• 06.23.08

Work/Life: Bear Stearns Indictments…(Almost) Enough To Make A Grown Man Cry



  • It is only natural for the human mind to connect seeminglydisparate events and try to assign them a collective meaning. So it was as I prepared to write alittle something about the recent indictments of two former hedge fund managersat Bear-Stearns who allegedly engaged in conspiracy and fraud by misleadingtheir investors about the declining value of their product. (Although, let’s face it, anybody inthis economy who believes anything is actually gaining in value may very welldeserve what they get.) Wireservice photos depict the tight-lipped men being led away by the authoritiesand I suppose it is only right that they should be tight-lipped; after all, stoicismis the only socially acceptable way men can cope with bad news—aside from whenthey are watching the Lakers lose an NBA title, in which case throwing anashtray also works. So, is it acoincidence, then, that another story hitting the Internet at the same time isabout a new photographic exhibit featuring portraits of famous men doing theunthinkable: crying?
  • Yes, it’s true. The photographer Sam Taylor-Wood has been showing a series ofphotographs depicting screen stars in various stages of weepy-time. Forrest Whitaker is seen pretty muchbawling, while Daniel Craig looks like he just spent an evening remembering thepet canary he had to bury when he was six. Robin Williams seems like he’s trying not to cry (perhaps hemomentarily forgot what subject to riff endlessly on and had a panic attack),and Paul Newman doesn’t look like he’s crying at all, although one handobscures his probably tearful eye.
  • I suppose it’s courageous of these men to have their sobbingimages frozen for eternity on a gallery wall, but let’s face it, they areACTORS, and probably get off on the voyeuristic tone, anyway. Or, they could very well be ACTING inthese shots, another possibility. The point, though, is that a group of men actually consented to be shownweeping, and this could bode well both for the cause of work/life balance andthe continuing success of Oprah. So, then, it might be time for those in the corporate sector who are ledaway in handcuffs to start realizing that it’s okay to break down. Now, it doesn’t have to be on the JimmySwaggart level or anything, but how about letting those tight lips sag a bit,maybe letting the mist of regret cloud your eyes?
  • Your bravery, corporate criminals, in blazing a trail forall men everywhere to get in touch with their feelings, could lead us to a newperiod of enlightenment not seen since that weird period in the 80’s when guyswere getting naked in the woods and beating drums and all that. Maybe if the next dude convicted ofcorporate malfeasance would just blubber a little, it would give us allpermission to sob about how our busy lives are preventing us from getting towhat really matters. Well, Ibetter go. I’m getting allverklempt.