the JAG Office at Walter Reed, graduate studies in literature at Georgetown University — often (if not usually) consisting of “spirited” (away) diatribes among folks much smarter than me on genres, metaphors, allegory, and alike underneath at the Tombs.

    Here I use Rubin as a literary construct to represent all of the celebrated minions found in modern day politics, such as the Greenspan’s of our monetarized world – like-kind to generals in the court of Agamemnon. Some are good and true, worthy of title and position; for others, history may accord a less similar plaguing.

    I often pondered all the media being abuzz with him. For instance, the briefcase thing… He certainly got a lot more press than the repeal of Glass-Steagall. Which says what exactly?

    Consider the movie, Troy ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_(film) ); see scenes where Big A is holding court among his fellow kings…

    Who are the “Yes” men contra those who are loyal, honest advisors – faceless in casting?

    Who has the integrity, perhaps courage to oppose the king’s hubris, so fueling military expansionism that leads to demise of the preceding world order (i.e., the old order, that of the contract) — Achilles?

    Rubin may be, as Major Kurtz (Brando) refers to Captain Williard (Sheen) in Apocalypse Now ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078788/quotes ):

    Kurtz: You’re neither. You’re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect a bill.

    At the end of the movie, as with Odysseus upon his return home (seeing it in ruin from the suitors in the hunt for his wife’s defection), Captain Willard so realizes what Homer relates to us ages before…
    ________________________________________
    Willard: No wonder Kurtz put a weed up Command’s ass. The war was being run by a bunch of four star clowns who were gonna end up giving the whole circus away.
    ________________________________________
    Willard: It’s a way we had over here for living with ourselves. We cut ‘em in half with a machine gun and give ‘em a Band-Aid. It was a lie. And the more I saw them, the more I hated lies.

    A question: Of whose employ was Senior Rubin?

    Certainly not his king, as that eleventh-hour stroke of the pen landed Clinton on the Top 25 List of those responsible ( http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1877351_1878509_1878508,00.html ). Note Bush follows on the list.

    Another question: Is there an ironic trend during this time of spanning telecommunications, where men of selfish deeds are notarized in press and media?

    “In January 2009, Rubin was named by Marketwatch as one of the “10 most unethical people in business”.[23] ” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Rubin

    The referenced site is blocked here in China: http://www.happiness-project.com/

    Which brings me, alas, to a closing comment a la Nick but for the truth embedded within his code, to wit: celebrating the freedom of markets to do so, be it those of capital formation and valuation or that within the marketplace of ideas.

    For there is not such to be found here, even freedom with fear, here in China.

    Web sites are blocked en mass…

    Political officers flank department chairmen from middle school to universities as well as among corporate boards with directorates alike. Here, thoughts (often inefficiently and ineffectively expressed) require license (literal not literary), as the state polices what it does not own – already possessing national and provincial media outlets.

    This form of Communism “with Chinese characteristics” (as the government here likes to so distinguish) is necessary for the greater good, as we are instructed. So long (I am told) as the economy continues to grow, who should care about free or competing thought. “It” is irrelevant to those who are not trained to think for themselves but instead rely on others to be told, being the Confucian way – children do as parents say, wives do as men say, they all do as the bosses say, bosses do as the government leaders say, and those minions do as the party leaders so state, clearly, exactly, by the point of a gun a la some military parade.

    “A family can be strong only if the nation is strong” – Communist Party of China.

    I shall not belabor the point… Only note that, upon this past week’s announcement of the Disney deal with Beijing on Shanghai, I felt yet another prick of a literary pin inked in the poisons of regulatory capitalism – Chinese characteristics or otherwise.

    Another multi-national corporation, whose existence is dependant upon free markets for capitalization and valuation, resolves here to extend its footprint on land by consigning the airing of its commercial free speech to censorship. Thus it emboldens a system, one which uses stylistics and propriety to own and control the human exchange of thoughts and freedoms…

    Your comments, Jeff, as to the realistic fictionalism of it all?

    Mine? The law repealing Glass-Steagall was a Trojan horse.

    We awake the next morning, this past year, having ourselves before wheeled in finely stated, empirically ensconced declarations proffered by political and corporate leaders encamped along both sides for the river.

    dr

    Ps. See Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness: a journey up a primitive river as a metaphor serving for an excursion into the darkest parts of the human mind” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_of_Darkness ).

  8. Steve Leslie on November 8, 2009 9:02 am

    I will be the first to admit my shortcomings. Should I have any lol. Actually ancient history is one of them. My point is to steal a line from Jack Nicholsen in A few Good Men, are you willing to stand on that wall and defend your country? You Lt. Caffey, you Lt. Weinberg? Whether Mr. Dimick has rewritten history, has disorganized thinking or perhaps suffers from run on sentence itis, at least he writes an original piece and has the character to use his own name, no pseudonym, and take the unheralded abuse and critiism that too many bloggers are willing to offer. We can debate his depth of knowledge and accuracy thereon. You want to talk seriously? Who are you people who wont even use your real names. Why the necessary secrecy. What the hell are we dealing with here,certainly nothing on the level of national security. Rocky Humbert is a nom de plume. Lon Evans who knows what he or she is. Other clowns who use names from mythology and wrestling. You want to state outrage and ballyhoo but for all I know your mission is to ruin a once exceptional website. And for all I know, some of you may very well be psychotics in Bellevue. You revel in this. Oh a few more points. If you think you are rattling me, think again. Far better men and women than you have tried, it is largely futile and a waste of time and energy, but go ahead take aim and fire. If you guys are so smart, then lets see something original from you. And then let the others attack like a pack of starving wolves in winter. I should enjoy the sport. I lay 2-1 against that happening cowards always like to stay in the background. If you want to continue you know where to find me.

  9. Don Chu on November 8, 2009 9:09 am

    What an injustice to Confucius…Sad.

    And for that matter, the true character of Odysseus. 

  10. Rocky Humbert on November 8, 2009 3:33 pm

    @Steve Leslie:

    To quote a memorable line from the movie, Pretty Woman: “Mr. Leslie, You’re not only handsome, but a powerful man. I could see the second you walked in here, that you were someone to reckon with ….”

    Now on to your frighteningly astute perception:

    Firstly, I have no internet access at Bellevue. But as I’ve earned “merits” for good behavior, I am now permitted to walk (unaccompanied) to the Starbucks at 2nd & 28th Street … where there’s a WiFi Hotspot.

    Secondly, as you are undoubtedly aware, there is a long and great tradition of Noms de plume and Noms de guerre in art, science, politics and religion. I use a Nom de plume to protect my family from ridicule associated with my insane ravings; others use a Nom de plume so their ideas are debated on merit — rather than station.

    Thirdly, I have never intentionally engaged in Ad Hominem attacks toward either you or Mr. Dimick. If I have offended you, please accept my apologies — and please consult my “blanket” Mea Culpa for all other offenses which, if I haven’t committed already, I will certainly commit in the future:
    http://onehonestman.wordpress.com/mea-culpa/

    Lastly, nNone of this of course changes the fact that Mr. Dimick’s prose is self-eggrandizing, pompous, indecipherable, trite, banal and hackneyed.

  11. lon evans on November 8, 2009 4:02 pm

    Dear Mr. Dimick,

    Apologies may be in order should my criticism have been suggestive of a paucity of depth relative to the content of your essay. This was not my intent, nor do I wish that such should be considered in how it is that I am to be judged. In all truth, I was not disparaging your evaluation of current market conditions and how they may be compared to or illuminated by the works of Homer (if that indeed was your intent). I intended only to communicate my experiencing difficulty in grasping the tenor of your evaluation. As much as I would enjoy the benefits of your expertise, I must admit to a particular sedentariousness. I’m just not inclined to wade through a swamp in hopes for a nibble at the apple.

    What follows may better explain my intent. The writing and thought processes of these men are far superior to my own.

    “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that a writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

    William Strunk Jr.

    And as an example, George Orwell’s amusing take on a verse from Ecclesiastes illustrating how to “drain prose of its blood.”

    “Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must inevitably be taken into account.”

    As compared to the King James version,

    “I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill: but time and chance happeneth to them all.”

    Cheers!

    Hey Steve, how’s it going. Having a rough quarter?

    lon

  12. Steve Leslie on November 9, 2009 2:36 pm

    I love the action. All joking aside I do respect intellectual thought whoever wrote it. George Eliot is one of my favorites although we all know he was a she. George Sand. Another — Mark Twain. Artists painted with other names. Mr. Humbert I do respect your voice as one who is in the wilderness or a paucity therein.

  13. Stuart Leslie Goddard on November 9, 2009 8:25 pm

    Mr. Dimick said:

    “With a study of world masterpieces, we see how Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey represent an eclipse of the “old order” by that anew:”

    My observations are not as astute as Mr. Dimick’s, but the Arthurian legends are essentially about the same thing.

    Mr. Leslie said:

    “Comments such at WTF and those by pseudonymnal poseurs charlatans and cowards add nothing to the discussion. ”

    I couldn’t agree more!

  14. Nick White on November 10, 2009 12:06 pm

    having thus inwardly digested and contemplated the aforewritten vituperations, one may thereupon find this wholly and demonstrably moronic antipodean personage - reminiscent of the most laconic, stereotypical, “chasseur crocodile” - by the nearest enclosed pit of fire*. should you happen upon this Styx like scene, you may concurrently see me sending fresh, wriggling pandalus borealis - as delightfully pink and fleshy as the most succulent of Rubens’ muses - via an arcing trajectory to their delicious, garlicky end. thus one will have great joy listening to them sizzle on the perpendicular metal contraption*.

    *= my long standing research has indicated that the pit of fire must be complete, of course, with equal width metal bars (preferably at even intervals) concurrently set at an optimum perpendicular height to what are commonly called “the flames”.

    wtf indeed.

  15. vniederhoffer on November 10, 2009 6:48 pm

    It would be nice if the posters on this benevolent site would give the contributers the benefit of the doubt — especially when they are trying to augment the higher purpose of making the world a better place for speculation. The insights on mythology are very thought provoking and certainly helps us to understand the current plight. vic

  16. lon evans on November 11, 2009 12:09 pm

    Dear Vic,

    A "current plight" that you were in denial of through much of its genesis.
    Might I remind you of your assertion that recessions are a figment of the
    imagination. Should I mention your jibe that I was, personally, in error as some
    manifestation of "drift" was soon to show me the error of my analysis (S&P 1275
    at the time).

    Oh Vic, dine on your crow with humility. The analysis of the man you defend may
    very well be brilliant. But how can one tell? His prose is dreadful.

    lon

    [Edited 2009/11/11 3:17pm]

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