Party Time 1929-style

Posted on January 17, 2008. Filed under: Ramblings | Tags: , |

Time to party like it’s 1929.

Are we ready for depression-era fun?

Remembrance of recessions past…what worked? I seem to recall one strategy that worked was to keep your head down and work like your life depended on it. Amazing how a little economic pain focuses the mind.

 The early 80s, one marketing allure was depression-chic. Cheap chic, it rears its head from time to time. Has a certain youth appeal. People don’t want to spend their youth in drudgery.

When the going gets tough, I go to the bookstore.

I’m more of a fiction fan; is this escapist? I don’t know. Reading other people’s thoughts on the human condition — oh ye Gods that sounds so 1920s! — helps put it all in perspective for me.

I, like Vladimir Putin, have no sense of humor.

Some of my own suggested books to read for hard times (Dickens’ Hard Times itself not a bad start).

John dos Passos’ The 42nd Parallel trilogy.

Studs Lonigan, James T. Farrell’s often-overlooked classic.

Anything by Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment being an excellent choice. 

Berlin Alexanderplatz, the book. Not so much the German made-for-TV mega-series.

Joyce Carol Oates, What I Lived For.

The Siege, a novel of the Eastern Front 1942, by Russ Schneider. If reading this book doesn’t help steel your soul against feeling sorry for yourself nothing will.

On the non-fiction side, Manias, Panics, and Crashes, A History of Financial Crises, by Charles Kindleberger and Robert Aliber, is what I’ve been reading of late. To quote, “A crash is a collapse of the prices of assets, or perhaps the failure of an important firm or bank. A panic, ‘a sudden fright without cause,’ (from the God Pan, known for causing terror), may occur in asset markets or involve a rush from less liquid securities to money or government securities — in the belief that governments do not go bankrupt because they can always print more money.”

Or in our modern age, maybe it’s the belief that the OPEC nations can always crank up the oil spigot?

Or you could just go shopping and help prop up the economy.

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