People Are Strange

If Hunter S. Thompson had written Bonfire of the Vanities he might have come up with someone like Vincent McCrudden. A commodities trader, he’d long been engaged in a furious one-man war against his regulators. In 2009, for example, he tried to sue them for a billion dollars…

The above named entities operate like organized crime and use additional enforcment agencies like the US Attorneys Office, the FBI and US Marshals offices like their “capos”. For example, Chris Veetch at the US Attorneys office in Chicago does the bidding for the NFA out of Chicago. Dan Driscoll at the NFA in particular operates as a mafia “don”.

Last year the regulators brought charges against McCrudden for the operation of unregistered commodity pools. His response, it seems, was not entirely professional

You fucking corrupt piece of shit! I have let so many of you fucking corrupt mother fuckers of the hook for doing this to my life. You my friend are not going to get away with this. I am going to do this my way now and you, your corrupt mother fucking piece of shit are first or my list! Laugh mother fucker…

…and so on. McCrudden took to his personal website in an attempt to inspire the world to rally for his cause…

In order to stop the libel, slander and harrassment at the hands of these entities, and with no available forum in the US justice system, Mr. McCrudden has started a process to enact payback for years of Government abuse. As a twice survivor of the WTC bombings, Mr. McCrudden knows all too well what the Government can do in the “name of public interest”. Mr. McCrudden believes the 23 friends he lost on 9-11-2001 would have had their full support. Wake up my fellow citizens and middle class and go look into the mirror, because you my friends are the face of the new Al Qaeda! Civil disobedience can be a start for justice. Its us (middle class) against them (Government officials and the Bourgeosie). Start acting now before its too late!

Help, mystifyingly, failed to arrive. McCrudden posted up an “execution list” that named his regulators before noting – with unconscious sagacity – that “there is no good way to execute this plan“. No, there wasn’t. He was arrested. His example shows that revolutionary fervour lurks within the breast of every man. In a highly individualised market, though, you’ll get highly individualised rebellion.

It’s long been a contention of this blog – and, rather less inconsequentially, some academics – that intelligence needn’t correspond with rationality, and, in fact, that people are less rational than they assume. A Californian math professor took it upon himself to prove this theory

A California university professor has been charged with peeing on a colleague’s campus office door.

Prosecutors charged 43-year-old Tihomir Petrov, a math professor at California State University, Northridge, with two misdemeanor counts of urinating in a public place. Arraignment is scheduled Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court in San Fernando.

Investigators say a dispute between Petrov and another math professor was the motive.

The Los Angeles Times says Petrov was captured on videotape urinating on the door of another professor’s office on the San Fernando Valley campus. School officials had rigged the camera after discovering puddles of what they thought was urine at the professor’s door.

What delights me most of all is the implication that it was a second try. Because P + D = LOL but (P + D) x 2 = MEGALOL!


Those of you who read my post on the Cosa Nostra arrests will feign surprise on hearing that I bloody love The Sopranos. So much so, in fact, that after working through my DVD of Series 6 I went back to its pilot, saw the man himself and thought, “Aw, doesn’ ‘e look young!”

At various points, when he’s accused of being a criminal, Tony huffs and puffs about anti-Italian stereotyping. After watching Scorsese’s comparably tame Goodfellas I wondered if this prejudice is really very common and, indeed, if it raises hackles. Waddya know

A…poll by the Princeton-based Response Analysis Corporation revealed that 74% of adult Americans believe most Italian Americans have some connection to organized crime.

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that less than .0025 percent of the 26 million Americans of Italian descent are involved in organized crime.

Yeah, but those guys have big families. (LOL jk.)

Society is astonishingly adept at doling out offensive stereotypes: the lazy Mexican, the cheap Jew, the drunk Irishman, the dangerous African American. They are broad-brush depictions that make decent people shudder. And you’re not likely to find them in mainstream ads.

So what is it that makes the stereotype of the violent Italian so embraceable?

I sympathise with the Sons of Italy in America but I’m not sure their complaints will get an empathetic hearing. After all, the cheap Jew was an object of revilement – it taught people to despise our semitic friends. On the other hand, the Mafia is looked on with affection. People who don’t have to live with mobsters like mobsters. Take the Corleones or the Sopranos – hard, murderous bastards yet I’m sure most viewers would regard their antics, etiquette and generally unthreatening self-centredness with warms. So, while the fear of Muslims gets some of their Mosques attacked and the loathing of the Jews means they’re faced with bullying I can’t find an example of anti-Italian violence. Hell, I’m sure it’s won some of them unasked for respect.

Still, at least the Sons of Italy have kept their sense of humour…

Note to marketers: Next time you’re tempted to reach for the well worn image of the Italian mobster, think about the message you’re sending to customers. Think about the reception that ad may get from Italian American consumers.

And then fuhgeddaboutit.


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