Dante Alighieri informs us that those who commit sins of
fraud are confined in the afterlife to Malebolge, the
Flatterers are perpetually immersed in rivers of shit. Lotharios are lashed by horned demons. Thieves are chased by snakes whose bites cause them to spontaneously combust, or otherwise turn into snakes themselves.
Corrupt politicians are thrown into a river of boiling tar, kept at bay from trying to claw out of the pitch by demons with grappling hooks and barbs. Corrupt priests are turned upside down in baptismal fountains, and the soles of their feet are doused in oil and continuously ablaze. “Sowers of discord” are made to march as the walking disfigured: decapitated, cut in half or completely disemboweled.
Fortune-tellers have their heads twisted completely in reverse, and must walk backward around the circle for eternity. Alchemists are sticken with rashes, leprosy and consumption. Fraudulent advisors – shyster lawyers, self-help authors, pump-and-dump scheming boiler room brokers, Oprah – are turned into flaming faggots, in the original sense of the term.
Ya know, just sort of picture Newark,
but without the bakeries on Ferry St
Anyway, I'm here to report that there is, in fact, one pit
of the 8th Circle that seems to have escaped notice of the medieval Italian
poet and Virgil, his pagan guide through the afterlife. It's the place where
terminally lazy Web addicts who feign at being upstanding members of the
working financial press go to receive their punishment.
Here, your intrepid correspondent is made to sit through panel after panel of insurance regulators, state politicians, and lobbyists discussing such soul-crushingly boring topics as collateralization requirements for foreign reinsurers; the criteria under which domestic deference does or does not hold in multi-state market conduct reviews; and how appropriate it is to apply the internal controls attestation standards laid out in Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to audits of non-public mutuals and/or closely held stock companies.
He is then made to return to his hotel room, order crappy
room service, spend the evening transcribing and forming halfway readable
stories out of this muck, before getting a couple hours of sleep and dragging
his jet-lagged ass out of bed to begin the process anew the next day.
Ahh, but the pièce de résistance...he is made to do all of this while awaiting him just outside the walls of his hotel -- but forever out of his reach -- are miles and miles of beaches, kissed by the Southern California sun, and populated with a startlingly disproportionate tally of the world's most beautiful women, all wearing next to nothing. They mock him and his laptop.
Camus famously thought Sisyphus to embody the absurd hero, who finds meaning in his work no matter how pointless it is.
I disagree. Sisyphus was a whiner. So you had to roll a big rock up a hill, over and over again. Big deal. Fuckin' pussy.
Oh, yeah, so....ummm, I'm back. What'd I miss?