I am thrilled to report I spent $9 of funemployment money seeing a movie about the financial crisis. I was thinking about seeing Blackthorn, the Butch Cassidy sequel, but decided Margin Call would be more appropriate to the zeitgeist: it was supposed to make me angrier at the world and propel me deeper into my anti-establishment ideologies.
But rather, it made me take a step back and think more deeply about the roots of this movement and some its major influences. It reaffirmed many of my criticisms of our society and my conviction that a portion of the movement is not being entirely honest with itself. (Incidentally, I liked the movie. It tells the story with more sensitivity and complexity than it’s being told otherwise.)
The most honest and expository moment of dialogue in the movie:
“Shit, this is really gonna affect people.”
“Yeah, it’s gonna affect people like me.”
“No, well, real people.”
“Jesus, Seth. Listen, if you really want to do this with your life, you have to believe you’re necessary, and you are. People want to live like this in their cars and their big fucking houses they can’t even pay for. Then you’re necessary. The only reason they all get to continue living like kings is ‘cause we’ve got our fingers on the scales in their favor. I take my hand off, well then the whole world gets really fucking fair really fucking quickly and nobody actually wants that. They say they do but they don’t. They want what we have to give them but they also want to, you know, play innocent and pretend they have no idea where it came from. Well that’s more hypocrisy than I’m willing to swallow so fuck, fuck normal people.”
Like all business, Wall Street operates on the premise of supplying a product for which there is a demand. We wanted, and Wall Street provided. How much can we blame the dealer for the habit?