OLD Media Moves

Watching Cramer with the sound off

January 12, 2009

Scott Raab of Esquire profiles CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer in the latest issue and tries to get to the bottom of what he’s trying to accomplish.

Raab writes, “Manifold are the aspects of Cramer. This is a man who starred at Harvard and Harvard Law, has worked for more than thirty years as a journalist, learned to sell at Goldman Sachs, and then left to start a hedge fund of his own. He cofounded TheStreet.com in 1996, began churning out books in 2002, and is now a franchise at CNBC, where he has a five-year deal to keep pumping away five days a week at Mad Money while popping up around the clock and dial, from Morning Joe and Today to Conan, Colbert, and Iron Man. Spewing dispatches like magma from disclosed locations in a land he has named the ‘sovereign state of Cramerica,’ he dwells thick upon the air we breathe. He is the foghorn and the fog.

“Which is why the best way — maybe the only way — to know Jim Cramer, to glean his human essence, is to mute the goddamned sound. Watching Mad Money silent is a revelation. In tie and dress shirt, sleeves rolled up, Cramer stalks, lupine, dancing a pas de deux with a Steadicam that nearly crawls up his flaring nostrils. He’ll turn his back all of a sudden and slink off, then, turning back full-faced — arms aflail, fists clenched, eyes white and wide, grinning a grin far more feral than friendly — he seems as though he might burst into flame or, like the pastor of some Tennessee snake-handling sect, reach down and snatch a copperhead.

“More than a witness and a true believer: Shorn of his robe of din, lightning-crackling sky on the screen behind him, the prophet storms and stomps, revealed in all the fervor of his love. But his love object is not the Lord, nor money: Cramer craves the action, loves the juice — and like every salesman worth his salt, he’s shilling shares in Cramer first of all.”

Read more here.

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