Careful What You Write
Posted on April 28, 2010Martin Michael Lomasney, a Boston politician from the 19th Century, once said: ""Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink."
Being from Chicago, I was taught that lesson by more a few political types. The Washington corollary to that admonition is: “Never write down anything that you wouldn’t be happy to see on the front page of the Washington Post.”
I bet you that the fabulous Fab, the Goldman Sachs wunderkind, Fabrice Tourre, wish he would have remembered those golden nuggets of advice.
It was the fabulous Fab who wrote in an email: “The whole building is about to collapse any time now. Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab . . . standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstrosities!!!"
That Fab is a cad goes without doubt.
But he isn’t the only one who failed to heed the advice of fabulous Martin Michael Lomasney.
Think of Tiger Woods. If he wasn’t text crazy, there would be no reason for his wife Elin to beat him with a seven iron, because Elin would have been none the wiser. No text, no bruise, no crash, no rehab, no problem.
Or think of Mark Foley. He too had a text problem. He thought his texts to the former pages were erasable. They weren’t. And the rest was history. As was his political career.
The Jack Abramoff affair was discovered primarily through email. The guys who did most of their business through email are the ones who are either spending time in the clink or getting ready to spend time in the clink. The one guy who never used email is probably going to get off scot-free.
The Justice Department doesn’t have much of a sense of humor, so when you try to explain to them that that email you sent was “just a joke,” they don’t laugh. To them, it’s not funny. It’s evidence.
Same thing in the court of public opinion. Irony is lost as it is translated through email.
And while the Fabulous Fab might have been trying to use humor and maybe a bit of sarcasm to describe his central role in creating the synthetic CDO’s which tanked the entire economy, in hindsight, there was nothing funny about them.