The Corpus Callosum

Gang Mentality

I spend a lot of time working with gang kids. 

One of the amusing things, is to see some of these kids strutting
around,
feeling like a million bucks, because they are so smart.  In
actuality, they have IQs in the 90-100 range.  But the rest of
their crew is down in the 70-80 range.  Such is the life of a
genius.

style="display: inline;"> href="http://scienceblogs.com/corpuscallosum/2009/10/21/the_warning.jpg">i-be5b35f1557a64fdf10d80ba6e3c6dff-the_warning-thumb-197x199-21072.jpg

Tonight I watched the PBS Frontline special, href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/warning/view/">The
Warning
.  It’s about the warning that href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooksley_Born">Brooksley Born
gave the the US government about the hazards posed by the
under-the-counter derivatives market.  Born tried to institute
regulation, as the chairperson of the Commodity Futures
Trading Commission during the Clinton administration.  She
was totally shut down and pushed out, not only by the Administration,
but by Congress as well.

The program featured everyone’s favorite homies: Alan Greenspan, Robert
Rubin, Larry Summers, Timothy Geithner, and the majestic Phil
Gramm.  Among others.  Many others.

By the way, the word homies is href="http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=homies">derived
from the French hommes, meaning men.  No disrespect
intended. 


In the show, it was mentioned that Greenspan believed that they was no
reason to prosecute financial fraud.  His notion was that the
market would take care of that.  He, and the rest of the crew,
also thought there was no need for transparency in the market. 

This leaves us all wondering, exactly how the market is supposed to
take care of something that is a complete secret.  To his credit,
Greenspan later href="http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2008/10/greenspan-and-simpsons.html">recanted. 
Sort of.  href="http://www.housingwire.com/2009/07/10/geithner-blames-lack-of-transparency-for-otc-derivatives-hit-on-market/">As
did Geithner.  Sort of.

What’s most striking to me, watching the show, is the similarity
between the mentality of the financial wizards, and that of gang
members.  It’s all there: the grandiosity, the arrogance, the
entitlement, and the breathtaking lack of empathy.  The lack of
insight is rather prominent, too, as is the preoccupation with one’s
status in a rather primitive hierarchy. 

An article on the subject, in Stanford Magazine (Born’s alma
mater) described the struggle between Born and the power elite as “a
classic Washington turf war.”  There were suggestions of a gender
issue.  That wasn’t it.  Born didn’t href="http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/throw_signs">throw the right signs.

Nature repeats these patterns, with fractal-like precision, heedless of
the consequences.

Comments

  1. #1 ~owl~
    October 21, 2009

    By the way, the word homies is derived from the French hommes, meaning men.

    This seems unlikely. More likely it is a contraction from “homeboy”; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homie

  2. #2 hmmm
    October 21, 2009

    -owl- didn’t read the link he/she provided. It says in the wikipedia link regarding homies,”Etymologists generally source[citation needed] its origins to the Spanish word hombre or the French homme, both meaning man.” Hmmm.

  3. #3 ~owl~
    October 22, 2009

    The Wikipedia article begins with “Homie (or homey), is a contraction of the American slang words ‘homeboy’ or ‘homebuddies’” which is an etymology for the word.

    As hmmm notes, the same article goes on to say “Etymologists generally source its origins to the Spanish word hombre or the French homme, both meaning man. Latino and African vernaculars are strongly derived from Mexican and Cajun/’Creole’ words.”

    So we have three etymologies suggested

    1) a contraction of the American slang words “homeboy” or “homebuddies”

    2) the French word “homme”, presumably from Cajun/”Creole”

    3) the Spanish word “hombre”, presumably from Mexican origin

    We notice that none of the three have any citations to support them.

    What I said that 2) is unlikely, and 1) is more likely. I did not deny that the “homme” or “hombre” theories are out there – why would I when the post contains a link to the “homme” theory? I merely provied a link that demonstated the “homeboy” suggested etymology is also out there, and opined as to the relative likelihood of two of them.

    The post above provides a link to the Urban Dictionary entry for “homies” (plural), which, in entry 7, has “Possible origin from the French word Hommes which translates to “Men”, as in “Pour Hommes”; for men.”

    However, going to the singular “homie” in the Urban Dictionary ( http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=homie ), in the five pages of definitions users have provided these and other suggested etymologies:

    1) Entry 1 is “Shortened version of homeboy, homeboy being your close friend”; see alsp entry 29.

    2) Entry 6 says “Derived from homeboy, but also rumored to be a mispronounciation of the French word for ‘man’ which is ‘homme’ (Sounds like “home”, but you know the “e” on the end made someone go “homie”).”

    3) Entries 9 and 10 atribute it to Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles, and thus the “hombre” theory above.

    4) Entry 20 gives it as short for “hometown”, which is itself short for “someone from my hometown”.

    5) Entries 28 and 32 gives it as a shortened form of “homosexual”, or, probably, “homo”.

    This illustrates the problem with sources such as Wikipedia and the Urban Dictionary; as user-generated data it accumulates a lot of “folk etymologies”.

    One of two sources I can find right off that seem to be generated more by professional etymologists are the Online Etymology Dictionary ( http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?l=h&p=10 ) which gives, for “homeboy” : “person from one’s hometown,” 1940s, Amer.Eng., black slang, also originally with overtones of “simpleton.” With many variants (cf. homebuddy, homeslice, both 1980s, with meaning shading toward “good friend”). The word had been used by Ruskin (1886) with the sense “stay-at-home male,” and it was Canadian slang for “boy brought up in an orphanage or other institution” (1913). Short form homie attested by 1970s; in New Zealand slang this meant “English or British immigrant” (1927).

    The other is Merriam-Webster OnLine ( http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/homie ) which gives the defintion as “homeboy” and says “Etymology: by shortening & alteration”, which seems to me to be the “homeboy/hometown” source, since the “homme” and “hombre” theories do not involve shortening.

    Putting it together, it would seem to me that, giving more credence to the professionals, that the etymology may be hometown -> homeboy (person from my hometown, which over time broadend to a person form my neighborhood, and then to friend) -> homie. The others (“homme”, “hombre”, “homosexual”) seem more likely to be folk etymologies.

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