Updated on June 24, 2012:
Oliver Renick, an individual mentioned in this post, recently emailed us with the following:
The author, Eve Binder, misunderstood my spoof blog post that she references, adding that “someone might want to talk to him about the definition of ‘plagiarism.’” As two commenters on your site point out, the post I wrote was purposefully a replica of Manfred’s, and I say this in the original article. Ultimately this isn’t very important, but as a journalist, it’s important that I don’t have assertions of plagiarism—as tongue-in-cheek as they may be—attached to my name.
You don’t have to look much further than the big, fat, festering recession to know that the lackeys of Goldman Sachs–a.k.a. the future rulers of the free, but definitely not free-of-charge, world–are really good at covering their asse(t)s. And really good at passing the buck. And wearing boring ties. And being evil. And oh yeah, did we mention making money? They’re really, really good at making money.
And this, according to Cornell news columnist Tony Manfred, is really, really bad.
Manfred took aim at the Lloyd-Blankfeins-in-training this week, arguing that Cornell should no longer support campus recruitment from “a criminal money factory” like Goldman Sachs. According to him, this is largely because behemoths like Goldman turn innocent, starry-eyed campus Care Bears into rabid, foaming ATMs whose moral compasses point straight into hell. (Yeah, okay, whatever.) Foamed Manfred in response:
We need to move past the idea that employment is unassailable, that jobs are immune to moral- or value-based criticism. We need to come to terms with the fact that people who go to work for a greedy, criminal machine that has been consciously inflating economic bubbles and screwing over the public since the 1920s, are, by definition, greedy criminals. These people are our classmates, our sorority sisters, our best friends, but they are also bad people. To put it bluntly, they are assholes. Huge assholes. Assholes who are aware of the social and economic damage they will soon perpetuate, but don’t care.
Predictably, everyone who was sitting by the phone waiting for The Call from Goldman Sachs promptly blew a gasket. So did those who would rather be gainfully employed doing something other than saving red pandas from extinction, or selling umbrellas during rainstorms, or some equally Righteous And Benevolent Pursuit. And then a few taxpaying Democrats burst out in defense with their bullet-free Nerf guns blazing. And then New York Magazine got involved. And then, in the pièce de résistance of total freakout, Oliver Renick of the blog Cornell Insider whittled a “spoof” of the piece entitled “Throw Tony Manfred off Campus.”
Renick, who paralleled the structure of Manfred’s column so exactingly that someone might want to talk to him about the definition of “plagiarism,” [Ed.: please see response from Renick above.] had this to say about Manfred:
This must continue. A writer with Manfred’s track record of navel-gazing and mental masturbation has the utmost place on the Stun [sic, like, multiple times] staff.
But he’ll have to do it from elsewhere. Writers who want to spit on our campus image can enroll, but this campus should not be the setting of their homes….
Yada, yada Tony Manfred says bankers eat babies… We need to come to terms with the fact that people who read the work of a greedy, criminal machine that has been consciously deflating intellectual bubbles and screwing over the public since 2007, are, by definition, probably fine people that just got their day screwed when they turned to Manfred’s article. These people are our classmates, our sorority sisters, our best friends, but they are also just good people. To put it bluntly, they are cool. Really cool. Cool people who are aware of the social and journalistic damage that Tony perpetuates.
Aside from the fact that Renick doesn’t seem to realize that the name of the Cornell newspaper is actually the Sun, not the Stun (either that, or he has some major Freudian slip action going on), this whole “masturbation, navel-gazing” fiasco is just one more instance of the criminally rampant masturbation and navel-gazing that take place at all college campuses at all times. Because, let’s be real here, college kids don’t do much besides masturbate and pick Dorito crumbs out of their bellybuttons.
But that said, we think the whole “journalistic damage” bit is a bit rich. While we can’t rule it out entirely, it’s probably overly ambitious to think that Lloyd Blankfein is going to read Manfred’s article in the Sun, throw his Kung Pao Chicken takeout to the floor in a fit of despair, and run to his bedroom to cuddle with his stuffed puffin and watch Legally Blonde 2, vowing never to open doors for those ungrateful kids for as long as he’s the king of the world.
More likely the “journalistic damage” in question here is the kind that makes Goldman Sachs recruiters think twice before passing out free grin pins to Cornell students. Hey, that’s fair, don’t talk flak about your future employers. But Renick, we can pretty much promise that you don’t need to stand up for the downtrodden, misunderstood heroes at Goldman in order to get a job as a world-class number-cruncher. Don’t worry, baby CEOs, your offshore retirement accounts are safe.