October 17, 2008

Wall Street

I've mentioned the film Wall Street before I think, but the lessons from it bear repeating now especially. One of my favorite scenes in all of cinema is what you might call "The Meltdown Scene." Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, stops on the street, breathless after watching Gordon Gekko strip Bluestar Airlines apart bit by bit. The camera moves back physically as it focuses in on his face twisting in disgust. He has betrayed his real father and his "father-in-devil's-clothing" has betrayed him. As in all good movies, the memorable scrape at your pysche happens when the protagonist--who you care about--stops charging forward for once and just lets his self-doubt put wrinkles on his face. The musical cue is a nice choice, too.

I think it's this sort of tone that I'd love to capture in my chapter on Chiles' retirement from the U.S. Senate. The subject and circumstances are drastically different, but not the layers of remorse, guilt, confusion, and self-doubt that open up for us to see.

Come to think of it, I think anyone who got laid off by Enron probably had a similar feeling as Bud--probably worse. The examples are endless.

Of course, in Chiles' world, the chicanery is political and corporate.

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