Attack of the killer metaphors

Banks as giant vampire termites!

In the single best piece of polemic to have come out of the financial crisis, Matt Taibbi described Goldman Sachs as

a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

Now Kevin Drum has come up with his own invertebrate metaphor for financiers:

Leverage is like a termite infestation: it swarms anywhere there’s food, but you hardly even notice it’s there until things get out of hand and your house starts to fall down.

I think we should combine these metaphors: investment banks are indeed ravenous, indestructible, indefatigable, social pests – giant vampire termites.

Termite head through a scanning electron microscope

Credit: University of Toronto via Vitrino Ramos

While destroying your flimsy house, they live themselves in air-conditioned luxury in skyscrapers built to last:


Low-budget horror moviemakers interested in the RBC copyright please contact Mark with four-figure offers.

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

7 thoughts on “Attack of the killer metaphors”

  1. For real zest and visual distinction, you’ll need giant ZOMBIE vampire termites.

  2. The only reason it’s called “the vampire squid” is that so few people have heard of Cthulhu.

  3. The difference being that, when the termite infestation in your house gets to a certain scale, their home comes crashing down when yours does.

  4. I always suspected the captain on the ill-fated first “Alien” ship was entering those dark tunnels to meet up with his Goldman Sachs financier! I wonder if any of you may have thought of the same thing regarding that well-fortified-financial-planner the dear old capt. met up with in the dark! (Probably took a 7 digit bonus after meting out his advice for The Company!)

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