Flaming didn't start with the Internet - its long history in pre-electronic media probably extends all the way back to stone-chiseled tablets. But its sheer abundance lately has inured us to childish rants even when they occupy prime space in once-respected media outlets.
The July 3 issue of Rolling Stone, for instance, carries a lengthy diatribe that blames Goldman Sachs for, in the magazine's own words, "every major market manipulation since the Great Depression." Its author, Matt Taibbi, was also responsible for a March essay that said the current financial crisis arose from having too much power in the hands of "bald guys."
A country, it's been said, gets the journalists and the prostitutes it deserves. There's no need to single out Matt Taibbi: the mainstream media are full of similar stories that pander to public prejudice and glorify financial illiteracy.
Do we in finance share any blame for these torrents of swill that flow like a force of nature?
It's obvious our industry has done a wretched job educating the broad public about what we do and how.
So, should we in the trenches be doing more to press our industry's leaders to take a higher and more effective public profile, in order to combat the disinformation?