Sunday, September 6, 2009

Who is Tyler Durden? Who cares.

The bloggers and now even the mass media out there are up in arms about the identity of Tyler Durden, the name used on a populist financial blog Zero Hedge. It's one person, it's many people, it's a huge organization. They have access to a Bloomberg terminal, thus must be a well oiled machine because a Bloomberg terminal is $1,500 per month. But one can access a free Bloomberg terminal in a public library in New York City, so maybe it's just one workaholic person after all. Ex-trader at a bank, ex-quant, ex-hedgie - does it really matter?

The issue with Zero Hedge is their focus on conspiracy theories that feed populist fervor, so pervasive in the US these days. Trying to expose improper conduct and illegal activity in the financial services sector is a noble cause and we applaud them for it. But dumping on those who make money or those in power just because of their position is not constructive. Suggesting that Goldman is in the middle of every illegal financial scheme doesn't add any value. Constantly forecasting a new form of Armageddon gets you nowhere. And calling all this hype "libertarian thinking" simply misses the point of libertarianism.

But what's really sad is the hypocrisy that seems to be coming out of Zero Hedge. Supposedly someone got bumped off Zero Hedge for criticizing them (this is just one person's statement, but there seem to be others out there). Here is a comment posted on the Naked Capitalism blog from someone calling himself/herself Mean Professional Trader:
I got ip banned from zerohedge today for posting comments deriding ZH and the Tylers Durden. I am a trading professional who uses software to trade different assets on exchanges across the globe. I do have an agenda which is to trade and make money. Zerohedge offends me because they are populist, ill-informed, and stir up angry, ignorant commenters cum acolytes and claim to be insurgents against “elites”. Just like Lou Dobbs on CNN. I am beyond suspicious of those propose to put the heads of elites on sticks. ZH are jokers who are engaged in something actually quite dangerous. Just look at the crazy frothing anger by their registered users looking for someone to blame for the US’s current troubles.

Tylers claim to be fighting against manipulation of retail investors and then peddle very tenuous, sometimes simply false information presented as fact. Their fight club trope shows how shallow and irresponsible they really are.

Their Bloomberg screen shots are supposed to be signifiers of their insider status, as “real” wall streeters, but they continuously abuse terminology and basic facts while railing against the state of the modern world.

Hopefully Mean Professional Trader is mistaking, because blocking IP addresses on a major financial blog for criticism is truly pathetic, no matter who Tyler Durden is or how many of them are out there.

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