Matt Taibbi: Fact-Checkers Almost Killed My 'Vampire Squid' Line About Goldman Sachs
Perhaps the most famous line ever written about an investment bank and one that, for better or worse, came to define Wall Street's behavior during the financial crisis, almost never happened.
Last summer, Matt Taibbi, the author of "Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids and the Long Con That Is Breaking America", penned a lengthy and much-discussed article about Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone. In it, Taibbi referred to Goldman Sachs as "a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money."
The article focused on the bank's tendency to participate in and profit from a host of economic bubbles, from the Great Depression to the tech bubble to, more famously, the housing boom. Taibbi's piece was criticized for playing fast and loose with certain facts, but its broad premise -- that the politically-connected bank raked in profits while the rest of the economy struggled -- was hard to argue against.
Vampire squid. Do you remember writing that?
It was originally much lower in the piece, I remember that. The other thing I remember is the fact checkers coming to me at one point and they almost killed the line because squids don't have blood funnels. I was trying to explain that was part of what made it funny, but they were very insistent. I had to go over their heads on that one.
Let it be known, for the record, that Goldman Sachs may be a "vampire squid," but it does not have a corporate "blood funnel."