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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

MMI: The Eagle Soars or the Vulture Circles?

by Tanta on 8/28/2007 08:01:00 AM

The official story on Bank of America and Countrywide is, apparently, still in flux. That's always the trouble with mythologizing in real time; events often catch up with one in troublesome ways. Mythic narrative, of course, is only comprehensible in "ageless" terms. A story with a shelf life of a couple of weeks may invoke grand narrative structures and heroic motifs, but that, as we say in literary land, is short-term financing.

David Weidner at Marketwatch struggles with conflicting stories about BoA and its CEO:

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Sentiment is growing that Bank of America Corp.'s Kenneth Lewis may have won a place in the pantheon of great Wall Street titans by using his financial clout to help the country avoid economic ruin.

If you found yourself at this point wondering who the hell else was in that pantheon of great Wall Street titans who saved the country from economic ruin, you'll probably have noticed that we had to go back to 1907 to find one. I'd say, if you're not familiar with the story of J.P. Morgan and the Panic of 1907, you might want to brush up on the details. This may well become mythological motif du jour for some while, so you'd best be prepared.

Me, I just skip to the last paragraph:
Maybe there's a modern-day Morgan out there. We can all pitch in and buy him a railroad.
I suspect we're going to get so worried about pitching in to buy Joe Spendthrift an affordable mortgage that we'll allow ourselves to get suckered into buying some Morgan a railroad, but I undoubtedly read too much.