I recently ran a little contest asking readers to come up with some new words to describe the abominable sense of self-entitlement that afflicts Wall Street bankers. I noted that such common pejoratives as “greedy” and “shameful” just don’t cover the astonishing arrogance presently being flashed at us by the Royal Princes of High Finance, so I sought your creativity for devising more appropriate terms.
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You sent in a gusher of words, phrases – and lots of attitude. Quite a few offerings referred to body parts and bodily functions, usually involving four-letter words that are unusable here. On the other hand, some submissions were deceptively sweet, such as “piggy poos,” which really does have sort of nursery rhyme sting to it.
Among the newly-coined expressions were these jewels: “Banksters,” which beautifully captures the mobster aspect of the greed; “Greasels,” which combines greed and weasel; “Leechengrubbers,” which is described as bankers who suck the life out of us, then turn around and beg us for bailouts; and “Megalomoneyacs,” which goes to the psychopathic aspect of those sorry souls.
Some readers chose action words to apply to the bankers, such as “criminal,” “treasonous,” and “you’re fired.” Others needed lengthy phrases to capture their full fury, including these two; “Unbridled Bastards of Mass Deception” and “Amoral Rapacious Financial Terrorists.” And one needed another language, Spanish, to nail the bankers, choosing “Lacras,” a deeply insulting term meaning that the Wall Streeters are low-life scum, unrepentant moochers trying to take everything for themselves.
Then there’s one fellow who thought words were not enough: “I say just hang these scums.”
“What’s The Word For Wall Street Greed?” The Austin Chronicle, February 20, 2009.
Emails from listeners and readers who are fed up with Wall Street Greed, February, 2009.