It bothers me that people often confuse the two.
So for your edification, The New Yorker is the magazine where we first found out that America was torturing people and it published a photo essay moved a prominent politician to switch parties. And New York Magazine publishes stuff like this:
Jake DeSantis, a 40-year-old commodities trader at AIG, was an unlikely face of Wall Street greed. Stocky and clean cut, with an abiding moral streak, he’d worked summers for a bricklayer in the shadow of shuttered steel mills outside Pittsburgh; he was valedictorian of his high-school class and attended college at MIT.…
When DeSantis arrived at the office the morning his letter appeared in the paper, the AIG traders gave him a standing ovation. In some quarters of the press, he was vilified.
It might help to remember who Jake DeSantis is. (The whole article is similarly unintentionally revealing more of the magazine’s values and the author’s preferences than of anything else.) And lest you think that this is some weird outlier for the Magazine, it’s not.
The Gandhi of Wall Street
Let’s see, this guy has the amount of experience and education equivalent to an engineering manager in technology and his abbreviated salary is still 5x larger. That divergence only occurred recently.
In other words, he’s self-selected to be in a world where people trade their morals for money and his salary reflects that.
(Just to emphasize this: he majored in Materials Science, not finance. and has no advanced degree. Yes “Executive Vice President” sounds pretty hefty, but in the inflated-title-ridden world of finance it’s equivalent in both job experience and authority to an engineering manager or software architect. In a normal world, he’d have been in an industry lab somewhere—the 90’s wasn’t a normal world.)
“Strong moral streak,” my ass.
Let’s compare him to someone I know has a strong moral streak—my brother.
- I recently called my brother to note he just turned into “a 40-year-old.”
- Instead of being “a commodities trader at AIG,” my brother is a Professor of Economics at Brown University.
- My brother is most definitely “stocky and clean cut.” The stockyness comes from being about my height, but unlike me, actually an athlete—a four-year letter winner in lacrosse in college
- The citation on “an abiding moral streak” is hard. New York Magazine’s criteria seems to be you drive a Prius and support Obama along with 95% of that city. Along those lines how about the fact that he has the heavily cited papers on the impact of Civil Rights legislation on health outcomes in the South, one of the best analyses of the Clean Air Act of 1970 ever done, and a birth-weight twin study that turns causality in social policy on its head. If not a moral streak, then certainly a bleeding heart. Oh yeah, my brother walks to work and there is no question whom he voted for.
- Instead of “working summers for a bricklayer in the shadow of shuttered steel mills outside Pittsburgh,” my brother worked summers as a diswasher in the shadow of shuttered steel mills inside Pittsburgh. (Of course, truth be told, the second part is fact-free alliteration—all steel mills north of Bethlehem, PA were shuttered by 1985.)
- My brother wasn’t “valedictorian of his high-school class,” but since they both “attended college at MIT” during the same exact years (and moreover my brother majored in economics, not materials scince), I’d put my brother’s frat boy academic record right up against Jake DeSantis’s. I have a feeling Jake would be lucky to have been cum laude at our high school that year.
But you know what my brother wouldn’t do? If he was pulling in $700k on a morally suspect livelihood with his peers clearly living large on other people’s hard-earned life savings. The same life savings which these people just flushed down the toilet as they hit those same people for a bailout that pays that $700k and billions more, he wouldn’t whine about this in an editorial to the New York Times. He could care less about “a standing ovation” from people of questionable moral character, and he’d know to keep his sense of scale.
But of course, having the good sense not to be so righteous seems to be a necessary condition for “an abiding moral streak,” does it not?
If you want to actually stand a chance of pushing The New Yorker off its roost, you should have the good sense in knowing when to stop defending to indefensible. Or your true streak will come home to roost, would it not?
Welcome to reality, New York Magazine. It’s a bitch.
Why I read the New Yorker
His latest post mentioned an afternoon he spent at the Hamra Hotel pool, reading a borrowed copy of The New Yorker. I laughed out loud. He then mentioned an escapade in which he helped deliver 24 pizzas to American soldiers. I howled. Salam Pax, the most famous and most mysterious blogger in the world, was my interpreter. The New Yorker he had been reading—mine. Poolside at the Hamra—with me. The 24 pizzas—we had taken them to a unit of 82nd Airborne soldiers I was writing about.…
I don’t know what Salam thought about The New Yorker story, but he likes The New Yorker. I happened to have two issues of the magazine, and he was mesmerized by them, especially a story about the selection of Daniel Libeskind’s design for the WTC site. Salam is trained as an architect and is a fan of Libeskind’s work. He was amazed at the length of the stories. “They go on and on,” he remarked. “They start in one place, go somewhere else, then to another place. They are, like, endless.”
His cultural inclinations are impeccable.
An intellegent boy in a war-torn ruined world of our creation reading the New Yorker, amazed at the breath and detail of a world out there contained in there, and hungrily devouring two second-hand issues of the magazine. And me here, who could get such a thing delivered to me instanteously every week for a pittance.
The decision to subscribe was a no brainer. I’ve been a happy reader since the day I read that article in 2003.
An Aside: My brother teaching
[David Goines] had been a classics scholar, studying Greek and Latin, until he was expelled [from Berkeley] for distributing a course catalog “supplement” in which students dared to evaluate their professors. “And now, thirty years later,” he says with a laugh, “they’re required to do it.”
—Alice Waters and Chez Panise, one of the many books I’m currently reading on my Kindle
At Berkeley, my brother was consistently in the top two highest-rated professors in the economics department. So I was amused when I ran across these two reviews of my brother’s teaching while research links for this article.
Here are the comments:
“One of the best grad econ classes I took.”
“Whoever gave Prof. Chay a bad rating must have a personality disorder. Chay is one of the best and most inspired teachers at Berkeley. He puts a great amount of care into his lectures and assignments. He also has tremendous insight and interesting opinions on a variety of issues, and provides great comments on the paper you write for this class.”
“Great class!! …chay is FUNNY, clear, and fair on his MTs. he is great after class and during OH.”
“Hands-down the best professor in the Econ department right now (and he knows it). Class is managable, teaching is clear, and he is accomodating and supportive of students.”
One student even marked him “hot.” This reminds me of an amusing story which I’ll have to leave for another time. 😀