Naked Capitalism: Our Lurkers Speak

By The Rev Kev, who lives Down Under

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the comments at Naked Capitalism make it different than most other sites. And here it is different as if by a – moderated – magic.

What never ceases to impress and amaze me is the scope and depth of the knowledge of the readers here. You constantly get a wealth of information on everything from gardening, industrial manufacture, setting up a fire place, the economics of industrial level power and god know what else. I got the feeling that you could bring up a random topic like Pablo Picasso’s ‘Blue Period’ and somebody will pipe up with knowledge of it. Why sometimes Naked Capitalism’s readers will even suggest links to more obscure site like that featuring exotic nudes, Nancy’s Insider Trading Tips and even free downloads of the latest Hollywood Blockbusters. Stuff that you can use. Stuff that is valuable. So help keep all that good information coming by making a short detour to the Tip Jar and doing your bit to help.

However, in this post I want to recognize some often-overlooked readers: The lurker, those who read, but never, ever comment. You’d be surprised at how many there are:

Hello. My name is Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine. When I heard that there was fundraising, I immediately came. I have raised tens of billions in fundraising so know how it all works. That is why I am now billionaire.

We know your country is suffering because of sanctions against Russia but is price am willing to pay. Still, by Christmas we celebrate in Moscow.

Do not worry about Tip Jar but send your money straight to Office of President of Ukraine instead and I will see that Yves & Lambert gets it.

For my part, I have special offers. If you send $50, I will send you worn, green t-shirt. If you send $100 to my Office along with image of your photo ID and credit card, my team of Photoshoppers will put your face in image of you in front of broken Russian tank. For those who send Naked Capitalism $1,000 — special offer. We arrange guided tour of beautiful country of Ukraine. We supply food, clothing, and transport in our wonderful Eastern regions. Don’t forget. Send your money. Weapons too if you have them. Slava Ukraini!

Errr, thanks Big Z. Another lurker chimes in: Boris Johnson, writing ex cathedra from his endowed chair at the Bullingdon Club:

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you. I feel honoured to take part in your uhh, Tip Jar fund raiser. And money has always been a priority of mine.

Having unexpectedly found myself with a lot more free time lately, I haven’t had so much fun since I went to Peppa Pig World – so much fun. Not like dealing with those damn Remainers or that Marxist Jeremy Corbyn. At least I was able to replace him with Starmer who is as good as a Tory. Forgive me as I have digressed.

No doubt that here too you have the doubters, the doomsters, the misanthropes and the merchants of gloom but it is irrefutable and irresistible that every bit of financial help that you can extend to Naked Capitalism will help end this era of dithering and dubitation that we find ourselves in.

And we must believe – believe in both ourselves and each other to truly succeed. I once said that my chances of being PM were about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars or my being reincarnated as an olive. And yet I succeeded in climbing the greasy pole to the top – and maybe like Winston Churchill soon for a second time. And this, uhh, achievement was from a person whose speaking style was once denounced by no less an authority than Arnold Schwarzenegger – a monosyllabic Austrian cyborg. It was a low moment, my friends. But let’s work together as we always should both proudly and loudly. Let’s get the Fund Raiser done and hit that Tip Jar. Thank you. Thank you. I really have to go now as I have a flight to catch. Why yes, it is to Kiev. Thank you all and until we meet again.

Lurkers don’t always come to us; sometimes we have to go to them. We’re sure the intelligence community reads Naked Capitalism since they crib from us in writing their reports, but for whatever reason they have not made themselves known to us.

So we placed a call to CNN, a call we were sure they would pick up:

“Hello? Is Mr. Mike Hayden in? Can you put me through? It’s Stephen Colbert.”

“Mike Hayden of CNN here. Stephen, is that you?”

“Who? No. I don’t know who gave you that idea. No, I’m here on behalf of Naked Capitalism for a fundraiser.”

“Excuse me a minute [puts NC on hold]. Hey, is James Clapper in the building? Oh, James. Do you know Naked Capitalism at all?”

“Sounds familiar. Mike. Let me ask John. He knows who’s on the list.”

[Gets on phone to NBC News]. “Is John Brennan there? James Clapper here. John, do you know a Naked Capitalism… [pulls phone back]

“They’re who?!?!” “They do what?!?!” “They say what?!?!

“Thanks, John. Hey, tough luck about Kherson.” [transfers call quickly]

“James, did you get through to John? I see. I understand. Now it makes sense. Let me get back to that guy now with the funny accent.

[takes NC off hold] “Hello? I’ve talked to my colleagues and we can only do it for MSNBC/CNN scale. Sorry, goodbye. Oh, best of luck.”

* * *

Yes, once more it is that time of the year where we can put our hands in our pockets and kick in some do-re-mi to keep the lights on at Naked Capitalism and Lambert in yellow waders. If you can only give a little, give a little. If you can give a lot give a lot. But a cheerful giver is best of all.

Many thanks to all those people who have done so in previous fundraisers – and you know who you are. Kudos as well to all those contributions from those guys and gals from Mariinskyi Palace, Number 10, and the three-letter agencies who seek refuge here from the BS that they have to deal with in their regular work. I think that by now, even they miss Trump. Ahh, simpler times. And to those guys in the counterfeit division – knock it off guys. It’s not funny anymore.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Tom Pfotzer

    To Rev Kev:

    One reason NC comments are so interesting and valuable is the quality and quantity of your posts.

    It takes a great deal of effort; not just the posting, but the effort required to position your mind such that you can make great posts.

    Well done, and much appreciated.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    Thanks Rev Kev, this made me laugh. I always look forward to your BTL comments, sometimes I wonder if you get any sleep, you always seem to be able to get a comment in, day or night!

  3. Keith Newman

    @Rev Kev
    Hilarious post! Love your regular comments too! Always look forward to them. And I also wonder about how many hours of sleep you get…

  4. Skip Intro

    Brilliant! The Rev Kev at his most irreverent. I laughed, I cried, I clicked the tip jar
    – Newsweek

  5. Susan the Other

    Funny Rev. I’ve always suspected that Congress reads NC regularly. And I do believe they’ve changed their attitude. From believing they have the answers to realizing they don’t really have any answers at all. I kept thinking – just hammer away, they’ll read and learn like the rest of us. I remember way back when, after NC posted a few rude comments referring to Congress as “clowns”, Nancy took to the podium to say (literally) “we are not clowns.”

  6. griffen

    The Rev is keeping it real. I basically imagine that it’s really the slick guy from the Dos Equis commercials chiming in with timely and highly astute comments. And the occasional film reference always helps, after all lately it feels like living in 2019 to 2022 is no longer satirical enough.

    I don’t always read the interwebs, but when I do I’m reading this site.

  7. Brunches with Cats

    Thanks, Kev, for the much-needed laugh, second time in a week Agree with previous comments that your Zelensky routine is brilliant.

    I’d like to propose an additional reason that lurkers never comment: The expertise in the NC commentariat, which you note upfront, is intimidating. It’s true. Can’t speak for others, but I was a lurker for well over a year before commenting, due to fear of sounding clueless, irrelevant, or worse among such knowledgeable readers. Further, some of you are such good writers that, even as a journalism major and former reporter in D. C., I doubted my writing skills. Age and cognitive decline don’t help; plus, I’ve gotten so slow that invariably someone writes exactly what I was thinking — and far better than I could have — before I’ve finished three sentences. Even when I do feel that I have something to contribute, it takes me so long to compose a comment with verified info that the discussion is often past its shelf life by the time I post. Thus, lurking increasingly is becoming the wisest choice.

  8. ChrisRUEcon

    Love the satire, Rev!!!

    My donation will be by check end of this week!

    This family blog remains the most nourishing oasis in a despicable desert of disinformation!

  9. Objective Ace

    If Yves or Lambert are reading this:

    What’s your processing fee on paypal/credit cards? Happy to make up the processing fee difference if I think avoiding the effort of mailing a check is worth the difference

Comments are closed.