August 6, 2011

Wall Street's Flag-flation


After weeks of Shock Doctrine-like threats from the White House and Capitol Hill about upending Wall Street if spending wasn’t slashed, and now in the midst of an actual Wall Street correction due to America slipping into recession again, I’m always impressed by the deployment and ever-proliferating yardage of patriotic imagery deployed by the New York Stock Exchange.

The use of the American flag as branding, bunting and corporate wallpaper inside and outside the Exchange — Old Glory like the Swoosh on pro-sport uniforms or the entitled anchor at the end of any obvious sightline — is an impressively heavy-handed effort to meld Wall Street’s interests with all of America’s.

(Oh yeah, yesterday’s front page shot in the NYT.)

My sense is that this degree of “flag-flation,” appropriate for a Forth of July party, would start to look a little tired, a little too reminiscent of the Bush 43 binge anywhere else but Wall Street. The Exchange seems to pull it off, however, framed as it is as the lifeblood of the economy as well as a still-grieving monument to 9/11.

(photo 1: Reuters caption: Pedestrians walk past the outside of the New York Stock Exchange in New York July 25, 2011. The Democratic-led Senate and Republican-led House of Representatives consider rival plans this week to reduce the deficit and raise the debt ceiling. photo 2: Mario Tama/Getty Images caption: A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange before the closing bell on August 4, 2011 in New York City. The Dow plunged more than 500 points and is down more than 1,200 points since July 21. It was the market’s worst one-day drop in more than two years.)

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Michael Shaw
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