Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 1
The following is part of a great piece of satire from

Recognition of Pro-Formalist Movement Gets WorldCom, Andersen Off Hook

Washington, D.C. ( ? In a surprise decision that exonerates dozens of major companies, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that corporate earnings statements should be protected as works of art, as they "create something from nothing."
[The WorldCom exhibit at MoMA]
Installing the WorldCom exhibit at MOMA

"One plus one is two. That is math. That is science. But as we have seen, earnings and revenues are abstract and original concepts, ideas not bound by physical constraints or coarse realities, and must therefore be considered art," the Court wrote in its 7-2 decision.

The impact of the ruling was widespread. Investigations into hundreds of firms were cancelled, and collectors began snatching up original balance sheets, audits, and P&L statements from WorldCom, Enron, and Global Crossing. Meanwhile, auditing firms such as Arthur Andersen (now Art by Andersen) were reclassified as art critics, whose opinions are no longer liable.

"Before we had to go in and decide, 'Is it right, or is it wrong?'" said KPMG spokesman Dan Fischer. "Now we must only decide, 'Is it art?'"

In Congress, all further hearings into irregularities were abandoned in favor of an abstract accounting lecture given by Scott Sullivan, former Chief Financial Artist of WorldCom, which had been charged with fraud for improperly accounting for $3.85 billion.

"Art should reflect life, so what I was really trying to accomplish with this third quarter report was acknowledge that life is an illusion," said Sullivan, explaining his acclaimed work, "10Q for the Period Ending 9/30/01."

U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin of Louisiana, however, was forced to apologize, admitting he could only see a lie.

"Yes, well, a man with a concretized view of the world may only be able to see numbers that 'Don't add up,'" said a haughty Sullivan. "But someone whose perceptions are not always chained to reality ? a stock analyst, say ? may see numbers that, like the human spirit, aspire to be greater than they are."

Several Sullivan pieces are now part of a new show at New York's Museum of Modern Art entitled, "Shadows & Spreadsheets: The Origins of Pro-Formalism."

Robert Weidlin, an SEC investigator and avid collector, was among the first to peruse the Enron exhibit, which takes up an entire wing of the museum "You look at these works, and you say 'Is this a profit, or a loss? Is this firm a subsidiary, or a holding company?'" said Walden. "I have stood in front of this one balance sheet for hours, and each moment I come away with something different."

Like other patrons, Weidlin said he didn't know whether to be impressed or outraged, a reaction that pleased Andrew Fastow, the former Enron CFA who is a leading proponent of the Trompe L'Shareholder style.
[Buy SatireWire's new book!]

"An artist should not be afraid to be shocking," said Fastow. "As did the Modernists, we should fearlessly depart from tradition and embrace the use of innovative forms of expression. Like, say, 'Special Purpose Entities' and 'Pooling of Interests.'"

For the rest of the piece just visit

Also they have done some other pieces about this whole mess so if you visit this site look for one on Martha Steward "Laws are for people..." and another "CEO's make a break for the boarder..."
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.