Wednesday, February 22, 2006

 The Most Evil Guys in the Room 

Do you ever watch a TV show or documentary, knowing full well beforehand that when it's over you are only going to be more angry or depressed than you are going in?

I just finished watching Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, a documentary which details the rise and fall of Enron in the mid- to late-90s through 2004. It debuted at Sundance in 2005, but I wasn't able to see it then when I went a year ago January due to its pre-screening buzz.

What makes seeing it now so pertinent and relevant is that the main players in the colossal fraud perpetrated, Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, are now on trial - the story is still being told. But what is clear is just how virulent the strain of greed was that permeated that "company", how exploitative they were of the inherent weaknesses of the system, and how completely they violated the trust of the honest rank-and-file workers who signed on with them and are now left with nothing. It also makes clear the complicity of major financial and government institutions - sometimes knowingly, sometimes not - when they believed there would be no repercussions. Despite its occasional inability to clarify the exact nature of the fraud (not surprising given the subject matter), the film does capture the human element, the basic nature and motivators of the duplicity, some truly damning moments on video, and the pervasive culture of corruption in Enron's energy traders and its devastating consequences. For that I highly recommend it, especially as someone who lived through the fraud perpetrated by them on California back in 2001, and most certainly overpaid some electric bills to those bastards as a result.

What was equally striking to me too was that, in spite of no real explicit attempt to make it so, the story makes for a stunningly apt metaphor for the current Presidency of the United States. The obscurantism, the arrogance, and of course the deflections consisting of character attacks whenever someone has the audacity to question just what is going on. I'd want them to also be taken down too, however like these Enron thugs I wouldn't put it past them to take everyone down with them.

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i understand your presidential connection...but maybe it's a theme of contemporary society & a problem that is presenting itself in many ways?

or maybe then again...we're just a cynical society?

all i know is that enron stuff is messed up...especially with the california scene.

--RC of
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