September 25th, 2008

Chris Keeley

This is the best commentary on (explanation of) the current financial crisis that I have read. It fo

This is the best commentary on (explanation of) the current financial crisis that I have read. It focuses on the Almighty Dollar!

September 24, 2008
Op-Ed Contributor

The Buck Stopped Then

By JAMES GRANT

CRITICS of the administration's Wall Street bailout condemn the waste of taxpayer dollars. But the taxpayers aren't the weightiest American financial constituency, even in this election year. The dollar is the world's currency. And it is on the world's opinion of the dollar that the Treasury's plan ultimately hangs.

It hangs by a thread, if Monday's steep drop of the greenback against the euro is any indication. We Americans, constitutionally inattentive to developments in the foreign exchange markets, should be grateful for what we have. That a piece of paper of no intrinsic value should pass for good money the world over is nothing less than a secular miracle. We pay our bills with it. And our creditors not only accept it, they also obligingly invest it in American securities, including our slightly shop-soiled mortgage-backed securities. Every year but one since 1982, this country has consumed much more than it has produced, and it has managed to discharge its debts with the money that it alone can lawfully print.

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Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company


 
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Chris Keeley

Old School Bad Boy’s Messy World

Old School Bad Boy’s Messy World

LONDON — That the Francis Bacon retrospective here at Tate Britain has been mobbed since opening several days ago should surprise nobody. The show is a landmark, a knockout, and its timing turns out to be nearly perfect.

 

Sixteen years have passed since the Irish-born Bacon died, at 82, during which the art world has radically changed, and the generation of Americans weaned on postwar abstraction and congenitally skeptical of Bacon is being gradually displaced. The other day there were dozens of young art students, not a few of them sketching, in front of the pictures. I suspect the same will happen when the show, judiciously organized by Matthew Gale and Chris Stephens, lands in Madrid, then New York. Bacon suddenly looks fresh.

How so? Late in life, it’s true, he became, contrary to his sensational art, a sort of old-school gentleman, chivalrous and immensely kind when he wished to be, reticent otherwise, a monument of postwar Britain who, for a curious guest, would rehearse the old lines and visit old haunts like the Colony Room, the run-down drinking club where he paid for bottles of Champagne from a thick wad of cash he kept rolled up, à la Al Capone, in a pocket of his suit. (The ill-fitting suits, long after he could afford Savile Row, came from a neighborhood tailor to whom, typical of Bacon, he remained loyal.)

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