More classless comments from Malor March 25, 2009 2:30 PM   Subscribe

Where we once again see Malor is incapable of making his arguments stand on their own merits.

I've asked in the past that Malor decline from bringing my name into threads when I'm not participating, especially so in a derogatory manner. The Mods have supported this request, not only in my thread (linked) but across other threads & topics.

Therefore we know this is generally accepted as good etiquette on Metafilter, and these are the good manners I practice on Metafilter.

However it seems like this evening we've had another cry for attention from Malor. I just got home from University, wasn't participating nor reading Metafilter, in fact I was tracking the end of day, watching Bloomberg TV when I'll be darned, several people email me another of Malor's backstabbing, classless comments referencing my name.

I've read the fine print at the bottom of each page

"Note: Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site."

I remind Malor and The Mods that I am not the topic of that thread. I am not participating in that thread. The core issue of the thread, AIG and statements by a specific employee of AIG, seem far removed from from the direction Malor is intent upon moving it towards: who was consistently right but unappreciated, a lone voice calling out from the darkness since 2004. The fundamental problem, therefore, is Malor consistently beating the same dead horse, time after time again in any thread that is remotely related to finance, compounded by seemingly flaunting the rules, attacking non participants - myself - at will.

I once again suggest Malor devote his energies to discussing the topic, and not in ways that seem destined to bring my name into the discussion, at least in a negative / derogatory manner.

Malor someday we will run into each other at a meetup. We can discuss this lack of manners then, but until that time leave my name out of your comments.
posted by Mutant to Etiquette/Policy at 2:30 PM (199 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Someone else brought up your name and Malor's complete and total response mentioning you was "Mutant is a banker. He's one of those who has been most scornful of my position, and one of those who has been most consistently wrong."

We looked at it, decided we'd keep an eye on it if it got worse than that, and that's where we're staying.

I sort of feel like you can't have it both ways: you've been a pretty consistenly outspoken person on financial matters on the site for literally years now. So, people are going to mention you when these topics come up. Malor said you were wrong, in his opinion. So what? You're not in the thread and what do you care?

This reponse from you seems out of proportion the the recent comment and much, much more about a long time grudge which we can't do anything about.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:35 PM on March 25, 2009 [12 favorites]


Jesus, can't you two see you love each other? It's hard watching star-crossed lovers. Sad really.
posted by milarepa at 2:38 PM on March 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


I was kind of with you the last time, Mutant, but this time I think you're overstating your case a bit. Malor's not so bad: he's not a professional, but that was the substance of his comment.
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:42 PM on March 25, 2009


compounded by seemingly flaunting the rules,

Flaunting and flouting are two very different activities.

Pet peeve.
posted by longsleeves at 2:43 PM on March 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


What jessamyn said. We're keeping an eye on the thread, but so far there's nothing but the blippiest of blips and Malor isn't even the one who brought you up.

There's definitely a "don't start crazily slagging another in absentia" pragma in play around here that we try to enforce as reasonably as we can, but that doesn't extend as far the privilege of never being mentioned, ever, in contexts related to your past site activity.

There's got to be some meeting in the middle on this sort of thing, which means folks—you as much as and no more than anyone else—should totally give us a heads up if it looks like something is maybe starting to smolder, yes. But it's also important to recognize the difference between a tendril of smoke and a full-blown fire, and not react to the former like it's the latter. I'm sorry we didn't get an email response off to you quick enough, but this feels like overkill.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:44 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I disagree. Let's look at this again.

I wasn't participating in that thread. Hadn't even seen it.

His exact statement was "and one of those who has been most consistently wrong."

So I'm being summoned to a thread, to defend - as you put it - years of statements? A thread I wasn't participating in? Am I supposed to wade in, defend myself and twist the topic into another Mutant / Malor flamewar?

I respectfully suggest the topic of that thread is AIG. Not me, and especially not who was consistently right.

And there is no grudge on my part. Look at my history and you'll see I never even mention Malor's name when I post, nor when I comment. Not even peripherally. However the converse is certainly not true. I'm sure you see the asymmetry.
posted by Mutant at 2:44 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am not going to defend that whole comment, or Malor in general (he is always like "All our money is a lie!" or some such stuff that seems like it may be a little crazy, but what do I know I don't really understand that kind of thing), but it reads to me like someone else said "Malor is a banker" (confusing you with Malor, which I can totally sympathize with because you both comment in finance threads sometimes and you both have an "m" at the beginning of your names and I have a hard time distinguishing between posters who have the same letter at the beginning of their usernames) and he said "No I'm not a banker. Mutant is a banker."

But then he threw in the whole thing about you being scornful and wrong, which was over the line and which you are right to object to. But I don't think he just started talking about you out of the blue. It is not like me walking up to someone and saying "Joe is a dick" apropos of nothing. It is like if someone came up to me and said "Hey are you Joe?" and I said "No I am Bob, but Joe is a dick." Not cool, but less not cool maybe?
posted by ND¢ at 2:47 PM on March 25, 2009


*looks back and forth from Mutant to Malor uneasily* Who is the Bizarro version of the other? Okay, which one do I use the green Kryptonite on? And the blue Kryptonite will help the other one, right? No, wait, if this is pre-Crisis, do I have to find red Kryptonite? I dimly recollect red Kryptonite hurting Bizarros. But maybe that was one of the TV shows.

Screw this, I'm trading in for Flash comics.
posted by adipocere at 2:50 PM on March 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


So I'm being summoned to a thread, to defend - as you put it - years of statements?

No, you're being mentioned offhand in a thread. There is no grand drama here, no crowd waiting hushed to see Whether Or Not Mutant Will Defend Himself. You have created by posting this thread an order of magnitude more ruckus and attention for yourself than anything that's happened over there so far.

If you don't want to get into a debate about who was right and wrong, don't. No one will be heartbroken, no one will think less of you, and we can all go on with our day.

If you do want to get into that debate, just do it and skip the circuitous trip into Metatalk where you can, I guess, reframe things so that you're somehow compelled to defend your honor.

Grudge may not be the word you prefer, but you are displaying a fixation of some sort on the Mutant/Malor dynamic, and you're making it unnecessarily public. I'm sympathetic to you on the ostensible "don't make things about absent users" principle, but you've completely jumped the rails on that by your zealous handling here of what was essentially a non-event twenty minutes ago.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:53 PM on March 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


Look at my history

I see three MeTa posts about Malor, though one was an apology.

Am I supposed to wade in, defend myself and twist the topic into another Mutant / Malor flamewar?

You are welcome to just leave that thread alone entirely and if Malor starts something larger we'll keep it in check.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:54 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


"I'm sorry we didn't get an email response off to you quick enough, but this feels like overkill."

Don't apologise - you folks are surely busy and I'm not aware of an SLA.

But I do disagree about this, Malor knows what he is doing when he brings my name into a thread, and you folks of all people must be aware as well since you're referencing the history.

Once again, there is nothing healthy nor respectful about a discussion that deliberately goes off topic, and especially back in time to who was right. Same point about bringing other member of the site into the statement.

We're not going to progress this. I clearly don't agree so if you'd like to close this up not a problem from my side.
posted by Mutant at 2:55 PM on March 25, 2009


I think the simple solution to this is obvious to all of us, right?

What we need to do here is ban every user whose name begins with a capital M.
posted by koeselitz at 2:58 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Man, didn't we do this once? Does this really need to be done in front of the entire site (or at least the subsection that reads the Grey)? I can't speak for everyone, but while I was with you the first time (except for referring to his offsite comments), Mutant, this second one just makes you sound petulant, especially considering how quickly you ran to MetaTalk after his comment went up. Maybe you need to take a more extended break or something.
posted by Caduceus at 3:14 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Screw this, I'm trading in for Flash comics.
posted by adipocere at 5:50 PM


Then who would be Flash and who would be Reverse Flash?
posted by marxchivist at 3:20 PM on March 25, 2009


Malor someday we will run into each other at a meetup. We can discuss this lack of manners then, but until that time leave my name out of your comments.

That's very civil compared to what I assume some people would do to me at a meetup.
posted by gman at 3:23 PM on March 25, 2009


I agree that this is classless, and I understand how it must have made you feel -- I do. But sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and go back to whatever you were doing and let this go.

I try really hard to do this myself, which is why I only make a huge caterwauling embarrassment of myself about 10% as often as I catch myself trying to.
posted by hermitosis at 3:23 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mutant, imagine, if you will, that Malor feels roughly the same way about you that you do about him. He was engaged in a long, passionate discussion, when somebody conflated y'all's names. Of course he's going to correct the record. And it didn't seem to me like Jessamyn was saying that you needed to defend your entire posting history in there, but rather that because the two of you have been so inextricably tied together in your rivalry, it was obvious that:
1. lupus_yonderboy was mistaking Malor for you in particular., and
2. That the posting histories of both of you were more or less common knowledge there
I'm not saying it was 100% cool of him to call you consistently wrong there, but the two of you have a well-known history, and he didn't bring it up.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:23 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


You guys don't talk about me when I'm not around, do you?

Why not?
posted by koeselitz at 3:31 PM on March 25, 2009


I had intended to italicize "Mutant"; it appears I failed to do so. And I didn't bring up your name first.

And, I mean, really? Getting all butthurt over two sentences?
posted by Malor at 3:34 PM on March 25, 2009


gman : That's very civil compared to what I assume some people would do to me at a meetup.

Get you stinking drunk and feed your inebriated form to a flock of semi-domesticated geese?

Because that was my plan.
posted by quin at 3:35 PM on March 25, 2009


What? Someone built a cosmic treadmill that was powered by cosmic rays? And this was built over the course of a few weeks?

All this Meta-drama seems meaningless while there's a cosmic treadmill out there, somewhere, hopping about in the space-time continuum.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:35 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


if any of you fuckers even so much as mention my screename somewhere else on this site so help me god I will cut you....

no not really, but perhaps I can get my Vegas lawyer to sue your kids
posted by edgeways at 3:35 PM on March 25, 2009


Get you stinking drunk and feed your inebriated form to a flock of semi-domesticated geese?

Again, that's very civil compared to what I assume some people would do to me at a meetup.
posted by gman at 3:37 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


quin, are you the source of this weird analogy? Because I've never considered being pecked to death or eaten by waterfowl as a functional torture or demise. I now have some additions for the list of animals that cannot be trusted.

Yes, I am trying to form a distraction from this conversation, because I can't see it ending in a virtual shaking of hands.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:39 PM on March 25, 2009


so help me god I will cut you....

When using a knife, there are several techniques you can employ; the ways that involve the point are good, but that really is more used for stabbing not cutting. For that you should learn to use the edge. Ways of doing this vary, but I'm sure with practice you'll get it sorted out.

Ha!
posted by quin at 3:41 PM on March 25, 2009


Ever noticed no one's ever seen Mulor or Maltant together? Just saying.
posted by ornate insect at 3:42 PM on March 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


I know how to settle this. Money fight! Dollar sign bags filled with nickels at noon. First one to ask for a bail out loses. Or wins. I don't know how this stuff works.
posted by stavrogin at 3:46 PM on March 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


stavrogin, I read that as "monkey fight," and was going to ask if it was a form of monkey dance. Sadly, it is not. It's more of a Homey D. Clown fight, though he apparently used tennis balls, which seem much less functional in a fight.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:12 PM on March 25, 2009


Winner gets a white sack with the word "LOOT" printed on it with a magic marker.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:12 PM on March 25, 2009


Can there be top hats and mustache-twirling involved?
posted by dersins at 4:17 PM on March 25, 2009


I've asked in the past that Malor decline from bringing my name into threads when I'm not participating, especially so in a derogatory manner.

The comment works in context. Someone confused him for you, because you have similar user names. He replied by clarifying that he is not the user he is being mistaken for, and in fact, the user he is being mistaken for has a position on the matter very different from his own. He wasn't even nasty about it. Seems how most normal people would have responded.

That said, I agree it would still be annoying if it was a pattern of behavior that was really at issue. That said, you really should have just emailed a mod.
posted by dgaicun at 4:18 PM on March 25, 2009


Not this shit again.
posted by dead cousin ted at 4:19 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Malor someday we will run into each other at a meetup. We can discuss this lack of manners then, but until that time leave my name out of your comments.

Sounds ominous.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:25 PM on March 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Again, that's very civil compared to what I assume some people would do to me at a meetup.

Toronto meetup participants, myself included, could not fight off one five year-old much less 20 of them. The worst you'd be in for would be icy stares. Or orange swan might knit you to death. Or something.

Also, why do people keep MeFi grudges? If some arrogant beret-wearing designer doesn't want anyone questioning his designs, who am I to question?

wait, that wasn't really a good proof of the point I was trying to make
posted by GuyZero at 4:26 PM on March 25, 2009


Mutant is a banker.

To be fair, that is pretty harsh.
posted by DU at 4:31 PM on March 25, 2009 [20 favorites]


Toronto meetup participants, myself included, could not fight off one five year-old much less 20 of them.

Fuck that noise. Have you seen chunking express?
posted by gman at 4:34 PM on March 25, 2009


::walks into bathroom, turns lights off, closes door, stares into mirror over sink::

Banker Mutant, Banker Mutant, Banker Mutant.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 4:34 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


What we need to do here is ban every user whose name begins with a capital M.

That reminds me, I know how to get Mutant and Malor to make up. If only they'd just realize that to 80%, they are the same "capital M guy who talks about finance all the time" they would stop arguing, look at each other and laugh and laugh. Then some music would start playing and we'd all dance in the street.
posted by DU at 4:36 PM on March 25, 2009 [9 favorites]


Malor someday we will run into each other at a meetup. We can discuss this lack of manners then, but until that time leave my name out of your comments.

Sounds ominous.
posted by BrotherCaine

That's what I scrolled down here to say, BrotherCaine.

This sounds distinctly like a threat, Mutant.

Surely you didn't mean it that way.

And equally surely you'll make it explicitly clear that you did not mean it as a threat in any sense-- won't you Mutant?
posted by jamjam at 4:37 PM on March 25, 2009


This Malutant nonsense can only be redeemed by in fact forcing them to meetup.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:40 PM on March 25, 2009


"Fuck that noise. Have you seen chunking express?"

Yes, which is why I often have California Dreamin' stuck in my head.
posted by klangklangston at 4:42 PM on March 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


How come everyone's been so civil in callouts lately? BOOOORRRINNNGGG
posted by backseatpilot at 4:43 PM on March 25, 2009


Man, ain't no sensible person wanna see you and your internet contentions with some other dude. Email people. It's called class. It's called tact. Discretion. Look 'em up, you yokel.
posted by boo_radley at 4:47 PM on March 25, 2009


This sounds distinctly like a threat, Mutant.

Gather up your panties Granny.

So now it's a threat to remind people that in the "real world" we hold people to the most minimum expectations of civility and they likely won't behave like the gibbering foul-mouthed insulting baboons they seem to be here on the inter-tubes?

C'mon.

You know how people tell you you should act like your mother is present. That's kind what mutant is doing. And even if he was implying that "if we meet" you'd better behave your self or get punched in the nose? So what. Good for him. And he is exactly with in his rights to remind us of that. Welcome to the world where bullies and buffoons actually meet repercussions.
posted by tkchrist at 4:48 PM on March 25, 2009 [12 favorites]


Fuck that noise.

No one else ever shows up to meetups I come to. I know. I don't think it's a coincidence either.
posted by GuyZero at 4:51 PM on March 25, 2009


to the world where bullies and buffoons actually meet repercussions.

Except of course in politics. Or finance. Or talk radio. All regions where bullies and buffoons only rarely meet repercussions. But I digress.
posted by ornate insect at 4:53 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


One time I saw someone mention me in a thread that I hadn't participated in, and it weirded me out something fierce. I was like, whoa, someone noticed l'il ol' Bookhouse?

that was a while ago
posted by Bookhouse at 4:53 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whoa. That's some profile you got, Mutant.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:54 PM on March 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Apparently that sad day has arrived when the economic mess has gotten so bad that Mutant no longer even thinks he knows what's going on, has opted out of thread discussions relevant to his experience AND would prefer that nobody brings up his posting record. Which means we're all doomed. All except Malor and me, who have invested all our money in canned beans and batteries.
posted by wendell at 4:54 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've never gotten a summons, even to threads that explicitly about zombies.

What the fuck is wrong with you people?
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:55 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I still think you two should do that Hannity & Colmes style podcast.

I think we all know who would be who.
posted by adamdschneider at 4:55 PM on March 25, 2009


When using a knife, there are several techniques you can employ...

... TO STAB BLAZECOCK PILEON IN THE EYES.

I'm sorry, should I not bring him into this?



Just kidding, Blaze. Put the gun down.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:55 PM on March 25, 2009


Granny panties notwithstanding and setting aside the question of whether or not the threat of violence was intended in this case:

I'd like to be really, really clear that a Mefi meetup is not one of those places where I want people to be throwing around any "you better behave" swagger. If that sort of thing is what's on your mind when you're heading out the door, stay home and let everybody else relax and have a good time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:58 PM on March 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


This is all some sort of reverse psychology virally marketed mind-fuck, right?
posted by mrmojoflying at 4:58 PM on March 25, 2009


Ludicrous oversensitivity is more than ever the meat-and-potatoes of Metatalk. Makes for a sore forehead from all the slapping one has to do.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:59 PM on March 25, 2009


What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Hey, I told Astro Zombie 3 about it, he was supposed to give you a GNARRRFs up.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:00 PM on March 25, 2009



Except of course in politics. Or finance. Or talk radio. All regions where bullies and buffoons only rarely meet repercussions. But I digress.


Becuase they tend not go and meet the people they pitch shit at.

I'd like to be really, really clear that a Mefi meetup is not one of those places where I want people to be throwing around any "you better behave" swagger. If that sort of thing is what's on your mind when you're heading out the door, stay home and let everybody else relax and have a good time.

Oh god. The point is people don't swagger because the people that are jerks here are not the "same" people in meat-space. People tend to behave face-to-face because... they are face-to-face. Besides meet-ups are ALL about the sexy sexy swagger.
posted by tkchrist at 5:07 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


As I recall, davey got a ride out of here on a steep, greased slide for an implied threat that was a lot less direct than what Mutant just did, without being given any chance to explain himself or apologize.

Of course, that was an implied threat to mathowie, and I suppose that made all the difference.
posted by jamjam at 5:09 PM on March 25, 2009


Also, why do people keep MeFi grudges?

Because their memories are far better than mine. I'm sure I would have grudges against dozens of MeFites, if I could ever remember who I was holding them against, let alone why.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 5:11 PM on March 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


I HEREBY EXPLICITLY A WHOLE ZOMBIES

*AZ magically appears*
posted by DU at 5:13 PM on March 25, 2009


As I recall, davey got a ride out of here on a steep, greased slide for an implied threat

I think davy got a ride out of here because of his lengthy history of repeatedly engaging in extremely disruptive behavior. But, y'know, speaking of not dragging people into threads they're not a part of...
posted by dersins at 5:14 PM on March 25, 2009


As I recall, davey

There's no e, and there was years of nutty bad behavior leading up to that.

The point is people don't swagger because the people that are jerks here are not the "same" people in meat-space.

And my point is that the argument that boy howdy behavior sure can have consequences, nudge nudge, is not something that I want to see framed in the context of laidback social site gatherings. I'd much prefer to see any posturing, however hypothetical or rhetorical, not be conflated with meetups, period. Measure your respective cocks elsewhere.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:14 PM on March 25, 2009


I HEREBY EXPLICITLY A WHOLE ZOMBIES

THE WHOLE ZOMBIE! BY ACCIDENT! WHAT SHOULD I DO???
posted by GuyZero at 5:15 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, Mutant, I think you're going about this all wrong. Nothing focuses one's skills better than the presence of a rival. No one makes Batman dig deeper than the Joker. Lex Luthor lacked any real purpose in life until Superman came to Metropolis. Would anyone even remember the Hatfields and the McCoys if they hadn't pissed each other off so bad? It takes a nemesis for a man to realize his full potential!

... actually, I'll admit I'm only snarking out of jealousy ... almost three years here and I still haven't made any enemies ... it's enough to make a fella insecure ..
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:15 PM on March 25, 2009


tkchrist So now it's a threat to remind people that in the "real world" we hold people to the most minimum expectations of civility. . .And even if he was implying that "if we meet" you'd better behave your self or get punched in the nose? So what.

Well, if he carried out the implied threat, he might get arrested for starters.

You know, I used to work with a group of guys, two were amateur boxers and a bunch had earned their black belts and were into serious martial arts training. They would be the least likely person to punch someone in the nose over a slight or insult. They never walked around the job with a "tough guy" attitude either. I guess I am wondering why you endorse this kind of nonsense?
posted by mlis at 5:17 PM on March 25, 2009


Just kidding, Blaze. Put the gun down.

My methods are more stealthy. Anyway, I like having my revenge served icy cold, ninja-style.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:18 PM on March 25, 2009


I'm sure I would have grudges against dozens of MeFites, if I could ever remember who I was holding them against, let alone why.

Me. You have one against me. Becuase I'm cuter and the girls like me better.

I'd much prefer to see any posturing, however hypothetical or rhetorical, not be conflated with meetups, period. Measure your respective cocks elsewhere.

I think your reading a whole bunch stuff into something that just ain't there, buddy.
posted by tkchrist at 5:21 PM on March 25, 2009


Flaccid or erect?
posted by gman at 5:23 PM on March 25, 2009


I will take it. I will take the ring to Malor.
posted by Curry at 5:25 PM on March 25, 2009 [17 favorites]


"Measure your respective cocks elsewhere."

Hey now, Cortex, don't spit on the dick-measuring meet-ups. They're fun for everyone.

"Flaccid or erect?"

Erect, of course.

I'm a grower
posted by klangklangston at 5:28 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that Mutant has a reasonable point. (Although maybe the mods could have been given more time to deal with it or get back to him with an explanation.) Malor didn't bring Mutant's name into the thread, but that's beside the point. Lupus could have been corrected without mentioning Mutant, "I'm not a banker, I think you're confusing me with someone else". Indeed, Malocchio had already corrected Lupus, so there was no need to go into it at all.
posted by WPW at 5:28 PM on March 25, 2009



Well, if he carried out the implied threat, he might get arrested for starters.

Oh. Jesus. What threat? There was no threat.

You know, I used to work with a group of guys, two were amateur boxers and a bunch had earned their black belts and were into serious martial arts training. They would be the least likely person to punch someone in the nose over a slight or insult. They never walked around the job with a "tough guy" attitude either. I guess I am wondering why you endorse this kind of nonsense?

Endorse what kind of nonsense? What precisely am I endorsing? That people play nice when they're face to face becuase, yes, deep down, way down, among all the other reasons to not be an asshole is also the chance you might get punched in the nose? Okay. Gosh. Guilty.

And as far as the serious bas-asses you hang out with I'm guessing it would depend on the insult, wouldn't it? Because I spend a lot of time hanging out with fighters. Nearly every day. I can guarantee you, if you work hard enough at it, there are a few things that will trip them. And just about anybody. Boxers or not.

This here is fantastic example of how people on Metafilter can take something so trivial and just run with the drama until they become so hysterical they about choke to death while they type.
posted by tkchrist at 5:31 PM on March 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Measure your respective cocks elsewhere.

I think that's going to be one of the scheduled events at MaxFunCom... or ModFunCom... well, I know they always do it at ComicCom...
posted by wendell at 5:33 PM on March 25, 2009


There is nothing that I say on this site that I wouldn't say to any one of you in person. Those who abuse the Internet's anonymity to throw out insults they wouldn't dream of spewing in real life are, quite simply, cowards.
posted by gman at 5:36 PM on March 25, 2009


Just for the record I'm going to every meet up all over the world. I'm going to wear my old Highschool singlet and a mouth guard. I will also wear one boxing glove and carry a trident. I will stride into the bar.cafe/pizza parlor of said meet up and pose like a veritable Greek god between each table. I will then climb onto a table and roar "Which one of you colossal pussies is the toughest mother fucker at the meet-up!"

And when one of you either looks at me crosseyed or has the balls to say "me!", I will then say:

"Okay great. you take my place up here I gotta go make a pee-pee."

And then I will scarper.

You have been warned.
posted by tkchrist at 5:37 PM on March 25, 2009 [14 favorites]


gman> There is nothing that I say on this site that I wouldn't say to any one of you in person. Those who abuse the Internet's anonymity to throw out insults they wouldn't dream of spewing in real life are, quite simply, cowards.

What about that time you told me that I wasn't in the same room as you? I dare you to tell me that to my face.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:40 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


And as far as the serious bas-asses you hang out with

Never socialized with any of them and I worked with them years ago. Not "bad-asses", just guys who were really into their training.

This here is fantastic example. . .

Ah, well. Nevermind.
posted by mlis at 5:42 PM on March 25, 2009


I HEREBY EXPLICITLY A WHOLE ZOMBIES

Perfectly good zombie English. Don't disrespect it.
posted by woodway at 5:44 PM on March 25, 2009


As I recall, davey

There's no e, and there was years of nutty bad behavior leading up to that.

Thank you for the correction, cortex, I'm sure it made my search easier.

For the record, here are the posts upon which I based my statement (all from this thread):

So Alvy, Y0U tHiNk I sHoUlD gUn DoWn MaTh0wIe?!?1!?

/self-parody

P.S. Oh, okay Mr. Ampersand, sometimes I read things wrong. (You know who else had occasional Reading Comprehension problems?) And anyway, like I said elsewhere, one thing I intend is for myself and others to practice here some anti-authoritarian skills and techniques that can then be generalized out there in the Real World, though my hunch is that I'm not the only "anti-authoritarian" Mefite with those intentions. (But no, O Homeland Security, it's not like I'm part of any organized conspiracy, or at least if there is one nobody told ME.)
posted by davy at 11:50 AM on September 13


Y0U tHiNk I sHoUlD gUn DoWn MaTh0wIe?!?1!?

davy, you're done here for the day. This is getting way out of hand, even for Metatalk.
posted by jessamyn at 11:59 AM on September 13, 2007

I just woke up this morning knowing that there'd be no more davy, and I don't hesitate to say that I'll miss the little goober. I'm not going to say why, though.
posted by Item at 8:10 AM
[the 14th]

item is referring to davy forwarding mathowie's "goodbye you're banned" email around to everyone he thought for some reason would care.

Oh, Jesus, seriously? Somebody tell wendell that he's off the hook, I guess.
posted by cortex at 9:26 AM on September 14, 2007


I construe this as davy getting booted because he threatened mathowie, even though he tried to pass it off as a joke.

You can construe it however you wish and as suits your purposes, of course.
posted by jamjam at 6:01 PM on March 25, 2009


I'm construing that as the thing that got davy a day off from Jessamyn pronto, and which was the last straw that pissed Matt enough to finally throw the long-overdue switch on the account for good.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:05 PM on March 25, 2009


mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant
popcorn popcorn!
mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant
popcorn popcorn!
mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant
popcorn popcorn!
ooooh, it's a maaaalor ah maaaalooor oh it's a malor!

mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant
popcorn popcorn!
mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant
popcorn popcorn!
mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant
popcorn popcorn!
ooooh, it's a maaaalor ah maaaalooor oh it's a malor!

mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant
popcorn popcorn!
mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant
popcorn popcorn!
mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant mutant
popcorn popcorn!
ooooh, it's a maaaalor ah maaaalooor oh it's a malor!

posted by loquacious at 6:08 PM on March 25, 2009 [13 favorites]


I construe this as davy getting booted because he threatened mathowie, even though he tried to pass it off as a joke.

You construe wrong. We had been trying to work out a system whereby davy could both stay in the community and not destroy the community. It was a process involving a lot of email and timeouts and freakouts and apologies. It was exhausting. The fact that, after all the discussions we'd had with him about being appropriate on the site and specific delineations of what was and was not okay, that he thought a joke like that was okay, was simply the last straw in a very long and arduous back and forth we were having with him.

At the end of the day, the site has 40,000 members almost all of whom require little or no moderator attention. When one member requires that level of effort by us (not just dealing with him but dealing with everyone else's responses to him and their emails to us about him) we have to draw a line somewhere and after that comment was where we drew it.

I'm only mentioning this in the broadest of terms because you brought it up, but I'd really prefer to not talk about other members, especially banned members, at length in MetaTalk. You can email me if you'd like to discuss this more at length.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:10 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I will take the ring to Malor.

One does not simply WALK into Malor!
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:13 PM on March 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


Drama queens and trolls
Callouts on the grey
Just flag them and move on
It's a Brand New Day


Believe it or not this can almost be sung to The Farmer In The Dell.
posted by Green With You at 6:15 PM on March 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


On a scale of 1 to 10 this is about a 2 1/2.

If this is the worst thing that ever happens to you here, Mutant, you're a lucky fella.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:16 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm popping in just to say Cortex needs to record another song.
posted by kldickson at 6:19 PM on March 25, 2009


For some reason, I'm suddenly remembering the dueling scenes in Barry Lyndon.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:22 PM on March 25, 2009


For some reason, I'm suddenly remembering the dueling scenes in Barry Lyndon.

Why, was it as boring as this call-out?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:33 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


OK, as I dimly understand it, Mutant has killfiled Malor, ostensibly because he has no interest in anything Malor has to say and, therefore, has no direct way of knowing if Malor is saying anything about him or not. Fine.

And then some self-appointed hall monitors, i.e., shit-stirrers, take it upon themselves to e-mail Mutant every time Malor even momentarily invokes his name, which sends Mutant flying out of his peaceful ignorance right into a rabid tizzy of call-outery.

For god's sake, just stop it.

If Malor says inappropriate shit, flag it and e-mail a mod, who are already on the situation. And if Mutant really desires constructive disengagement from Malorworld, then he should also killfile these oh-so-helpful tattletales because they're not helping any.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:34 PM on March 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Are we measuring our cocks for length, girth or weight? And would you like the results in English, metric or cubits?
posted by EatTheWeak at 6:37 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm thankful for this thread because it introduced me to Mutant's last Malor-callout thread which in turn introduced me to this great comment by Super Hans.

Most applicably: You can't make him stop talking, nor should you try.

So, I'm torn. On the one hand I wish Mutant would've read that far down in his own thread and heeded some good advice. But on the other hand, if that advice was heeded I'd never have read that thread and that great comment.
posted by birdie birdington at 6:39 PM on March 25, 2009


This a very simple problem to resolve.

If you've been predicting something since 2004 and it happened late in 2008, you aren't prescient. You are a stopped clock. People made and kept fortunes between 2004 and 2007, which is when the top was actually put in. Second, its not enough to guess right, you have to be right for the right reason.

I learn a tremendous amount from Mutant's contributions, both about finance generally and about the mechanics of the finance industry. Malor has been saying what exactly? That the problems are because of money not being tied to gold or the fed printing too much money for decades? We didn't have this problem for decades, and fiat money has as much to do with this crisis as the infield-fly rule. What exactly is his thesis? Who knows. But this:

Mutant is a banker. He's one of those who has been most scornful of my position, and one of those who has been most consistently wrong.
posted by Malor at 4:36 PM on March 25


is unfair. To accuse someone of being "consistently wrong" when they aren't involved in the conversation and it is known that they their very nice living as an expert in the field being discussed is more than dirty pool. It's defamatory.

Mutant has been very generous about making his professional life something of an open book on this site. We know he's a professor of finance and worked in finance. He is an expert about a subject that is at least as technical as engineering and medicine, and perhaps moreso. To accuse him of being consistently wrong gives him no choice but to rush in to defend himself out of concern that his silence is taken as assent.

If the subject was bridges, and Mutant was a career bridge builder, Malor would basically be a guy who has seen a lot of bridges and maybe sketched one or two. But no one would ever take Malor's advice over Mutant's on the subject of why a bridge collapsed.

But for some reason in questions of finance, people get jealous and it affects their judgment. Mutant got called out because that AIG thread was all about "sticking it to the rich pigs, maaannnn." That's why Malor states "Mutant is a banker" as if the word "banker" was synonymous with "repeat child sex offender rapist baby killer."

Some people in the world are smart, and they have decided that rather than toil away in some forgotten lab, they'll make some money and ensure their families future. But somehow people get it into their heads that smart people are only allowed to work jobs that benefit the People(TM), like alternative energy and healthcare.

The fact that Mutant got dragged into that thread the way he did is emblematic of how these days ignorance and rage are standing in for logic. "He's a banker man, he can't be trusted." This is the same kind of nonsense we saw at the theater of the absurd that is the ongoing House of Representatives hearsings on the crisis

We need to create an environment where people with the depth, expertise, and patience of people like Mutant become regular contributors in all threads, not just those in their area of expertise. Smart people tend to be smart about things besides the one they make money in. (Did you know Mutant is an art collector?) They have disciplined and curious minds. The irrational rage and armchair experts we can get anywhere, especially when it is saying nothing that we haven't heard dozens of times before.
posted by Pastabagel at 6:39 PM on March 25, 2009 [38 favorites]


Are we measuring our cocks for length, girth or weight?

Here's how it's done.
posted by gman at 6:40 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Measure your respective cocks elsewhere.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:43 PM on March 25, 2009


...At the end of the day, the site has 40,000 members...

And if each of them would send me just one dollar, I'd ask Mutant for advice on the best way to invest that money. Why Mutant? Cause every other banker I've ever seen wore a suit and tie, and that's so boring.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:43 PM on March 25, 2009


hang on, how did you measure those 40,000 members?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:46 PM on March 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


The thing I hate about meet-ups is that there's always this cock-measuring going on and I'm just trying to enjoy a nice beverage. Also, someone's dick ALWAYS ends up in the mashed potatoes.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:49 PM on March 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


UbuRoivas: "hang on, how did you measure those 40,000 members?"

One member at a time.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:49 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


WPW: "73Malor didn't bring Mutant's name into the thread, but that's beside the point. Lupus could have been corrected without mentioning Mutant, "I'm not a banker, I think you're confusing me with someone else". Indeed, Malocchio had already corrected Lupus, so there was no need to go into it at all."

This reads like the Cliff notes from The Mutant of Venice.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:54 PM on March 25, 2009 [10 favorites]


"He's a banker man, he can't be trusted."

Despite the favorites this comment is collecting, nowhere does this quote show up in the thread in question.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:57 PM on March 25, 2009


I really have to say, though -- Mutant's absolutely right. Malor's invocation of his name was totally and completely classless. That's why Mutant didn't show up in the thread, of course.

In order to invoke Mutant() in a way that actually returns a legitimate nonzero, he should have defined a datatype by initializing a class in which the instance can reside:

struct mefite
{
string username;
int usernumber;
string summon() const;
};

string mefite::summon(mefite) const
{
string comment
comment = snark(username)
cout <> };

mefite Mutant;
Mutant = %banker%;
string a;
a = summon(Mutant);


Of course, there will probably be some trouble when he gets to the compiler - I mean, he can pretty easily avoid using export, but if he wants to do any exception handling (and I don't remember the last time I saw a metafilter thread that didn't raise exceptions) then he'd probably be better off porting to a more dynamic language like Python.
posted by koeselitz at 7:04 PM on March 25, 2009 [9 favorites]


Fuck'em both.


More meetups and hugs and less BS on the grey, please.

K U can dl33t now thx bye!
posted by mds35 at 7:05 PM on March 25, 2009


---> FLAUNTS RULES <---
posted by lukemeister at 7:07 PM on March 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Argh. Stupid preview. Line 12 should be:

cout >> comment

posted by koeselitz at 7:08 PM on March 25, 2009


Lighten up, Francis.
posted by electroboy at 7:08 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's what happened in the thread:

1. Someone (lupus) gave due props to Malor due to his history of prior history of insights and finance on MeFi.
 1. As a banker, Malor's credentials to discuss this are impeccable. What are yours?
...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:25 PM on March 25 [+] [!]

2. Someone else responded that they had probably confused Malor with Mutant.
 I think you've confused Malor for Mutant.
posted by malocchio at 3:41 PM on March 25 [4 favorites +] [!]

3. Malor seconds this and admits that he does not have Mutant's credentials, but instead of saying 'Mutant is a banker {not me, you got the wrong guy blah blah blah}' he says just 'I'm not a banker ...{but I could be correct anyway}... Mutant is a banker {and he's been wrong}' as he has explained upthread here (his bit about italics). This seems to have caused some confusion.


#######

I can't understand why this hasn't been sorted out by now and we aren't rubbing out the details of this dick measuring contest thing? By the way, the only way to properly score this contest is in stones.
posted by xorry at 7:25 PM on March 25, 2009


The thing I hate about meet-ups is that there's always this cock-measuring going on and I'm just trying to enjoy a nice beverage. Also, someone's dick ALWAYS ends up in the mashed potatoes.

Well, sure. An easy way to measure for volume.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:26 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


If the subject was bridges, and Mutant was a career bridge builder, Malor would basically be a guy who has seen a lot of bridges and maybe sketched one or two. But no one would ever take Malor's advice over Mutant's on the subject of why a bridge collapsed.

This is a great analogy. Brings to light exactly what I think of the subject as well. If all the bridges were collapsing because they were publicly funded but unregulated and Mutant (or whoever, really), while a fine and upstanding bridge builder himself, was conspicuously silent on the notoriously unethical bridge-building community, or even for all we know did work with them daily, then hello, yes, I would prefer to hear what Malor (or whoever, really) has to say on the subject much more than Mutant.

But in all honesty, I'm taking Krugman over both. I bet he can look so cutely awkward and sexy talking about bridges.
posted by birdie birdington at 7:27 PM on March 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


from gman's totally awesome link:



When measuring my flaccid cock I tried to take measurements at times when my arousal levels were at a minimum, e.g. whilst doing housework, whilst watching the news... times of the day when my mind wasn't occupied with sex. When taking erect measurements I took them during differing levels of arousal. For example measurements 1, 4, 6 and 8 were taken when I woke up with morning wood (these measurements on average are the smallest, suggesting my morning erections are generally not as strong as at other times). The others were mostly measured during masturbation, with the larger measurements number 9, being taken just moments before I shot, and number 5 being taken during sex with my partner (just after the foreplay when I dashed to the bedroom to grab some lube!). Suggesting, as I already thought, that erections are stronger the more aroused and the closer to orgasm I am...


(emphasis mine)
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:35 PM on March 25, 2009


Oh. Jesus. What threat? There was no threat.

seconded. if he wanted to be threatening, he'd say something like "well tommorow is your lucky day, punk ass piece of shit, i'll be at the Shaws supermarket in Manchester CT, 8:30am, buying soda with fr0zens money, and guess what, she'll be there to, so she can watch you get your ass kicked!...."
posted by lia at 7:43 PM on March 25, 2009 [14 favorites]


"hang on, how did you measure those 40,000 members?"

Same, as in town. $20 at a time.
posted by ericb at 7:49 PM on March 25, 2009


$20 at a time.

Hmm, 20 bucks times 40,000, now we're talking.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:18 PM on March 25, 2009


This is one of the dumbest spats on record
posted by nola at 8:24 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, sure. An easy way to measure for volume.

and to create a handy well for the gravy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:44 PM on March 25, 2009


Ubu, that's not gravy.
posted by koeselitz at 8:44 PM on March 25, 2009


Well, the *first* displacement was gravy.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:13 PM on March 25, 2009


"Are we measuring our cocks for length, girth or weight? And would you like the results in English, metric or cubits?"

Displacement. That's what the mashed… CURSE YOU BOOKHOUSE! If I ever see you at a meetup, you'd better hope the potatoes … are cool enough for dipping!
posted by klangklangston at 9:13 PM on March 25, 2009


Are we measuring our cocks for length, girth or weight?

"Weight" is incorrect, what you mean is "heft".
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:22 PM on March 25, 2009


A choda is a cock that is fatter than it is long.

That's all kind of awesome, don't ya think?
posted by bardic at 9:32 PM on March 25, 2009


Now that Mutant has stated his preference that his name not be mentioned unless he is already participating in the thread, can there be deletions of all future instances where his fanboys call for Mutant to please come explain this fancy money stuff to us? The constant sucking up to the banker, especially at this point in our history, makes me gag a little, even if our banker is always seen in costume for the naughty side of town. I usually can't make it through the first third of his comments, past the point where I realize who the author is. He's like Zachsmind in that way. I think I've learned something of what has happened to the economy through links here to the Planet Money series or the article by Liar's Poker author Michael Lewis, for example. Links to pdfs of academic papers discussing complicated financial minutia, not so much, not any more than if every thread mentioning the iPhone inspired the electrical engineers amongst us to drop links to circuit diagrams and assembly code. Maybe there are hundreds of readers here who thanks to Mutant's generosity now so understand the calculus of credit default swaps that they'd prove my skepticism wrong, but claim to cred through display of one man's professional reading list often looks like nothing but dick wagging to me. And isn't bankers' dick wagging what brought us to this mess?
posted by TimTypeZed at 10:36 PM on March 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


If the subject was bridges, and Mutant was a career bridge builder, Malor would basically be a guy who has seen a lot of bridges and maybe sketched one or two. But no one would ever take Malor's advice over Mutant's on the subject of why a bridge collapsed.

Shit, I've been saying for years that bridges collapse because of gravity - and I'm fucking right too, the opinions of "engineers" and "construction professionals" be damned. Know all those industrial accidents that claim the lives of hard-working people like you and I every year? Well, everyone of those zeppelin collisions and combine explosions can be traced back to - you guess it - "engineers" and "construction professionals".
Case closed.

I agree with jessamyn that it's inappropriate to talk about or mock former MeFites whose accounts have been disabled. But personally, I think that sentiment logically can and should be extended to current and active members who have been disparaged in conversations which they have not participated in - the assholish ending of Malor's comment should have been excised or the whole stupid thing deleted, since someone else had already clarified who was who.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:40 PM on March 25, 2009


What we need to do here is ban every user whose name begins with a capital M.

Fuck you koeselitz, that's the last straw. You'd better get ready, because I am on my way to the airport right now.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:03 PM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


The use of engineering as an analogy for banking throws up an interesting point.

Engineers employ a concept called the "factor of safety" or "margin of safety", which roughly means the amount to which something is deliberately designed to be able to withstand amounts of stress beyond the expected maximum load.

Depending on the structure & its purpose, the factor of safety might be anything from, say, +25% to many multiples of the maximum expected stress.

From memory, I think the Sydney Harbour Bridge, for example, was designed to be able to carry something like three times the weight of cars that could possibly fit crammed bumper-to-bumper across the entire span.

When you think of Wall St, and the way that every last fraction of a percentage point counts, it's easy to conclude that firms are required to operate right at the very bleeding marginal edges of safety, or else in the stratospheric world of abstracted graphs & figures, they'll appear to be uncompetitive, and wouldn't be able to trade for more than five minutes without going under.

I'd be tempted to liken them to F1 racing teams trying to extract every last millisecond out of their cars - at substantial risk - in comparison to long-haul logistics companies who are more interested in providing a safe & reliable long-term service.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:16 PM on March 25, 2009


Wow, Pastabagel, you got the situation completely wrong, methinks. hugs anyways, this is MeTa afterall

1. The current crisis was decades in the makings, and so claiming that someone who saw it coming all of five, long years ago was thus wrong because they predicted things too early simply doesn't make any sense to me. And as for getting the exact timing down, well, Malor owns up to his mistakes as far as that goes in the very same comment.

2. Malor wasn't saying "Malor was a banker. Boo-hiss!" He was very clearly correcting an easy mistake to make between the two most notable finance-talking-guys on the site who happen to have similar names. In this context, even the "consistently wrong" bit strikes me as in the vicinity of kosher, because he was referencing the well-known ideological disparity between the two of them, and as this call-out shows, it's not like there's any love lost there. Within the context of the site, I thought the comment made some sense.

3. Your engineer metaphor can only be even somewhat apt if we imagine a scenario wherein the bridges of the world all suddenly collapsed during the same time period, due to a now-obvious engineering flaw which meant that one large bridge collapsing would take down all of the others, and where the contractors building the bridges are screaming that anything other than their own proven-to-be-disastrous techniques are tantamount to socialism or communism. Then it holds water, but your conclusions with it might not, so much.

Now I'm not saying any of this to disparage you, Pastabagel, or Mutant. My own understanding of finance is juuuuuussst barely refined enough to know that any number of smart people can look at it from an equal number of ways and come up with an equal number of conflicting conclusions. I can't say whether Mutant or Malor is, in fact, more correct more often than the other. I'll also add that Mutant has been pretty polite about this, even if I think the call-out was unnecessary. I like you, Pastabagel. I like Mutant, and I like Malor as well. In fact, I can only think of a single mefite who I truly dislike, and that motherfucker probably has me killfiled anyway, so it don't matter. (Pony: I'd love an option whereby any user who adopts killfiles can be blocked in return by the general public. Actually, I'd hate the hypocrisy in that, but I'd still find it amusing.)

So yeah, no matter who's right, I think you might be reading more into Malor's comment than was intended.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:37 PM on March 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


I agree with TimTypeZed wholeheartedly

Of the two bickerers, I find Mutant to be the greater asshat by far. Killfiles? Grow the fuck up. Not everyone is going to fawn over you just for posting long 'helpful' notetakings in finance threads just because you're a financier. Some people will discount what you say because of your insider's perspective, and you need to accept that as a valid POV if you're going to speak from a position of authority so often.

You really don't have to summarize a chapter in your textbook for us just because there's a thread about some current event related to finance. Do you really write your 1500-word comments just for us, or do you copy and paste from your lecture notes or something?
posted by blasdelf at 12:56 AM on March 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you've been predicting something since 2004 and it happened late in 2008, you aren't prescient. You are a stopped clock. People made and kept fortunes between 2004 and 2007, which is when the top was actually put in.

This is so unfair I have difficulty accepting that you believe it. Jim Rogers, one of the more well known private investors using fundamental analysis - that is he identifies the "right reasons" consistently, will freely acknowledge that he is a horrible market timer and that his positions are sometimes years early. Your post is completely partisan, and the above reads like nothing more than a cheap shot.

I certainly haven't read every comment that Malor has made on the economy over the years but I've read a number of them. And to imply that his repeated pointing out and insisting on the importance of the trade deficit, total debt, unfunded federal liabilities and size of the derivatives market is "irrational rage" is just outrageous.

Also, "...fiat money has as much to do with this crisis as the infield-fly rule" - LOLOLOLOL!
posted by BigSky at 1:11 AM on March 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


I reserve the following inalienable rights:

1. To disagree with anything someone else types here.

2. To misunderstand anything anyone types here.

3. To shake my head and go WTF? at some of the things people type here.

None of that gives me leave to be an asshat or to be judgemental of other people anymore than anyone else.

However, I'd probably suggest at this point that this thread has run its course and should be closed; further questions/angsts can be handled via email.
posted by pjern at 1:27 AM on March 26, 2009


I reserve the following inalienable rights:

1. To disagree with anything someone else types here.

2. To misunderstand anything anyone types here.

3. To shake my head and go WTF? at some of the things people type here.


4. To be so fucking drunk and/or high that I can't fucking figure out what the fuck is going on in this fucking thread anymore.
posted by ericb at 1:38 AM on March 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let's be honest, the only real reason to go to any of these MeFi Meetups is to down some copious amounts of liquid courage and then settle your festering Internet grudges in the way you always wanted to.

MeFi Meetups: Come get your monkey ass kicked.
posted by dgaicun at 1:59 AM on March 26, 2009


Mutant is clearly an expert in finance. In the last 12 months, many experts have been wrong, badly.
Malor is clearly an amateur, with issues around fiat money and other non-mainstream financial opinions.
Malor was (and aspargirl) right about the approach the Fed was taking towards pumping liquidity into the system. I remember a very black and white disagreement where Malor was concerned the Fed was taking toxic assets as collateral for loans at face value, where Mutant argued we did not know that, and he believed it was very unlikely. It was, however, what was happening.
I suspect that Mutant did not think such behaviour was wise, and attributed more wisdom to Bernanke than was ultimately shown - but as it turned out, Malor *was* right.
I really like Mutant's comments, and I wish the two M's would go head to head more often. Criticising Malor for harping on about the expansion of credit for 5 years, when it was only in the last year things went pear shaped is unfair.
As I have said, I disagree with his "only gold" viewpoint, but much of his underlying analysis has been spot on, just, in my opinion, the conclusion to buy gold is flawed (although he would have looked pretty good this year versus equities).
Mutant has a wide and deep understanding of finance, and he is very good at presenting the latest ideas, but Malor is right that his conclusions have largely been optimistic as the global crisis has unfolded.
That said, Mutant has taught me more, but Malor has been more correct (stopped clock or not) in the last year.
I wish they wouldn't get into personal fights, and I can understand Mautant's complaint, but I would also prefer he tackle Malor head on rather than through call outs.
posted by bystander at 4:52 AM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I should also point out I have reference Malor as a "gold bug" several times in threads when he hasn't commented, without his complaint. So maybe a bit more patience wouldn't hurt, too.
posted by bystander at 4:54 AM on March 26, 2009


"Granny panties notwithstanding...."

After reading only these three words I knew that cortex made this comment and should be in a band named this.
posted by fleacircus at 5:05 AM on March 26, 2009


You guys don't talk about me when I'm not around, do you?

Why not?
posted by koeselitz at 3:31 PM on March 25 [+] [!]


I'd just like to point out that koeselitz is a neo-con Straussian warmonger with so little energeia in his techne he might as well measure it with milk-displacement.

He's not here is he? Good.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:39 AM on March 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


No, you're being mentioned offhand in a thread. There is no grand drama here, no crowd waiting hushed to see Whether Or Not Mutant Will Defend Himself. You have created by posting this thread an order of magnitude more ruckus and attention for yourself than anything that's happened over there so far.

If you don't want to get into a debate about who was right and wrong, don't. No one will be heartbroken, no one will think less of you, and we can all go on with our day.


I don't know about this. So, there could be a thread about something you have talked about before that you're not participating in, and it's cool for me to just go, "Oh, hey, this is a thing Cortex has talked about before, and he's always wrong about it"?

I don't know how that could be considered a valid part of the discussion at hand, nor why you should have to live with another user asserting to everyone reading the thread, including those that have never read your comments before, that he or she is bad or wrong.
posted by ignignokt at 7:08 AM on March 26, 2009


B-but I like both of them!
C'mon, guys, don't fight! Please?

(Incidentally, a while back when I joked that Malor was the trap card for the Mutant Card, I had no idea that I was actually hitting any nails on the head. Oh, and I just now saw the Summon Mutant card goodnewsfortheinsane linked to. Bravo! We still need that trap card, tho.)
posted by cimbrog at 7:16 AM on March 26, 2009


tkchrist: I will also wear one boxing glove and carry a trident.

I think that from now on, whenever I Mean Business (or I'm going to a meetup), I'm going to put on one boxing glove. And perhaps I'll also wear a gi and remove a pec.
posted by ignignokt at 7:23 AM on March 26, 2009


I don't know about this. So, there could be a thread about something you have talked about before that you're not participating in, and it's cool for me to just go, "Oh, hey, this is a thing Cortex has talked about before, and he's always wrong about it"?

My take is: if it's something I have talked about on the site before a lot, and that's all you're going to say on the subject, yeah, I'm not really going to have a big problem with it. It might strike me as being on the weak side, but I have worse problems than a one-off reference to something someone thinks I've been prominently wrong about. I have a right to my opinions, and other people in the community have a right to remember those opinions and question them at a base level; that's part of how community works, though I believe pretty strongly int he value of cutting people some slack too, as far as that goes.

To be clear, we don't want people running around constantly invoking other users in some sort of malicious gotcha game. As a pattern of behavior it sucks, and like we've said we do our best to keep that sort of thing contained and discourage it when we see it happening. But there's a measure of reasonableness that has to come into it—just as we're not going to give someone a timeout for calling another user a "meanypants" in a random exchange, we're not going to see on offhand reference as grounds for dramatic action. In either case I think a callout would be beyond a necessary or proportional response, for one thing.

With the established Malor Vs. Mutant dynamic, it's muddier than baseline normal and I'd be thrilled if, barring anything more nuanced and peace-making between the two, they just never mentioned on another again if that's what it takes to not hear about it anymore. But that's certainly not something we're going to enforce with a like zero-tolerance policy. We expect people to behave reasonably well, but we also expect people to behave reasonably well about other people's occasional poor behavior.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:41 AM on March 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't know how that could be considered a valid part of the discussion at hand

Once again, people saying this are missing the point that Malor didn't just bring it up out of the blue.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:16 AM on March 26, 2009


I'm confused. I'll admit to skimming. Is Mutant mad because Malor called him a banker? Because Mutant self-reports as a banker in his own profile:

I'm a Banker both by education and profession, and a lifelong Student of the Markets. In this profile I provide both resources and a plan which will help you become a Student of the Markets, if that is your goal.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:39 AM on March 26, 2009


Banking and finance are not nearly as complicated as the Mandarins want us to believe, and "expertise" in these areas more often than not is used to muddy the waters and discourage rational inquiry. That much should be patently obvious to anyone closely following the last year or so of economic news. Enron employed experts, Madoff employed experts, AIG employed experts. My understanding is that Mutant is an accountant, but I could be wrong. The accountants who work for hedge funds and investment houses are trained in exploiting loopholes. Thus, they may not be the best judge of our current financial crisis. Furthermore, people seem easily swayed by jargon in finance. I actually think business people (I was one once, a sales manager) are sometimes better attuned to sniffing out b.s. The nature of our capitalist system is such that there is a lot of talk about finance as if it can always be trusted: but we should see now the extent to which so much of it was a giant Ponzi scheme. I'm frankly amazed that we're still debating the merits of expertise in finance. As far as I'm concerned, understanding the deeper, macroeconomic trends at work in global finance for the last 10-20 years is far more important that understanding all the ins and outs of the latest financial gadgetry and exotic tools. My 2 cents, FWIW.
posted by ornate insect at 8:42 AM on March 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Let's not forget that you're a banker, right?

Right now you people are like lepers or something. Just wait a few years and lawyers will float back to the top of being the most hated people in the US.

I understand that you personally were probably not responsible for any part of the current crisis, but every time I read another article about what happened I kind of want to put everyone in jail forever.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:44 AM on March 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


Dude.

He's right.

Get over it.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:53 AM on March 26, 2009


If I misinterpreted Malor's statement "Mutant is a banker," as something other than a statement of fact, well, I apologize. But when read in context, it certainly seemed to be more than that. But I could easily have misread that, so sorry.

But I do not retract my statement about that prediciting a crash long before the market has even finished running up is not much of a prediction. The difference between what Malor said and what Jim Rogers does is that Rogers takes a specific, objectively determinable position. He buys X, and they everyone in the world can see whether that trade was good or not. Furthermore, the statement above: "[Rogers] will freely acknowledge that he is a horrible market timer and that his positions are sometimes years early" means that being years early constitutes horrible market timing. Malor was 3 years ahead of the top and 4 years ahead of the collapse.

My problem is not with Malor, it is with people taking credit for predicitions they didn't actually make and criticizing people who have useful and actionable information because they are insiders.

For example, when I wrote "top" and "collapse," what was I talking about? GDP growth? Rates? I was talking about the S&P 500. I use the S&P because everyone knows what it is, there is no dispute about what that number was on any given day, and it is a tradeable entity in both directions. I can't trade GDP directly. So if you want to get credit for a prediction, the prediction needs to be specific and actionable. You can't say "the economy is going down," as Maolr did and claim that's a prediction, because that statement doesn't mean anything. Is the "economy" the GDP, unemployment, the S&P 500, the Wilshire 5000, the dollar vs. the euro, rates, household debt, what?

Malor made his 2004 "prediction" at S&P 500=1210. The 2007 high was 1561. He missed 29% upside and 3 years of dividends. Right now it is 820. That's a 32% decline from his 2004 call. That's a big drop obviously, but it pales in comparison to the 2000-2001 drop.

More importantly, and this gets to my point about actionable information, look at a 2004-present S&P chart. From the 2007 high to early September of 2008, that decline is the housing bust and mortgage industry death decline. But that decline only goes down to about 1100-1200 which is well within normal index "correction" territory.

But it was the credit crisis - the collapse of AIG, Lehman, and the scarcity of interbank credit that triggered the massive collapse of the market from mid September through early October.

Malor's 2004 prediction, if you assume when he says "economy" he means S&P index and not something else at best explains through August of 2008. But it is Mutant's explanations of the real problems, earlier in 2008, that explained in the interlocking nature of the risks in the system.

Here is the May 2008 post about NPR's The Giant Pool of Money. Both Malor and Mutant contributed to the thread. It was precisely Mutant comments in this thread that I sent around to people the morning of 9/15 when Lehman went belly up to explain that the the bottom card in the house of cards has been pulled out.

Now it's unfair to call out Malor the way I'm doing here because by his own admission he isn't an expert and Mutant is. I'm simply making a point. Even if Mutant himself were solely reponsible for the financial crisis, his comments are still valuable. We don't need people making predictions because predictions are stupid -- no one can predict the future, so why bother?

But we all must act now based on our ability to project current circumstances into the future in order to plan our lives. To make these projections, you need to understand the world as it is now. Mutant has that understanding and he's been very generous with sharing it with us. More knowledge and information, more understand, and less wild predicting in the hopes that one hits and we can brag about it.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:00 AM on March 26, 2009


Also, that summon Mutant card is awesome. How many of those are there?
posted by Pastabagel at 9:02 AM on March 26, 2009


As for peas under mattresses, this one takes the cake.

Hmm, perhaps there's a re-write of I've Got The World On a String in there...

I've got a mattress on a pea,
pea upon a pillow...
[blah blah blah blah blah]
What a world! What a life!
I'm in love.


It's like Make a Mountain out of a Molehill, rotifer and paramecium edition.
posted by y2karl at 9:09 AM on March 26, 2009


"Banking and finance are not nearly as complicated as the Mandarins want us to believe, and "expertise" in these areas more often than not is used to muddy the waters and discourage rational inquiry.

So, we start out with portraying financial experts as Mandarins, determined to snow us innocents. This can only get better.

"That much should be patently obvious to anyone closely following the last year or so of economic news. Enron employed experts, Madoff employed experts, AIG employed experts."

My uncle went to a doctor, and he died. Doctors can't be trusted! Ad hominems make you stupid.

"My understanding is that Mutant is an accountant, but I could be wrong. The accountants who work for hedge funds and investment houses are trained in exploiting loopholes. Thus, they may not be the best judge of our current financial crisis."

Tax accountants are trained in spotting loopholes, therefore we shouldn't trust their opinion on tax law. Your first thing? It does not support the second thing. That they may not be the best judges of our current crisis has nothing to do with training in exploiting loopholes. In fact, the expertise in exploiting loopholes would be handy in explaining how loopholes were exploited. And none of this has anything to do with anything unless Mutant is primarily an accountant.

"Furthermore, people seem easily swayed by jargon in finance. I actually think business people (I was one once, a sales manager) are sometimes better attuned to sniffing out b.s."

I once worked in a Mexican restaurant, so I know when you're serving me a plate of shit. People "seem"? Plus a vague advancement of your bona fides?

"The nature of our capitalist system is such that there is a lot of talk about finance as if it can always be trusted: but we should see now the extent to which so much of it was a giant Ponzi scheme."

Well, no, you mean pyramid scheme, as Bernie Madoff isn't the same as the premise of ever-increasing growth. And the recent financial collapse hasn't really changed the underlying precepts of capitalism any more than other historical depressions. In other words, that's a lot of rhetoric to say nothing except how you feel.

"I'm frankly amazed that we're still debating the merits of expertise in finance."

Perhaps because you have none.

"As far as I'm concerned, understanding the deeper, macroeconomic trends at work in global finance for the last 10-20 years is far more important that understanding all the ins and outs of the latest financial gadgetry and exotic tools.

Which is why you don't work in finance. First, you're setting a false dichotomy, in that it's entirely possible to understand both. Second, you're implying that you do understand the macro causes (debatable) while simultaneously implying that folks who understand how complicated instruments work don't. It's like saying that it's more important to understand Newtonian physics than string theory.

My 2 cents, FWIW."

Not much.
posted by klangklangston at 10:19 AM on March 26, 2009


Banking and finance are not nearly as complicated as the Mandarins want us to believe, and "expertise" in these areas more often than not is used to muddy the waters and discourage rational inquiry.

I think there's going to be a lot of openings in this line of work, so you'll get your chance.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:46 AM on March 26, 2009


My take is: if it's something I have talked about on the site before a lot, and that's all you're going to say on the subject, yeah, I'm not really going to have a big problem with it.

I've been the victim of this before in threads where I was the person with subject-matter expertise. Whining on the grey does nothing. People were calling out the person right away anyway.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:53 AM on March 26, 2009


Proposal: If you need to insult or detract someone, just put my username in place of theirs. I won't complain, whine, or post a callout.

Potential downside: Huge increase in MetaTalk threads from new users asking why everyone hates me so much.
posted by owtytrof at 11:33 AM on March 26, 2009


Silver lining: various misspellings of your username will provide fascinating data for natural language research.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:53 AM on March 26, 2009


You know who can go fuck a rusty tailpipe? Owtytrof. I DON'T CARE WHO KNOWS IT AND I WILL SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS AND NOW I WILL DISABLE MY ACCOUNT
posted by Skot at 12:22 PM on March 26, 2009


a "don't start crazily slagging another in absentia" pragma in play around here

Pragma?

*looks around for pragmatic magma*
posted by scody at 12:34 PM on March 26, 2009


Sorry, my computer science was showing.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:37 PM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


that's okay. I still don't know what it means. (My English major is showing.)
posted by scody at 12:39 PM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


though I still like the idea of pragmatic magma, conceptually. Lava flow that thoughtfully carves out the best rivers and streams for future generations!
posted by scody at 12:41 PM on March 26, 2009


I thought this thread got closed? I've got a board with some rusty nails in it, and I'm joining up with the Mutant gang. As long as the initiation isn't too rough.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:47 PM on March 26, 2009


I think of it as meaning, roughly: a directive, a practical approach, a guideline for proceeding. The idea of a pragma being, in essence, a pragmatic method of approaching a general problem.

Apparently that has over the years managed to slip in my mind from being a knowingly idiosyncratic bit of applied programming jargon (a #pragma in C/C++, for example, tells the compiler something about how to go about compiling a program) to casual usage. I was surprised to get no relevant non-programming hits for it when I went googling just now.

posted by cortex (staff) at 12:54 PM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and if tattoos are required, please, not on the face.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:21 PM on March 26, 2009


I got bored with rusty nails, and switched to drinking Loch Lomonds instead.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:31 PM on March 26, 2009


I'm a step ahead of ya, Skot. Except for the whole fucking a rusty tailpipe thing.
posted by owtytrof at 1:36 PM on March 26, 2009


I can't trade GDP directly. So if you want to get credit for a prediction, the prediction needs to be specific and actionable. You can't say "the economy is going down," as Maolr did and claim that's a prediction,

I think you are mischaracterising Malor's point and motivation. I think he clearly states, repeatedly, that the growth in credit was unsustainable and provided an extremely large systemic risk. His conclusion was that a commodity backed currency would stop the increase in the money supply fueling this unsustainable growth and that we should all be very concerned about this systemic risk, because it was so large and so systemic.
That he didn't supply dates and estimated figures to allow you to trade his prediction is, frankly, bullshit. He is not your financial advisor, but a concerned, admitted amateur.
If in 1972 he raised the same concerns, then it is fair to call him wrong, as the economy has been through several cycles since then, but the conditions he railed against persisted until the financial collapse did come.
In this respect he is like many financial journalists, who will predict the future direction, but not the timing, and he shouldn't be criticised for that, he isn't taking a commission from you, and he is stating an opinion.
We don't criticise the global warming crew who have been warning about CO2 build up for years insisting they tell us when the disaster is actually going to hit so I can sell my insurance bonds because I want to drive my hummer a little while longer.
Similarly, Malor provided a consistent warning that would have mitigated some of our current troubles had the rule makers and policy setters acted more swiftly.
I personally think that doesn't require replacing fiat money, and a commodity backed currency has too many downsides, but he was right about what was causing the problem.
posted by bystander at 1:46 PM on March 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


I predict that the economy will make a recovery. Remember that I have said this. Make a note of this date. When this happens send me money to make other predictions.
posted by ob at 1:53 PM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I predict it will crash again after ob's predicted recovery. Hold onto your money and send it to me when I am proved right.
posted by bystander at 2:09 PM on March 26, 2009


me: Banking and finance are not nearly as complicated as the Mandarins want us to believe, and "expertise" in these areas more often than not is used to muddy the waters and discourage rational inquiry.

kk: So, we start out with portraying financial experts as Mandarins, determined to snow us innocents. This can only get better.

me: no, we start out by saying there is a tendency among some financial experts to claim an expertise that is not always germane to the topic or entirely warranted. The implication is that among financial experts there are Mandarins, not that all financial experts are mandarins. You do understand that difference? And do you deny that there are financial "expertise" is sometimes used as a way of discouraging non-financial experts from rational inquiry into the workings of the market? I'm not sure how such a statement is controversial.

me: "That much should be patently obvious to anyone closely following the last year or so of economic news. Enron employed experts, Madoff employed experts, AIG employed experts."

kk: My uncle went to a doctor, and he died. Doctors can't be trusted! Ad hominems make you stupid.

me: Actually if you want to purse the medical analogy it works even better for the point I'm trying to make here. When someone feels a doctor egregiously misdiagnosed and mistreated a patient, there exists malpractice as a possible legal recourse. Since every commentator has by now admitted that the recent financial collapse was due in no small part to both the reckless speculative gambling of a few insiders (such as Joseph Cassano) taking advantage of deregulated markets and new exotic financial tools, as well as to a general tendency among investment agencies to fudge the books (Madoff being an extreme example) , then the question becomes: if the patient is the global economy, and the doctor is the predatory practices of certain investors, how can we rectify the situation? It may be analogical, but it's not ad hominem. Again, nothing I'm saying here would appear controversial even to readers of the WSJ.

me: "My understanding is that Mutant is an accountant, but I could be wrong. The accountants who work for hedge funds and investment houses are trained in exploiting loopholes. Thus, they may not be the best judge of our current financial crisis."

kk: Tax accountants are trained in spotting loopholes, therefore we shouldn't trust their opinion on tax law. Your first thing? It does not support the second thing. That they may not be the best judges of our current crisis has nothing to do with training in exploiting loopholes. In fact, the expertise in exploiting loopholes would be handy in explaining how loopholes were exploited. And none of this has anything to do with anything unless Mutant is primarily an accountant.

me: yes, if they come clean and admit that a big part of what they do is look for loopholes, then of course accountants can be quite useful in familiarizing us with how loopholes were exploited; you are certainly correct. But not every accountant seem to want to admit as much.

me: "Furthermore, people seem easily swayed by jargon in finance. I actually think business people (I was one once, a sales manager) are sometimes better attuned to sniffing out b.s."

kk: I once worked in a Mexican restaurant, so I know when you're serving me a plate of shit. People "seem"? Plus a vague advancement of your bona fides?

me: A specific advancement of my bonafides might be useful here to illustrate my larger point: I once worked for a small silicon valley-based startup during the height of the dot come bust, and it was in that boiler room atmosphere that I learned first-hand how much bullshitting occurs in business. Business plans that had no business being funded got funded easily. So naturally I am suspect of a lot of the jargon that winds up being used to discuss finance. I'm sure this won't matter to you, however, since you seem incapable of sorting through what I offer as opinion (i.e. my entire fucking post) and what I offer as fact. It did not occur to me that my post would be interpreted as the last word on the subject. I do not claim to be offering anything other than my opinion. Take it or leave it.

me: "The nature of our capitalist system is such that there is a lot of talk about finance as if it can always be trusted: but we should see now the extent to which so much of it was a giant Ponzi scheme."

kk: Well, no, you mean pyramid scheme, as Bernie Madoff isn't the same as the premise of ever-increasing growth. And the recent financial collapse hasn't really changed the underlying precepts of capitalism any more than other historical depressions. In other words, that's a lot of rhetoric to say nothing except how you feel.

me: Who said the collapse had changed "the underlying precepts of capitalism"? I would venture that the recent collapse EXPOSES some of the the underlying precepts of capitalism. Precepts which I am suggesting be ingested with a good deal of salt.

me: "I'm frankly amazed that we're still debating the merits of expertise in finance."

kk: Perhaps because you have none.

me: Now who's jumping to conclusions?

me: "As far as I'm concerned, understanding the deeper, macroeconomic trends at work in global finance for the last 10-20 years is far more important that understanding all the ins and outs of the latest financial gadgetry and exotic tools.

kk: Which is why you don't work in finance. First, you're setting a false dichotomy, in that it's entirely possible to understand both. Second, you're implying that you do understand the macro causes (debatable) while simultaneously implying that folks who understand how complicated instruments work don't. It's like saying that it's more important to understand Newtonian physics than string theory.

me: How do you know where I work, and what difference does it make? Let me be clear: of course insiders in banking can understand the overall dynamics and explain them. But the inclination among some (some, not all) of the experts in the field is to, unlike physics, make it seem both more rational and more complicated than it really is. Finance is not physics. It does not structure itself with the same kinds of nomological precision as physics does: ultimately the market is not rational, the systems being designed are subject to human error and manipulation, and the units in question (assets and capital vs. quarks and atoms) are not comparable in any way other than one that causes confusion.

me: My 2 cents, FWIW."

kk: Not much.

me: Another gratuitous an mean-spirited swipe by someone who has totally refuse to address my overall points: i.e. that finance-speak is often used to intimidate and discourage people from understanding, and that the perceived complexity of finance can be, and sometimes is, used as a smokescreen.
posted by ornate insect at 2:29 PM on March 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


I predict it will crash again after ob's predicted recovery. Hold onto your money and send it to me when I am proved right.

No, no, no. Everything's going to be ok. This is just scaremongering. Even if it does fall a bit it will recover. It has to. Think about it. It's the way that things have always worked. Really, give me your money.
posted by ob at 2:43 PM on March 26, 2009


Right! Fractals will be the basis of the Obamaconomy!
posted by lukemeister at 3:14 PM on March 26, 2009


"Malor was (and aspargirl) right about the approach the Fed was taking towards pumping liquidity into the system. I remember a very black and white disagreement where Malor was concerned the Fed was taking toxic assets as collateral for loans at face value, where Mutant argued we did not know that, and he believed it was very unlikely. It was, however, what was happening."

Actually, that argument with Mutant was mine, although I think Malor also made similar points at a later date. It's all here in this fascinating-in-hindsight finance-related Metafilter post from January 2008!

Oh, and guess what? Mutant went and made a total hissy fit MetaTalk callout of me for that post! Huh. His justification being that either I was being too damn cocksure about a subject he knows an awful lot about, or else because I had taken too damn long (i.e. slightly over 24 hours) to return to the original Metafilter thread and continue the conversation (!), or else because he had a hangnail that day, I dunno.

But given the content of my original Metafilter post and my comments in it, and also given the events of the past two years, you'll forgive me if I privately think that his ire was raised in some part because I was right and he was wrong, neener neener.

(And now I'm going to MeMail Mutant to let him know about this comment, lest I be accused, like Malor, of starting a top seekrit grudgewank!)
posted by Asparagirl at 3:15 PM on March 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, upon re-reading that whole January 2008 thread now, I gotta give mad props to panamax for some great and prescient comments.
posted by Asparagirl at 3:30 PM on March 26, 2009


Really?
posted by gman at 3:30 PM on March 26, 2009


Ad hominems make you stupid.

You're soaking in it.
posted by Wolof at 3:38 PM on March 26, 2009


Wolof, what does that even mean?
posted by klangklangston at 5:30 PM on March 26, 2009


Right! Fractals will be the basis of the Obamaconomy!

So that's why they're planting a vegetable garden!
posted by birdie birdington at 5:44 PM on March 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, there's more surface area to soak up the toxic assets.
posted by lukemeister at 6:55 PM on March 26, 2009


Before Nitpicking About Logic: A Case Study

A: As far as I'm concerned, understanding the deeper, macroeconomic trends at work in global finance for the last 10-20 years is far more important that understanding all the ins and outs of the latest financial gadgetry and exotic tools.

B: Which is why you don't work in finance. First, you're setting a false dichotomy, in that it's entirely possible to understand both. Second, you're implying that you do understand the macro causes (debatable) while simultaneously implying that folks who understand how complicated instruments work don't. It's like saying that it's more important to understand Newtonian physics than string theory.

In the above exchange, B's conclusions are at best non sequiturs.

Which is why you don't work in finance is dropped as though preceded by an actual argument of some kind; although the First of the second sentence promises to fill us in on what we've missed, you're setting a false dichotomy does not deliver. Unless finance requires rhetorical skill, the two statements are unrelated. Especially unfortunate is the fact that the original statement contains no such dichotomy, but merely an opinion regarding priority of two items.

B continues with point number two: you're implying that you do understand the macro causes (debatable). Inference does not prove implication; the parenthetical dig hits nothing but straw. Point 2b: ...while simultaneously implying... Again with the implying/inferring? The sentence ends with a flourish of Wonderland-worthy nonsense wholly dependent upon the preceding (probably mistaken) inference: ...that folks who understand how complicated instruments work don't.

what

Rather interesting, albeit somewhat point-erasing, is B's tacked-on analogy, wherein the deeper, macroeconomic trends at work in global finance for the last 10-20 years is recast as Newtonian physics. Indeed, in both cases one may apply the truism, "What goes up must come down." Further enjoyment (or offense) can be had after the :: as all the ins and outs of the latest financial gadgetry and exotic tools is crossed with String Theory--the latter being a load of conveniently opaque pseudoscientific mathematical wankery that makes no sense and no difference to anyone but those paid to formulate it.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:38 PM on March 26, 2009


Neither A, nor B has commented in this thread.
posted by gman at 9:18 PM on March 26, 2009


I'm not really a 'gold bug', it's worth pointing out. I'm just very strongly of the opinion that the Fed has gotten us into this jam, both through their own interventions and their lack of supervision over what the banks were doing. They held interest rates far too low for far too long, and caused massive money-supply expansion and a housing bubble. It's particularly frightening that Greenspan showed absolutely no clue of what was going on, and is now in full-scale spin mode saying that it's not his fault, when it clearly was.

And the bailouts are egregious malfeasance, more of the same thing that made us sick -- easy money. The Fed has injected trillions of dollars into the economy over the last few months; their ability to take crap and turn it into 'real money' is unlimited.

Nobody, nobody should have the ability to manipulate the economy to the degree that they have over the last fifteen years. There is a limit that we can't safely exceed, and commodity money is simply a safety valve, a 'this far, and no farther'. The Fed and Congress shouldn't be able to do what they're doing because they shouldn't be able to afford it.

You can't solve a debt problem by pouring new debt on it, and that's what they're desperately trying to do. They have an unlimited ability to reach into your pocket and make you poorer. By issuing dollars, they make promises of goods and services from the economy -- they issue debt. And YOU must service that debt from your own labor and assets. You're being made poorer, because you have to compete with your dollars against the massive floods coming from the center. The goods and services of the world are finite, but there's little practical limit to how many dollars they can inject into the system, for free, at no cost to themselves, should they think the need is dire enough.

Even if you're smart and diligent enough to protect yourself against currency devaluation, we now live in a world where the Fed can make up any damn rules it wants, and refuse to tell Congress what it's doing. The Fed is playing Calvinball, and your ability to protect yourself may be stripped from you at any time, without warning. It has unlimited rope to hang you with. Not itself, because it can never go broke. YOU are the one who suffers if its management gets things wrong.

In all other areas of economic endeavor, results are always improved with transparency and truth. Always. The more truth and transparency are in the system, the better the system does. Why should money be any different? Why is it so scary to think that money should represent something real, instead of something that doesn't exist?

What the something is, I don't particularly care about. I do have a position in gold, but I don't think it's magic. All I want backing the money is something real, a firm promise that can't easily be reneged on, and particularly that can't be reneged on in a way that most people don't understand, which is basically what's been happening over the last six or seven years.

For some reason, the entire concept that money should be real has been painted as loony-bin territory. I think it's pretty clear now that imaginary money has incredibly severe drawbacks, like, at least in some cases, the total fiscal destruction of governments that use it. The ability to engage in unlimited wishful thinking is a very dangerous tool to hand to politicians, much less to Wall Street.

All you have to do is examine the US government's books to understand this -- and that's assuming you can even get an accurate picture, since the government's own auditors haven't been able to sign off on its reports for many years.

At this point, if we keep on this path, the United States will face outright fiscal failure within about twenty years, and possibly sooner. There's no way we could have built up our multiple debt positions (government, personal, corporate, foreign holdings of dollar assets) to the size they've reached without large amounts of economic pain, if we were on any kind of solid money.

But the Fed has been able to hide most of the warning signals, they've masked the pain, and now we're really, really injured. Giving us more painkillers is not the solution. But they can give us any amount of "painkiller" they want, even if it will kill us, and there's not a damn thing that can stop them.

There is no check and balance on the Federal Reserve, and it's precisely that lack which has allowed this bubble and crunch to happen. I'm very sure about this analysis. I believe, but I'm less sure, that my prescription, commodity money, will fix the problem. There may be other solutions that will work, but that's the best one I know.
posted by Malor at 10:57 PM on March 26, 2009


Wolof, what does that even mean?

I'll be at the back here snickering. Read it however you like.
posted by Wolof at 1:10 AM on March 27, 2009


Wolof's just a friend of Maudie's.
posted by gman at 4:13 AM on March 27, 2009


I'll be at the back here snickering. Read it however you like.

not unless you holdback on the yurt.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:55 AM on March 27, 2009


"Am I supposed to wade in, defend myself and twist the topic into another Mutant / Malor flamewar?"

Forget it, Mutant. It's MetaFilter.

The only thing you accomplish by getting upset is hinting that maybe Malor hit too close to home. And I know the people who e-mailed you meant well, but CUT IT OUT. It's the equivalent of the schoolyard bigmouth who walks around saying, "You know what he said about you? I don't know if I'd take that!" If they're so concerned, let them defend you. In the thread.
posted by Eideteker at 4:55 AM on March 27, 2009


Oh, I apparently need to address this too:

Pastabagel: If you've been predicting something since 2004 and it happened late in 2008, you aren't prescient. You are a stopped clock. People made and kept fortunes between 2004 and 2007, which is when the top was actually put in. Second, its not enough to guess right, you have to be right for the right reason.

Look, this is a generational crash. It's a really big deal, something akin in magnitude to the Great Depression. Even if they manage to patch it together again for awhile, it will eventually crash again. I assume it will happen sooner than this time around; this cycle was eight years (post the 2000 bubble) so I suspect that the market will learn from its mistakes and cycle through later bubbles faster and faster. The timing is a guess; the bubbles I'm pretty damn sure about. And the next crash will be even worse than this one, because the fundamental problem is that there's too much debt and too little production to service it. The prescription to 'fix' it is more debt. Things will just get worse until we stop doing that.

If I had been saying, in 1925, that we were on an incredibly stupid course, with the vast expansion of consumer credit, and the easy money policy of the Fed (which are both completely true), and that we were headed for an extremely destructive crash -- you wouldn't, in 1931, be saying, "You're a stopped clock!" At least, you shouldn't. Economics works years and decades at a time. You apparently think in weeks or months; presumably, you're a market speculator. What I"m talking about isn't about a trading cycle in the stock market, it's about the entire goddamn economy.

The model I'm using, which isn't really my idea, but rather lifted wholesale from people who are both smarter and better-connected to the financial system than I am, is that there's just too goddamn much money chasing too little real wealth, and that we're in a huge tug of war between inflation and deflation. Both forces get more and more powerful with each passing year. The problem is fundamental monetary disorder, the disconnection of the financial system from the economy that has to service the debts it creates. It has been able, due to Fed intervention and assistance, to issue debt with no regard for the ability of the economy underneath to service it. This has caused an enormous explosion in claims on wealth that cannot all be serviced at present value.

Note that this model explains all the known data points better than any other I'm aware of. Every other explanation I've heard is small. It points to a small thing as being the problem -- "the banks can't lend, they're just clogged up" and "all those black people took out bad loans" are two that seem to have some traction. No other model I'm aware of explains why we're seeing such enormous failures and wicked cross-currents.

And if the timing wasn't exactly right, well, jesus, dude. The Fed is in the middle, doing its level best to keep the game going. They have been changing the rules steadily since 2004. You can't make very solid predictions about a system when the rules of that system are constantly changing. All they did was delay the inevitable, but they did delay it for a long time. They also made it a lot worse.

I also want to pull out this sentence specifically:

People made and kept fortunes between 2004 and 2007, which is when the top was actually put in.

Market timing is for idiots. Yeah, someone who bought in in 2004 and liquidated in 2007 would have made a lot of money. But chances are very unlikely that most people did that, and all the subsequent gains have been FAR MORE THAN LOST. So saying "the market went up in this time frame!" when it's, today, far lower than when I was posting my original observations, is extremely disingenuous.

I'm gonna skip the next couple paragraphs, since I can't address them without breaking the site guidelines.

If the subject was bridges, and Mutant was a career bridge builder, Malor would basically be a guy who has seen a lot of bridges and maybe sketched one or two. But no one would ever take Malor's advice over Mutant's on the subject of why a bridge collapsed.

Well, first, bridges and economics aren't very related; bridges are highly deterministic, and economics is more like weather forecasting.

The closest analogy I have, using your framework, is that Malor said "You're wrong about the fundamental strength of concrete under this specific stress scenario, and a lot of bridges are going to fail because of it". And the engineer pooh-poohed this, and in fact heaped scorn on the amateur who didn't know concrete. And, sure enough, the bridges were just fine for a long time. But, then, suddenly, a whole bunch of bridges failed in more or less the way Malor said they would. Most people would say, hmm, maybe Malor's got a point.

In the economic field, I've been saying "economic turmoil and profound banking and monetary problems are coming, on the order of severity of the Great Depression." And, lo and behold, five years later, we have economic turmoil, profound banking and monetary problems, and the media is full of comparisons to the Great Depression.

Gee, maybe that Malor guy had a clue.

(and, for what it's worth, while I take full responsibility for what I write here, I'm probably not smart enough to have come up with most of this on my own. Or, if I was, I simply wasn't deeply enough enmeshed in finance for any of these ideas to have occurred to me. Rather, I learned from some very smart people indeed. Mostly, I'm repeating what they taught me. I am not the fountainhead of knowledge here, just a cistern. Drop me a MeMail if you want some pointers to more info.)

That's why Malor states "Mutant is a banker" as if the word "banker" was synonymous with "repeat child sex offender rapist baby killer."

Boy, it's amazing how you can read that much emotional inflection into four words: "Mutant is a banker." Maybe, just maybe, you could be wildly off base here? I was stating a fact in relation to the rest of the thread. I'm pretty sure I intended to italicize "Mutant", because that was the inflection point of that sentence, but either I forgot or didn't get my codes right.

And no, I don't trust him. Not even a little bit. I think he's disingenuous to an extraordinary degree in his arguments; he uses his words to confuse, instead of clarify. He makes a huge amount of money out of the system as it presently stands, and I think there are few lines he wouldn't cross to defend that way of life. I've seen claimed emails from him that certainly cross lines that I never would. If they were fakes, they were amazingly convincing.

But none of that was in that sentence. It was a simple declarative, "Mutant is a banker", and the emphasis was on "Mutant".

The fact that Mutant got dragged into that thread the way he did is emblematic of how these days ignorance and rage are standing in for logic.

Oh yes, I forced him to post a Meta callout.

And while I may certainly be ignorant and angry, the model I'm using explains the observed data better than any other I've seen.
posted by Malor at 7:14 AM on March 27, 2009


It's like "Goofus and Gallant" for grownups!

Malor makes long comments about economics that probably make sense to some of the people who have the patience to read them. (Illustration of person typing on computer.)

Mutant makes long comments about economics that probably make sense to some of the people who have the patience to read them. (Illustration of person typing on computer.)

And then at the bottom of the page there is one of those anagram things.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:32 AM on March 27, 2009


I don't think that's a good position to be in these days, Burhanistan. I am aiming to have a $0 balance sheet, and figure that with this position I won't get screwed regardless of how the financial system goes. If you don't have money and you don't have debt the market can't touch you... the only way to win is not to play.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:38 AM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


The money in a coffee can thing works pretty well too actually.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:40 AM on March 27, 2009


The money in a coffee can thing works pretty well too actually.

Can I use a pickle jar instead?
posted by electroboy at 8:43 AM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just make sure it's not the same coffee can you're using for your hobo stove.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:44 AM on March 27, 2009


The money in a coffee can thing works pretty well too actually.

Until you get slammed by hyper-inflation.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:30 AM on March 27, 2009


Until you get slammed by hyper-inflation.

Put Euros in your coffee can then.
posted by GuyZero at 10:06 AM on March 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is that why my Zimbabwean Dark Roast tastes so weak?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:42 AM on March 27, 2009


Shouldn't your coffee can really be stuffed with a balanced portfolio of various currencies, commodities, common stocks, and government bonds? Also, guns?
posted by dersins at 10:43 AM on March 27, 2009


Can I use a pickle jar instead?

I'm not so sure that would be wise:

Filthy lucre indeed. It seems paper money is a magnet for germs.

A study presented at a meeting of microbiologists Wednesday concluded that most paper currency is contaminated with bacteria and could play a role in spreading disease.

posted by jamjam at 11:00 AM on March 27, 2009


Damn you, jamjam!. I'll get you yet!


**shakes fist**
posted by electroboy at 11:21 AM on March 27, 2009


For the next metafilter podcast you ought to have a debate on the economic situation between Malor and Mutant (or proxies with debate skills) moderated by Jim Leher (or the closest approximation you can find in the metafilter gang).

It would be a pity to let this much energy dissipate into the entropy field and not make some effort to contain it. I would voulunteer but I posess neither debate skills nor podcast assembly skills.
posted by bukvich at 11:29 AM on March 27, 2009


What do you mean, "yet?"

My bruises have barely started fading as it is.
posted by jamjam at 11:29 AM on March 27, 2009


Guns and land are what you need.

My survivalist brother has plenty of both, he says it's the (AK47) bullets that are getting harder to come by, and that's what you really need to start stockpiling.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:24 PM on March 27, 2009


I'm securitizing and selling financial instruments based on derivatives of weapons caches. I win either way.
posted by electroboy at 2:46 PM on March 27, 2009


Wow, AIM Surplus doesn't even stock 7.62x39 anymore? Grim. Tell your brother to just get a crate of Mosins and some 7.62x54R. That's still cheap as free.
posted by adamdschneider at 3:06 PM on March 27, 2009


Git 'em, Meatbomb!
posted by Mister_A at 6:26 PM on March 27, 2009


I think Mutant's complaint was a bit over-sensitive, but when Malor responds like this:

And no, I don't trust him. Not even a little bit. I think he's disingenuous to an extraordinary degree in his arguments; he uses his words to confuse, instead of clarify. He makes a huge amount of money out of the system as it presently stands, and I think there are few lines he wouldn't cross to defend that way of life. I've seen claimed emails from him that certainly cross lines that I never would. If they were fakes, they were amazingly convincing.

I think it goes beyond a debate. I haven't seen anything that suggests Mutant is a dishonorable banker, in fact I'd suggest his comments in non-finance threads suggest he has his head screwed on better than just about anyone I've ever met in finance.
For the record, I do think Malor has a point, and I do hold real fears the world is impoverishing itself with this bailout approach. Of course, it is probably at the point where the dice has been rolled. Either we pursue the bailout plan and hope for restored growth and inflation to eat out the debt (at the expense of savers), but shit, there has been a lot of money thrown away to try and keep the existing economic structures in place. And it does make one wonder if the structure we're trying to save is worth years of debt.
posted by bystander at 6:00 AM on March 28, 2009


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