Bonus bash, part II: The rich strike back


As news of more AIG bonuses comes out and America's politicians and public servants prepare to tee off for yet another round of "bash the über-rich," Wall Street's well compensated executives are beginning to strike back. This is hardly surprising; after all, the boys in finance are bred for battle, and playing defense works against their grain.

A while back, Tom Wolfe wrote an essay for the late Portfolio in which he explored the boorish and often explosively aggressive behavior of New York's hedge fund haute bourgeoisie. Titled "The Pirate Pose," Wolfe's piece roughly sketched a nouveau riche cohort that was, at the time, trying to muscle its way into every segment of New York society and remake the city in its own image.