I didn’t want to post this item, especially because I have no interest in writing anything that might be misconstrued as a defense of Goldman Sachs. But has anybody besides my staff of thousands — Bill Osborne, to be precise — noticed that Matt Taibbi’s description of Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” bears a peculiar resemblance to this cartoon? (It’s from Der Stürmer.)
I don’t know where Taibbi came up with the description, which appeared in Rolling Stone last July. But he has a lot to answer for. I also don’t know why The New York Times, which cites his description in a front-page article this morning, leaves out the blood-sucking part and the smell of money — unless it prefers not to call attention to rank anti-Semitism — unlike Maureen Dowd, who relished it fully in her column the other day, as Osborne points out, along with “an encyclopedia of anti-Semitic tropes” including “the implication of murdering God.”
“There’s even a twist on the trope of Jews and the spread of disease in her column,” he notes further. “The only common tropes missing seem to be the ones about sex-obsessed attacks on virgins and eating babies.”
Go read Dowd’s column and see what he’s talking about. She begins this way, “The Great Vampire Squid has gotten religion,” and concludes that “as far as doing God’s work” goes, “I think the bankers who took government money and then gave out obscene bonuses are the same self-interested sorts Jesus threw out of the temple.”
Somehow she failed to mention Judas or cannibal spiders marked with the Star of David. I’m waiting to see what the NYT ombudsman has to say about all this, if anything.
Postscript: Nov. 23 — Later that day Gawker had this to say, “So That’s What a Blood-Sucking Vampire Squid Looks Like.”
Umm, just in from Mike (firstname.lastname@example.org): This is the dumbest thing I’ve read in a long time. Squids and octopus-like creatures have been used in political cartoons for ages to represent monopolies. The classic targets included Andrew Carnegie and Standard Oil.
Memo to hachface: When the cartoon is published in Der Stürmer and the creature is crowned with a Jewish star, there’s only one target. It shit sure isn’t Carnegie or Rockefeller. — JH