The Colbert Report

Season 4 Episode 151

Michael Lewis

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Aired Weekdays 11:30 PM Nov 19, 2008 on Comedy Central
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Tonight Stephen welcomes the author of Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity, Michael Lewis.
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      • Cliff Sloan: Let me just mention some of [the side-effects]. Dry mouth, severe weight loss, restless leg syndrome, restless arm syndrome, restless torso syndrome, massive weight gain, phantom hand syndrome, vivid dreams of self-cannibalism, late onset albinoism, spontaneous pregnancy, dissolving intestine, vein seizures, aortal collapse, re-emergence of the umbilical cord.

      • Stephen: Tonight: U.S. automakers face bankruptcy, which may explain those ads for the 2009 Ford Hobo. And: Have we put too much faith in the free marker? And just how much can I get for my golden calf? Then my guest Michael Lewis, author of the new book Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity. I believe it's the biography of Jim Cramer. Sarah Palin's getting a book deal, which means Wasilla is getting a bookstore. This is the Colbert Report.

      • Stephen: Well I say crazy is in the eye of the beholder, which brings us to tonight's Word: Mad Men: Now folks, we used to call people crazy or "delusional" if they thought things like CIA agents were stalking them or FBI agents were listening to their phone calls. Now we know we shouldn't call those people delusional, (We should call them "detainees") in fact, according to the American Psychiatric Association, if a belief is: "…accepted by other members of the person's culture or subculture…" it is not a delusion. Great news. That means my Princess Diana commemorative plates really are worth a fortune. (Go great with Camilla Parker bowls) And it means that our collective cultural belief that the unfettered free market will take care of us is also not delusional. ("Taken care of" in mafia sense) No, it is actually a religion. (Moneytheism) You see, psychiatrists often use cultural acceptance to explain why it's not crazy to hold certain religious beliefs, say, a virgin gave birth to God's son, or it's an abomination to eat shrimp or we protect ourselves from evil by wearing magic underwear. (It's called a "condom," Stephen)

        So let's just classify belief in the free market as religion, after all, they both have invisible hands and move in mysterious ways. (And both bring us to our knees) That way no one can call us crazy and we can get all the benefits the government gives to churches. We'd no longer have to pay taxes on the money we make, as long as we face Wall Street six times a day and say our payer: There is no God by Alan, and more profits are his prophet. Then on Judgment Day, Ronald Reagan will return on a cloud of glory and take us up to money heaven. ("St. Peter, tear down this gate!") And the wicked will be case into a lake of fire. You better stock up on aloe, Paul Krugman. At least, that's what I think will happen if we just believe in the free market hard enough, and I can't possibly be deluding myself when so many others agree with me.

        And that's the Word.

      • Stephen Colbert: Remember, if you have missed any portion of tonight's episode ... I await your tearful apology!

      • Stephen Colbert: We cannot give the auto companies 25 billion dollars bailouts they are begging the Congress for. There is a better solution! As proposed by Mitt Romney who wrote in today's 'The New York Times' (shows newspaper exerpt and reads headline) "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt".
        If these companies fail it doesn't mean they are just going to disappear. After all Romney failed and he won't go away!

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