Saturday, February 1, 2014

Movie review: Wolf of Wall Street

Having been in the sales field for a bit and dealt with their type extensively as a colleague and a sucker where I lost something in the neighborhood of 30k usd, I had mixed feelings about this uber alpha salesguy Jordan Belfort

Sales guys are a peculiar sort. They are usually rather shallow,gauche and garish. They are usually average or below average intelligence. Indeed Ive seen many smart guys actually get stupider when they enter this field.Did I mention that they are a bunch of crass nouveau riche douche tools?
Having been a sales guy in a company dealing with B2B events, the gold standard is Scott Ragsdale.,the Chairman of Naseba. An impressive person indeed -an Ironman champion whose awesome physical endurance matches his ambition.
But reading his blog is a very tiresome process as he is a fan of Ayn Rand and her views dominate his world view. Her "philosophy" if you can call it that is responsible for much of the cruelty, coarseness and vulgarity in the modernity world. Specifically sad to say in the libertarian conservative world to which I am very sympathetic
Mr Ragsdale seems to imply that if you are not making tons of mucho dinero like he is then you are rather worthless. Less said about his incoherent political(a Randian who supports Obama and dismisses the "whacky right wing"?)  and social views(women are better employees than men) the better. I had better stop talking of this thin skinned Mr Ragsdale as oddly it is rather easy to aggravate him!And will spend a good chunk of the blog whining about the criticism and threatening various legal (and implied illegal) actions using his (admittedly impressive) contacts. I have been on the receiving end of such threats before and came out relatively unscathed. Still best not to indulge in bravado and more provocation than necessary.

I had been a victim of a different type of fraud than in WoWS where the enterprise is legit logistically speaking but are selling their customers overhyped stock. I OTOH was taken in by smooth talkers whose entire operation was a scam- Shin Kong Wedbush  based in Taiwan but registered in China

Similary the Wolf of "Wall Street" is really set up in Long Island and the guy is really more of hyena and vulture than a wolf and mostly lower middle class types of Jewish and Italian types created the very Waspish sounding Stratton Oakmont which invokes Ivy League bluebloods and the Social Register

Misdirection via deceitful branding is how they present themselves. I was pitched by a smooth talking "Richard Franklin" whose linkedin page showed all sorts of fancy degrees from Columbia Business School and Wharton.

I didn't do any more due diligence. More fool me. I was out $30k usd (at that time my life savings) and had restart from scratch. Thank god I wasn't married and have any other dependents

So it was interesting from this movie what goes on from the other side of the curtain

Martin Scorsese paints a hyper charged picture of a macho larger than life group of high testerone roguish risk takers living in a haze of cocaine powder and perfume of whores. A group who just sees their investors as marks and numbers and nothing else.

In other words pretty much every other Scorsese movie since Goodfellas

Goodfellas, Casino and Wolf of Wall Street are pretty much cookie cutter Scorsese. The Departed is a wonderful exception as it is a remake of an excellent Hong Kong feature

Ethnic Italian/Jewish hybrid from wrong side of the tracks makes good in illegal ventures and enjoys the ride and perks utterly oblivious of bourgeois morality. The downfall comes due to fatal character flaws(usually involving women) and Feds close in and put an end to the party.

This is not to knock Goodfellas. I absolutely love that movie -not a dull moment in it- but I feel sorry for those who watch Goodfellas AFTER watching its million knock offs and derivatives(including Scorcese's own work).

It is how viewers cant get riled up about John Carpenters Halloween (1977) because they
saw the inferior derivatives first.

Or how people cant feel the incredible power of Wagner( though mostly in discrete moments) due its pop corn versions in Star Wars movies. Only Robocops theme IMO comes close to its original majesty and oddly enough it meant to be satire of right wing heroism and Randian corporatism

I think Mr Scorsese should try some new narratives. Its not without a coincidence that he was celebrated for The Aviator and The Departed but less so for this movie Casino and Kundun( a wannabe Mishima- Schraders far superior Philip Glass biographical opera)

1 comment:

  1. First of all a whole-hearted thanks to Mr Eshan and you for reading my lengthy comments :-) .I appreciate your opinion on the subjects we were speaking.I would just like to point out two or three things on whatever we were discussing till now.I promise you that this is just for the sake of discussion and no more a debate.You have rightly mentioned that people predicted a situation similar to world war 1 before it actually kicked off.But no one had been able to tell in 1894 that the world war will start after exactly 20 years(it started in 1914).This was what Vivekananda had done.The same goes for his other predictions on Indian independence and China's dominance of the world economy in the 21st century.So I assume that this is not possible without spiritual power(something like Nostradamus had).Sri Ramkrishna had not left any new mantra or deity.You are right on this.But he had demonstrated his deity-like powers on numerous occassions.I am not elaborating on this anymore as this will take a whole book to do so :-P .Infact a book has been compiled on this by the name of Ramakrishna Kathamrita(The nectars of Sri Ramkrishna) and is published by Ramakrishna Mission.It is a chronicle of the daily activities of Sri Ramkrishna for a span of 10-15 years ,written in the form of a diary by one of his ardent devotees.The uniqueness of this book is that it is a first-hand account of the activities and sayings of Ramkrishna.Anyway my point is that if a person can predict the future with pinpoint accuracy,then I think it is equally possible for him to see the past as well.So I believe Vivekananda's words when he said with firm conviction that Egyptian pyramids had been built on ancient Hindu civilization knowledge.So I agree with what Mr vadakayil says on this.But this is my viewpoint and I accept and acknowledge that you can have a totally different opinion on this.The point is that I do not take all of what he says without verifying it from multiple sources.Similarly I believe his opinion that jewish culture might have actually originated from ancient India.Historical and linguisti research had been done by the Oriental Institute of Baroda on this and they had published a paper in 1968,where they have shown striking similarities of language and religious practices between Hinduism and Judaism.My firm belief is that ancient Indian civilization was much more advanced than what we are being told at present.The vedas need to be analysed by scientists with knowledge of Sanskrit and not just by Sanskrit scholars.But the problem is that many of the original sanskrit texts have been modified,wrongly translated or just taken away by the Western Sanskrit scholars,when India was being ruled by British.Again I repeat that I am not blindly following Mr. Vadakayil even on this point.Way back in the 18th century Bankim Chandra Chatterjee had written about this in some of his articles.But obviously he could not create a stir on this issue as India,at that time,had a very small population of learned intellectuals.Now ysv I am digressing a bit from this topic.I read some of your other blogs and I must admit that you are a good author.I am pleasantly surprised to read your analysis on the Bengal -Kerala cultural similarity.Your review on the movie The Wolf of Wall Street was also very good :-)