OLD Media Moves

The 68th Financial Follies: A review

November 22, 2009


The New York Financial Writers Association held its 68th annual Financial Follies on Friday, Nov. 20, at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, and more than 1,000 business journalists, PR folk and corporate executives attended.

The intrepid New York society correspondent for Talking Biz News filed this report:

“As a relatively new member of New York City’s financial press, I was eager to attend the Financial Follies, the financial media’s ‘premier event’ (according to their Web site) and see what the hell it was all about.

“Ultimately, it’s a little hilarious that the event is called the ‘follies,’ assessing some of the damage people caused throughout the night, but hats off to the New York Financial Writers Association for throwing together quite the party.

“I made my way to the Marriott Marquis at 7:15 p.m., having missed 45 minutes of the cocktail hour, which ended up being alright since I didn’t end up paying for drinks at the cash bar before consuming copious amounts of free wine at the dinner table. The cash bar was, unfortunately, strike one, as I heard drinks have been free in past years. I guess the economy still has some work to do before that’s a recurrence.

“In the Follies’ favor, it was pretty fascinating  to see all the reporters looking dapper in tuxedos and dresses sans frantic looks/dark circles under the eyes/cups of coffee in hand –- we actually looked like a group of PR people. Anyway, I took my seat at my table, where I was the guest of one of the exchanges, and embarked on some wine to make meeting my dinner buddies a little less awkward.

“Throughout salad and soup — the food, by the way, was fantastic — the NYFWA and others performed skits and sang songs poking fun at financial news items throughout the year. Some of them were kind of funny, but most gave me that sinking/crawling feeling you get while watching something horribly embarrassing happen to another person, i.e., most things Michael Scott does on the Office.

“The first song, which made a very lasting first impression, was  ‘Smooth Criminal,’ making fun of Bernie Madoff’s sexual shortcomings. A sample of the lyrics: ‘Bernie, why the Ponzi/ You were so cool, like the Fonzi/Was it just for the payday?’ Some groans followed that one.  

A song joking about the government’s automaker’s bailout followed, to the tune of ‘Drive My Car’ by the Beatles. The chorus was a little bit better: ‘Big Three you can still make cars/We’ll appoint a dozen Czars/The Economics work on Mars/But we’re gonna fund you.’

“Another sampling, to the tune of Ned Washington’s ‘Rawhide’: ‘We’re Goldman Goldman Goldman/Though the world is broken/We keep profits flowin’/Worldwide.’

“To be fair, CNN and CNBC put together a pretty funny skit featuring the famed Balloon Boy that seemed to get the most positive reception throughout the room, but it was kind of a relief when the skits were over so the guests could focus on the fantastic espresso-rubbed filet mignon that was part of the main course.

“I know they weren’t trying for Grammys or anything, but that Fonzi line…

“As dinner progressed, bottles of wine were fast emptying at tables throughout the room. Judging by the minimum of 10 my table of 12 zipped through, I’d say most of the 1,000-plus guests were doing exactly what a Wall Street Journal reporter sitting near me suggested: ‘Let’s get WASTED!’ Nice.

“As dinner wound down, people made their way upstairs for an after party sponsored by…I’m not sure. All I know is that as I walked in, there was a big sign that said ‘Siemen’s Liquidity Lounge’ and I cracked up like a 12-year-old. What? I told you I’m young. At least one business journalist got cut off at the bar. No big surprise there. A DJ was spinning wedding-type tunes, and beer and liquor from the open bar quickly extinguished any reservations finance executives — guys from LPL Financial and PNC, in particular — had about getting down.  

Who knew the financial press had such sweet dance moves?”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Among the business media outlets buying tables were Bloomberg News (two tables), Thomson Reuters and CNBC.com. Of course, the PR firms and companies bought most of the tables to wine and dine the reporters.Â

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