Unless you've been living under a rock on Mars for the past 10 years, you're already familiar with the gist of the story. But it was great to see this movie again with a couple of years' distance since the spectacular implosion.
A few random thoughts from the movie.
- Former CEO Jeffrey Skilling was a complete bastard.In the photo, Skilling is seen telling a lie. How can you tell? His mouth is open.
- Ken Lay was a complete bastard. He was still alive when the movie was released (and maybe he still is???), but his excuse that he "didn't know what was going on" is utterly ridiculous (since all the shenanigans required Lay's approval as well as the approval of countless others) and the documentary pointed this out.
- There was an amazing amount of complicity throughout the financial community. We bitch about Skilling, Lay and Pai getting off with a handslap, but virtually every major bank, analyst and financial institution had its fingers in the cookie jar as well.
- Of all the bastard characters, only Andrew Fastow came off as the least bit sympathetic. Fastow, the architect of the "off-balance sheet" accounts, got busted and actually admitted wrong-doing, was fined millions of dinero and is now doing time in federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison.
- Big balls to Sherron Watkins, the whistle blower who virtually called Skilling a dirty liar to his face during federal hearings.
Anytime the pursuit of money is placed as the only (not just the most important) priority, there is a risk of this kind of hyper-corruption. It could be a corporation, a communist politburo or a hipity-hop rap crew.
It's all a matter of priorities.
tagged: Enron, Jeffrey Skilling, Ken Lay, corporation, corruption, culture, Bethany McLean