Tuesday, September 15, 2009

With Apologies to Ambrose Bearce

The WSJ has a very humorous piece in its Currents section entitled:

The Devil's Dictionary--Financial Edition

Bearce published the original Devil's Dictionary as "The Cynic's Word Book" in 1906; a guide to the code language which permeated the cultural landscape of the day.

The Journal's version is an attempt to humorously update and focus on the devolution of terms during this endless financial mess we are in. A few examples:

TARP,n. acronym. 1. A synthetic device designed to cover up an unsightly mess, or to protect perishable goods (firewood, banks) from the ravages of the elements, typically costing somewhere between $12.99 and $700 billion.
2. Prime example of how governments use otherwise anodyne acronyms, abbreviations and sports metaphors to disguise matters of controversy. See also TALF, TLGP, TURF, FHFA, BACKSTOP, WRAP, OFHEO, and SPECTRE.

CREDIT-DEFAULT SWAP, n. loose translation from the original Latin "ubi mel ibi apes," or "where there's honey there are bees".
1. A complex financial instrument vital to the functioning of a modern economy in the way it spreads risk among consenting parties (Greenspan, A., pre-Sept. 2008).
2. A complex financial instrument that nearly destroyed modern capitalism (Greenspan, A., post-Sept. 2008).
GREEN SHOOTS,n. 1. The first signs of spring, often clobbered by summer's heat and autumn's rain. 2. A sign the economy is falling apart more slowly than previously tought. Related: DAISIES, PUSHING UP. See also THINKING, WISHFUL.
DEFICIT,n. For the party in power, at worst a minor irritant and at best a precondition for economic growth. For the minority, the gravest threat to the stability of the Republic.

Methinks the Journal has grown cynical in its old age.

1 comment:

revwmack said...

I really miss you, guy!
Keep the folks at Faith orthodox.
Give the girls a hug for me.
Fighting the good fight,
In Him Who made us His own.
Pr. Mack:)