Central to CNBC's Jim Cramer's self-defense in recent days is the argument that his nemesis Jon Stewart is a "comedian" who runs a "variety show." Naturally, my first reaction is: UHM, HAVE YOU SEEN MAD MONEY? That show is like a Ralph Bakshi cartoon, with Cramer yelling unintelligibly while manically clawing at buttons that deploy dumb, wet fart noises and alarms and trumpet voluntaries and such.
But, hey, lest you write off my analysis as stupidity assessed by the eye of the beholder, why not take a look at the way Cramer assesses himself. Big thanks to Jeff Linkous, who, as a part of our Media Monitoring Project, reminds me that in the January 2009 Esquire, Cramer places himself inside the same comedian-variety show milieu that he now claims entirely discredits Stewart's opinions:
I can see Cramer fine, though. He's having a ball. He's on fire. The taping runs for more than three hours, and CNBC has hired a stand-up comic to warm up the crowd and give Jim a breather between segments, but Cramer comes out to warm up for the warm-up comic, and he's so amped by the fans that he never takes a break, so the comic spends three hours hanging in the wings holding a dead mic while Cramer basks in the people's love. His grin never fades.
And more specifically:
You see yourself as a crusader?
"Not at all. I think of myself as an entertainer who has sharp points of view."
So if I called you a clown act, that'd be fine by you?
"Well, I have some pride. I don't say that I'm an entertainer to denigrate myself. I think it's a higher calling to be an entertainer about business than to be a journalist-columnist about business because I'm making it come alive. You gotta put everything in, and if it comes into your head, you say it. I feel like a lot of what we do on the show would seemingly be, in a rigorous world, gratuitous. Except for the fact that it's irrepressibly gratuitous. I would love to be able to slaughter that pearl, but my mind, obviously it races. I've tried my best to slow it down, but it races."
Sounds like someone's got themselves a bad case of the pot-kettle-blacks!