In his new book about “the long con that is breaking America,” the Rolling Stone reporter chronicles the bizarre sight of a nation about to reward—lavishly—the very same Wall Street titans, DC politicians, and shady power brokers who brought us low
Matt Taibbi, the profane, provocative reporter for Rolling Stone, is a larger-than-life figure in modern political journalism. That’s both literally true (he’s a big guy: he once played for the MBA—that’s the Mongolian Basketball Association) and figuratively true: he writes in a scorching, contemptuous style that gives the best of his work a cast of fire-breathing grandeur.
Known primarily for blaspheming the Pope, labeling Goldman Sachs a “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”, and more recently, slinging a mug of hot coffee in the face of a Vanity Fair reporter, Taibbi is clearly a man of outsized emotions.
His new book Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con that Is Breaking America [Spiegel & Grau] is a stinging new history of the financial crisis that heralds a return of Mencken-esque, dirt-under-the-fingernails American journalism. Griftopia delves into the shadowy world of collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps and sovereign wealth funds, but he navigates the turgid money stuff with soaring sentences like “Greenspan’s rise is…a tale of a gerbilish mirror-gazer who flattered and bullshitted his way up the Matterhorn of American power, and then, once he got to the top, feverishly jacked himself off to the attentions of Wall Street for twenty consecutive years.” No one is spared…