A columnist of the Financial Times, Lucy Kellaway, has an article today dissecting the language in the Goldman Sachs performance reviews that were released by the Senate as part of its Goldman Sachs hearing. She credits Fabrice Tourre for a "linguistic gift," a "new phrase": "Fabrice's assertions that he must try harder to be a "firm culture carrier". I predict this will take off. It suggests that one can carry the Goldman culture in the same way one can carry a sexually transmitted disease."
First of all, the FT writer's claim that this is a "new phrase" suggests she's not much familiar with Goldman Sachs or its culture. I wrote back in July of 2009 in the Long Goldman Post about China "using Goldman as the 'culture carrier,' to use a popular Goldman phrase."
Secondly, I've been writing here regularly about the ways that traditional anti-Jewish feelings about bankers play out in the popular narrative of the financial crisis, but this is a new low. For those unfamilar with the background, here's how a Daily Mail account put it:
Hitler, who reportedly had sex with a Jewish prostitute in Vienna in 1908, put syphilis high on his political agenda, devoting 13 pages to the disease in his book Mein Kampf.
The job of "combating syphilis - the Jewish disease - should be the task of the entire German nation," he wrote.
"The health of the nation will be regained only by eliminating the Jews."
I'm not saying Goldman Sachs is all a bunch of Boy Scouts or that Lucy Kellaway is a Nazi or a Jew-hater or that she was even conscious of the fact that Goldman is a historically Jewish firm and that she was writing about in in terms that echo Hitler. But there's so much of this around (see here and here and here) that it's worth paying attention to, because it explains some -- not all, but some -- of why Goldman is taking such a beating in the press and in the political sphere while other well connected firms that also did relatively well in the crisis are not being targeted.