Usually, people don’t like to talk about The MIB. But times have changed. The MIB is on trial in the big building at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets in New York. And it looks like its shares are going to be sent down for life. So the tongues are wagging. Like the Triads […]
Usually, people don’t like to talk about The MIB. But times have changed. The MIB is on trial in the big building at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets in New York. And it looks like its shares are going to be sent down for life. So the tongues are wagging. Like the Triads of Hong Kong, the Yakuza of Japan or the Bankers in Switzerland, the MIB doesn’t like speculation about its affairs. Much of what people think they know about its activities is simply the result of rumours published by a sensationalist press. But this much can be said: it appears to exercise immense control over those referred to as its accounts, using tactics that amply justify its motto: Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. While its visible leaders now come from a variety of backgrounds, for years its most powerful members were all from one ethnic group, the kind of people whose names end in Roman numerals. And once you get involved with it, you can be pretty sure it will send around a man in a gray suit, white shirt and wingtips who will ask for money in the characteristic MIB style. Upgrade, he will say. This isn’t the first time The MIB as been in trouble. Years ago, as the result of unbridled aggression on the part of a former leader known as Vincent The Bully, the Feds attempted to arrest it. In those long gone Prohibition Days – nobody was ever prohibited from keeping their job if they bought from The MIB – the government trust-busters were the equal of any organisation. This is no longer the case. Today, the antitrust laws are rarely exercised. But other forces have held The MIB in check, outfits like the Cloners, whose ties to agitprop specialists (called the Ziffrags) are stronger than those of The MIB itself. The jury is still out on The MIB, but its boss is in big trouble. A dapper fellow known simply as Big John, the head of The MIB seems to have lost what is called respect in certain circles, face in others, and market share among the cognoscenti. As result, The MIB’s bonds with the financial community aren’t as strong as they once were. Critics say The MIB will survive, but that John has lost touch, that he couldn’t tell Bill The Kid Gates from Freddie The Laker Wang, and that he didn’t realise Gates had a Roman numeral in his name until it was too late. Maybe Big John will be sent to the Big House, which is what street people call academia, or Up The River, as New Yorkers describe the Foreign Service. But Big John has his boosters, too, even though they’re on the quiet side lately. Don’t count him out, say whisperers, he’s smarter than he looks. He’s going to sell a big consignment of hot preferred shares to the Japanese and bail out The MIB. Of course, Big John’s fans, known as MIBsters, may not have been paying too much attention to recent events in the East, particularly the broadcasts of the insidious financial reporter Tokyo Fell. – Hesh Wiener
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