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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Wolf of Woking

I just couldn’t sleep on my last long-haul flight back into Heathrow. One of the reasons what that they guy next to me, who was a lawyer for one of the big international law firms (and had spent ages marking up a long document with Rothschild written all over it, so not short of a bob or two I would imagine) was watching “The Wolf of Wall Street”. This probably the most socially-irresponsible film to be exhibited to still-forming teenage brains since ‘Rock Around The Clock” had them tearing up the seats in cinemas the length and breadth of the country. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a fraudster who becomes a multi-millionaire building a bogus trading business and eventually gets arrested and sent to jail. His victims were left a couple of hundred million dollars out of pocket. The eponymous hero goes to jail for a few months and is then released to a new life. Propelled in no small measure by the success of the film, he is expected to earn $100m this year from books, speeches, corporate gigs and personal appearances. Once he’s paid back the $50m that is his share of money owed to investors, he will still be quids in. Crime doesn’t pay? Really?

The lawyer was chortling all the way through the film, and my teenage son loved it too. How am I now to persuade him to go off to University to do something socially-useful like engineering or science? The message he got from the film was that cheating people out of money, provided you wear a suit, is excellent fun and delivers girls aplenty.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.

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