"optic" = seeming "narrative" PLUS "Wall Street"

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 26 20:37:07 UTC 2010

The "Wall Street versus Main Street" is a moderately old juxtaposition.

Sylvia Porter. Automation on Wall Street. The Spartanburg
Herald-Journal. Oct. 14, 1961. p. 3/6
> This is the way it will be in the Wall Street and Main Street of
> tomorrow for the tens of millions of us who will be buying and selling
> stocks and for the brokers who will be serving us.

But "Wall Street" as a semi-generic markers (e.g., "Wall Street lawyer"
and "Wall-Street man") predates WWI easily. "Wall Street" as a
stand-alone is only slightly younger.

There is also a question as to what is meant by "investment bank". For
example, in 2008, UBS "shed" its investment bank subsidiary and GS and
Morgan Stanley "reformed" into bank holding companies so that they can
no longer be called "investment banks".

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley give up investment bank status
Published: 8:55AM BST 22 Sep 2008
> Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have given up their cherished
> investment banking status to survive the financial turmoil that the US
> government is tackling with a $700bn (£400bn) bailout plan.
> The Federal Reserve approved the two bank's transformation into bank
> holding companies regulated by the central bank,
> _effectively_ending_Wall_Street's_investment_banking_model_ and
> subjecting the two to much tighter regulation. In return it gives
> Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley greater access to central bank funds
> and makes it easier for them to buy retail banks.

What is more interesting about "investment bank" is that its application
to a private entity is fairly recent--older use that appears to have
been dominant in /international/ news refers to singular government
entities, e.g., British Foreign Exchange and Investment Bank (NYT, 1876)
or China Investment Bank (1980).

Here's an odd one:
Business men play ball like old professionals. The Norwalk Hour - Aug 2,
1901. p. 1/6
Wall Street Nine Defeats Main Street Team by Only One Run
> "Oh, there are some others who can play ball," was the confident
> comment of a Wall street "fan" after the game on the Fair grounds,
> yesterday afternoon, when  some one spoke of league teams and other
> things. And he was right too. The game that many went to see did not
> turn out the comedy of errors that was expected, but a hard-fought
> contest, and the Wall street business men walked away with the scalps
> of their Main street opponents hanging at their belts. The score, 5 to
> 4, tells the closeness of the battle.


On 4/26/2010 2:17 PM, Baker, John M. wrote:
>          I think that, for many decades before 2008, "Wall Street" meant
> "large investment banks," of which Goldman Sachs was and is perhaps the
> premier example.
> John Baker
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Jonathan Lighter
> Sent: Monday, April 26, 2010 1:31 PM
> Subject: "optic" = seeming "narrative" PLUS "Wall Street"
> CNN reports that that the Goldman, Sachs investigation "is part of the
> optic
> that was developing during [the economic crash]." The optic is that
> "Wall
> Street" is evil, everybody else is good.
> Not only that, but the SEC investigation "plays into the whole optic of
> Wall
> Street versus Main Street."
> BTW, before the end of 2008, "Wall Street" meant the stock market. It
> did
> not ordinarily include/ mean "huge business corporations, especially
> banks."
> JL

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