FIGHTING THE VAMPIRE SQUID

Matt Taibbi inherited the Gonzo Throne at Rolling Stone from Dr. Thompson after the latter saw the future and, to paraphrase L. Cohen, knew it was gonna be murder. While we wish the Good Doctor hadn't bugged out for the dugout, Taibbi has done the impossible and filled unfillable shoes. Not only is he a detail-oriented, old-fashioned, get-the-facts beat reporter, he has an astonishing command of language. The most infamous example was his description of white-cholera thugs Goldman Sachs as "a giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity." Nomi Prins is an escapee and whistleblower from the vampire squid itself -- Goldman Sachs -- as well as Bear Stearns, and understands the workings of the beast from the belly out. Taibbi's new book is Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids and the Long Con That Is Breaking America (Spiegel & Grau); Prins' most recent is It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bonuses, Bailouts and Backroom Deals From Washington to Wall Street (John Wiley & Sons). While Hunter was right about the future, if we're to have any future beyond rummaging through garbage dumps for scraps (though not in and of itself an ignominious way to feed people), we need to understand the enemy. Taibbi and Prins grasp Wall Street's villainous groupthink and are able to translate it into layman's English. They'll discuss capitalism's current stage, take questions from the audience and sign books, and singer-songwriter Michael Penn will supply songs. Largo at the Coronet Theatre, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Fri., Nov. 12, 8 p.m., $30 ($50 including Griftopia). americanspeakeasy.com. (Taibbi also reads at Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; Thurs., Nov. 11, 7 p.m., free. (626) 449-5320, vromansbookstore.com.)
Fri., Nov. 12, 8 p.m., 2010

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