We Speak on BNN About the Europe and Banks

I quite enjoy the host on this segment. We had a good talk about the usual topics, the state of the markets, with a focus on Europe and the banks.

One matter that I didn’t make sufficiently clear (my bad): when I was speaking about ECB spending, I was referring to its new stabilization program, not its balance sheet in toto.

You can view the segment here.

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  1. Alex

    Yves, smile a bit more! I know the subject matter/your position on what’s happening isn’t the most cheery thing in the world, but…I think it would help with the idea you’re trying to convey.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      1. I’m not a smiley type. I was less sour faced on this video than usual. This is about as much as you are likely to get in the smile category from me.

      2. This seems to be an expectation of women. Watch men on TV, many don’t smile much if at all. Except on commercials, of course. I’m not big on pandering to this sort of requirement. Smiling is a submissive gesture, which is probably why I don’t do it overmuch. I was told repeatedly by men in business school over 30 years ago I was one of the few women they could imagine working with (the class was only 10% female). I’ve long believed maintaining some distance from female stereotypes is the reason why.

      1. Foppe

        2. Mostly, yeah.

        3. (Note how on-site reporters these days are all taught to have a thoughtful look, nod regularly, and smile into the camera while they’re waiting for the audio feed to relay whatever question the desk person is asking them. It’s quite ridiculous.)

      2. Philip Pilkington

        2. I dunno if you should consider it a wholly submissive gesture — although it can be. Advertisers and politicians seem to use it as an extremely powerful gesture to control people’s actions. Smiling breaks through the defences and disarms people into complyiance — but not out of fear (which can be an unstable control mechanism). Smiling can be a very dominating gesture — but it’s nice and democratic in that people don’t feel that they’re being dominated.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          It works as domination only if you are already seen as powerful. Think about your examples. Women are not in a power position except if they are unusually high status. Think of the Sharon Stone character in Basic Instinct who had that sort of dominating smile. She was also extremely rich and a presumed killer.

          When a powerful person like a politician smiles and it is warm rather than cold (think Bill Clinton), it’s a style preference. He prefers charm to domination. If you are natively charming, that works. I’m not, it would come off phony with me and would backfire as being an obvious and clumsy effort to manipulate. I am also pretty suspicious when people I don’t know well try to charm me (unless they are service people like waiters or retail store staff and it is part of their job), so that may be why I’m loath to try it on others.

          1. Philip Pilkington

            Maybe it’s a gender thing then? When women smile it’s generally seen as a submissive gesture, but with men it’s far more ambiguous.

            The Sharon Stone example is, I think, even more interesting than that. Because she’s an ‘evil’ woman using her charm to gain power, manipulate men and… well… get away with murder. And perhaps that manifests an anxiety or taboo about women using smiles for the purpose of gaining power (which, as I’ve said, is pretty much socially acceptable for men).

            Smiling… what a fascinating topic.

          2. Foppe

            One person who is terrible at this smiling thing is Taibbi, who mostly manages to come across as smirking. And while this works fine for people who like him, and believe what he has to say, I understand (from scrolling through reactions on blogs hostile to his message) that people who don’t want to believe him experience his smile as a fantastic reason to ignore every substantive point he makes. Megan McArdle (vacuous, vapid shill who writes for the Atlantic) has a whole legion of followers who are like that.

          3. ambrit

            Dear Foppe et al;
            Megan McArdle has her own “Legion of the Damned?” Even with its turn towards the Right, Atlantics’ championing of her is curious in the extreme. (Yes, I am an Atlantic subscriber. [Winces.] I wonder if they would publish the modern version of Frederick Douglass?)

          4. JTFaraday

            “One person who is terrible at this smiling thing is Taibbi, who mostly manages to come across as smirking.”

            I agree, it’s just awful. No need to smile in a serious discussion about something that isn’t remotely funny.

          5. Transor Z

            Actually, I think this is an extremely interesting sub-topic. Yves, you have not been homogenized into meeting the expectations we’ve been conditioned to have of media. To a large extent, rhythm and flow trumps content as interviewers and interviewees read from a standardized script that, in my view, is numbing.

            I think that the only criterion should be that you represent yourself with integrity. You come across as tough-minded and rigorous. You have earnestness and brains in spades. Alex’s motherly, “You should smile more, honey” was completely well-intentioned, I’m sure. Nice job!

          6. Neo-Realist


            The Atlantic in all likelyhood would not publish the modern version of Frederick Douglass–we’re talking soft neo con here. You’d have to look at blogs like Truthout and Truthdig for that version.

      3. William Verick

        I thought you came across just fine. Not just fine. Great. What an interesting interview.

        But what was that weird light that was between your eyebrows? It looked like something reflected from a monitor onto your face or something.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I think it was an unfortunate combo of odd lighting (they have only one light in the teeny booths at the Nasdaq) and me not powdering my brow heavily enough. Noses and cheekbones are usually what need to be repowdered.

      4. Brett

        I think cutting across the conventional wisdom and hackery that makes up typical punditry is much more important than smiling.

  2. skippy

    Yves I still like your rare stuff, the old school grunge thingy.

    Skippy…mind going a million miles an hour, face trying to keep up…sigh…your first albums thingy…hell its only been 4 / 6 years idk…underground Yves!

    1. Justicia

      Yves? “old school grunge”? Hard to believe.

      If I may be so superficial as to add, Yves looks great in this video. Good color choice. Soft pastels contrast w. intense, smart talk. No smiles necessary.

  3. grayslady

    How refreshing to see three intelligent women on a business news program: no stupid questions, no equivocating answers. As someone who received her MBA in 1975, I’ve been waiting years to enjoy a video like this. Congratulations to all three of you on a job well done.

  4. Susan the other

    In my entire memory about Europe and the US, they are us and we are them. So what exactly is happening? I get the feeling that we are hell-bent on destroying their social safety net. And the mug shot of Merkel and Sarkozy a few days ago just reinforced that feeling for me. It was American Gothic. All they can do is stay and pitchfork the used straw for now. Because they can’t make our neoliberals budge and they can’t make their neosocialists budge. So they are going to let their banks fail a little, or a lot, and that probably represents the most self defense they can muster against us.

  5. LAS

    It is the energy and precision to your responses that set you apart and give you natural authority. I’m sure you’ve worked hard to get where you are.

    IMO, pearls, smiles and feminine colors do not diminish a woman. What diminishes a woman is posture and over-catering to others. So just always sit and stand tall.

    You have a humanistic streak that many “smart” people fail to exhibit. Sometimes you get caustic and satiric, but that humanistic core in you is the gold that shines through it all.

  6. propertius

    I do wish BNN were a little friendlier to those of us running open source operating systems. I haven’t been able to get their videos to play.

  7. Ottawan

    Ahh BNN. Every once in a while there is some fairly honest stuff – unlike most TV “business” reporting.

    The lady on the right is the host. She’s had her own show for quite some time and has shown a lot more balls than her colleagues over the years. Her metro buddy (not in the video) isn’t so bad either. Her show isn’t a complete waste of time. That’s a compliment.

    Good show, Yves. See if you can finagle a spot on Kevin O’Leary’s show on CBC. If you can go toe to toe with him, you’ll be guaranteed a second invite. Just make it entertaining (as well as truthful)!

  8. Brett

    Good discussion. For what it’s worth, Moynihan said during his investor conference a week or so ago that BAC had a $16 billion exposure to the Eurozone sovereign debt. And he said they bought CDS protection against most of that…

    Don’t know about any other banks. But it’s unpredictable what would have happen if Barclays or someone else cratered over the Eurozone mess.

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