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Essays

The collapse of the market, over and above the pain, couldn’t help but be amusing. It is amusing to see a fat land quivering in paunchy fright. The quake, furthermore, verified our suspicion that our wise and talky friends hadn’t known for months what they were talking about when they were discussing stocks. Forcing us to breakfast on copper and oil, dine on sugar and food products, and sleep with rails and motors, they had succeeded in boring us to the breaking point. Uninformed dreamers, running a fever. Then came the debacle. They still talked, in husky voices; but we at least had the satisfaction of knowing that it was costing them anywhere from a hundred to two hundred and fifty dollars a word every time they opened their mouths. Many of them have gone quietly back to work. They may not be the most useful citizens in the world, but from now on when they talk they’ll talk about their business or their love affairs and know a little something of what they’re talking about.

E.B. White, November 1929

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