Monday, August 6, 2007

The Pirate Pose

I didn't see this when it came out (and why would I? Who reads Conde Nast Portfolio?), but Tom Wolfe has an article about hedge fund managers in the May issue of Conde Nast Portfolio. It's extremely enjoyable and has most of the characteristics that I like about his writing.
In a famous instance, one of these people came to watch his teenage daughter play in an ice hockey game against a team from neighboring Port Chester, New York, a town known in Greenwich as the place where one’s plumbers, electricians, computer swamis, roofers, glaziers, air-conditioning mechanics, wall-to-wall-carpet humpers, and household servants live. The man began bellowing so loudly, nobody at the rink could shut out the sound. He upbraided the referees for their poor eyesight and worse judgment. He told his daughter’s coach how to play her and all her teammates and kept him abreast of his mistakes in strategy. He scolded the Port Chester coach and the players for their incessant cheating and malicious roughness. Finally a Port Chester player, a big girl, an Amazon on ice, skated to the stands, charged up the stairs on her skates, and accosted the Mouth, putting her gloved fist six inches from his face and saying, “If you don’t shut the fuck up, I’m gonna come back and beat the shit outta you!” He shut up.

I can't say how accurate Wolfe is in his descriptions of the characteristics, lifestyle, and mentality of hedge fund managers ("these people"), but whatever his degree of accuracy, you won't be sorry that you spent the time to read it.

(BTW, the shirt Wolfe is wearing in that picture was made by Alex Kabbaz. The suit is made by Vincent Nicolosi. And while Wolfe is pretty close in his estimation of the cost of Cleverley bespoke alligator shoes, he's still a bit off. The standard markup over calfskin for alligator with British bespoke makers is 90%. The going rate for Cleverley calfskin shoes is now around £1600, so alligator would be around £3040, or nearly $6100; not the $5500 that Wolfe quotes. But I'll forgive him.)

1 comment:

mamacita said...

Well, he probably wrote the article close to a year ago, so maybe the prices have gone up since then?

I found a copy of Portfolio and I was going to read the Wolfe article, but the magazine got buried underneath other stuff to read. The magazine is exactly like Forbes as reimagined by Vanity Fair. I think it has potential, especially if they get Wolfe to write more. He is a national treasure.

I was just looking at his Wikipedia entry, and I loved this quote: "the dark night of fascism is always descending in the United States and yet lands only in Europe."