A Peek into Wall Street’s Secret Society

There is a secret fraternity on Wall Street called Kappa Beta Phi whose inductees include successful financiers like Michael Bloomberg and former Goldman Sachs chairman John Whitehead. Each year the fraternity hosts an annual black tie dinner event to welcome new inductees, whom they force to dress in drag and perform skits and songs. Kevin Roose rented a tuxedo and snuck into the event in 2012, and wrote in his book about what he saw: Some of Wall Street’s most powerful executives taking swipes at the 99 percent and making crass and homophobic jokes about Barney Frank, the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee who is openly gay:

Paul Queally, a private-equity executive with Welsh, Carson, Anderson, & Stowe, told off-color jokes to Ted Virtue, another private-equity bigwig with MidOcean Partners. The jokes ranged from unfunny and sexist (Q: “What’s the biggest difference between Hillary Clinton and a catfish?” A: “One has whiskers and stinks, and the other is a fish”) to unfunny and homophobic (Q: “What’s the biggest difference between Barney Frank and a Fenway Frank?” A: “Barney Frank comes in different-size buns”).

The adapted chapter is posted on NYMag.com, which you can read here.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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One can’t help feeling a certain intrigue and similarly disgust at the ongoings and attitudes of the plutocrats in party mode. 

One can argue that our society is riven with extreme social disparities, inequitable distribution of wealth, inequitable mobility and access to wealth as well as wonder out aloud given the obvious why we as a society have yet resisted to call into question the behavior of this set and fought for structural changes that might bring a more equitable alignment amongst our lot.

But the irony of all this is, despite the moralizing, finger pointing, the guilt, there are many who aspire to be as rich and powerful as the plutocrats and who use their education, their talent towards those ends. Which posits the question, aren’t we all in some way being just as hypocritical and divorced from reality as we claim these people are when we aspire and still believe in the American dream of wealth and power? It isn’t just what these people do that ought to concern us, it’s the way that so many of us in the end ultimately idolize and lionize such characters and jealously wish such existences for ourselves …..

http://scallywagandvagabond.com/2014/02/kappa-beta-phi-secret-wall-st-fraternity-appalls-spy-journalist/

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