Howl For Allen Ginsberg (and Alan Greenspan too!)
By Stanley Bing

(FORTUNE Magazine) – I

I saw the best business minds of my generation destroyed by excess, starving hysterical greedy,

dragging themselves to Wall Street and Main after predawn workouts looking for a quick fix,

visionary number crunchers yearning for the ancient mother lode of cash flow deep in the incandescent machinery of the macroeconomy,

who at beach and tennis venues sat agog with mimosas at noon in silly lime green and smoking cigars the size of a baby's arm,

wreathed in mystery and confusion and smoke, contemplating the creation of wealth, yeah, sure, mostly theirs,

who passed through B-schools with pinwheel eyes whirling like Topsy hallucinating 18-bedroom starter castles in cold-water flats eating Chef Boyardee straight from the can,

who brownnosed and sucked up and tuft hunted in grotesque pinstripe and wingtip and inane power ties projecting fictional growth curves in narcoleptic PowerPoint presentations,

who ate foie gras and sucked down incalculable ponds of Chablis and stayed out late with crazy buyers and otherwise tormented their pasty frames night after night for Mammon!

and inconceivable road trips galore from town to town to town in a haze of salesman hooey, leaping between Patterson and Petaluma, sifting all the bushwah in between with fine-tooth combs of their own devising,

who were McKinseyed by skinny guys with sleek suits and death in their hearts and murder in their eyes who were out to save the Company the dough that became their fee,

who pitched pitch for decades, blowing more gas than a turbine in boardrooms, bars, and junkets,

who looked in the mirror each day and saw the Company until there was no I, no Them, there was only We and then lost the ability to see why We should not pay I's greens fees,

who heard the idiot wind of the Street and its journals and cut and cut and cut to dance the merry monkey dance each and every quarter without fail,

who saw the sky each day glittering with a thousand thousand vested perks like tiny suns illuminated,

who wept when the false digital dawn never rose, bleeding from a hail of tiny, vicious bytes, and traded friendship for gain, as everything else was used for gain, and drank from the poisoned well so deep that in the end they could pee vodka.


What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate of their brains?

Mammon! Greed! Booze! Executive Platinum! Mammon!

Mammon! Wharton! Harvard! And to a lesser extent, Stanford and Kellogg! The best to you each morning? Mammon! Nightmare of Mammon!

Mammon, whose heart is pure machinery! Whose blood runs Ebitda! Who stopped drinking at lunch in the late '80s and has been madly sober since! Mammon who sold shareholder value to yokels at the expense of middle management! Mammon who has survived it all!

Quality! Excellence! Value! Whatever! All Mammon!

Real growth and cheering from coast to coast! We have seen it all--and we live! The wild ups! The not so downy downs! The dumbness! The holy hopes and hoops through which we jumped, we all! The dreams! The visions! The options!


Wal-Mart! I'm with you in Bentonville (as long as you let a couple of little guys live now and then)--long may you discount!

Exxon Mobil! I'm with you in Irving, which is a funny name for a city in Texas, but there you have it! Pump it up! Two bucks a gallon! Three! Gall unlimited and rewarded! No. 1 in profits! You go, dudes!

GM! Ford! I'm with you in Detroit, where you fight back against the global flood with good old American airbags!

Citigroup! I'm really with you in New York! In fact, I'd rather be in L.A.! Why can't anybody in the top 50 be in L.A., anyhow? Just asking! They have fantastic weather there!

IBM! Kroger! Boeing! I'm with you in Armonk and Cincinnati and Chicago, for some reason!

All of you! Winners! Survivors! Paradigms of recently discovered virtue! 500 strong!

And most of all, to the people inside you! The beating heart of the engine! The human hands inside the mailed fist!

I'm with you, America! in my dreams you walk in your suits and tastefully tailored skirts with a smile on your face and a bit more green in your pocket each day into the never really setting sun.

Stanley Bing is an executive at a FORTUNE 500 company he'd rather not name. He is the author of two new books: The Big Bing, a collection of essays, and You Look Nice Today, a novel. He can be reached at