Whatever you believe about Enron, you must acknowledge the cultural impact the company has had on our culture. Of course I believe that most of the scorn reserved for Enron should be diverted to things like…well, terrorists.
There was a new Simpsons episode recently; I’d recorded it on DVR. Basically it’s a flashback of the 1990s. Marge and Homer, as young adults, are about to break up and Homer is dividing up the assets. “Enron stock for me…. Microsoft stock for you….”
My heart jumped a little in my chest.
Of course it is not the first time the Simpsons has taken aim at Enron. Remember this?
And then the rollercoaster that is supposed to mimic the stock cycle:
Oh Enron. I still heart Enron. Semper Fi.
William Lerach, the lawyer who helped recover $7.2 billion for Enron investors and whose “race to the courthouse” strategy led to limits on shareholder suits, was sentenced Monday to two years in prison for paying client kickbacks.
Since I don’t know the criminal case against Lerach backward and forward, I won’t comment on the righteousness of the conviction, only the delicious sense of schadenfreude I feel at seeing this lying, manipulative bastard go to prison. His crimes at Milberg Weiss are nothing compared to the crimes he committed against Enron. Lying through his teeth for any camera that found him, he repeatedly installed myths in the popular conscience that have yet to be lived down (one of the most egregious was his claim that a banker’s box full of shredded material came from the Enron building. It most certainly did not; Enron was never even accused of shredding documents, improperly or otherwise.)
What happens, I think, is that once a certain personality most often found in dirty lawyers reaches a certain level of fame or notoriety or income, they start to believe that they are immune from the rigors of truth. They will tell a jury, for instance, that they can hear an unborn fetus crying to be freed via a Cesaerean birth. Whatever they think the jury – or any important audience – requires, they’ll say it. Screw the facts!
Oh, I do so enjoy the idea of Bill Lerach in prison. Like Al Capone going away for tax evasion (which is in itself a travesty of justice), he might not be going to prison for the real crime, which is what he did to Jeff Skilling, Ken Lay, and the entire Enron Corporation. But he’s in prison, and that’s good enough for me.
While the company is long dead, the cultural tags associated with it will never disappear. According to Playbill Director Rupert Goold has announced a new season for 2008 and beyond for his Headlong Theatre company. In 2009 the company will premiere E.N.R.O.N., a new epic by Lucy Prebble inspired by America’s infamous financial scandal.
It is described as Dates and venue for the 2009 production of Prebble’s E.N.R.O.N. have yet to be announced, but press notes describe the work as a mix of classical tragedy and Mamet-like savage comedy.