In praise of Matt Levine November 14, 2012 at 10:42 am

I think Matt might be the best journalist writing about the capital markets at the moment. Read this on some recent Bank of America/MBIA shenanigans: it’s well-informed, novel, and funny. He is an ex-equity derivatives guy and it really shows in his understanding of what’s important and how to explain it*.

*Plus I have an uncommon fondness for footnotes, and he uses even more of them than I do.

3 Responses to “In praise of Matt Levine”

  1. Levine is great and getting better but I’m an even bigger fan of his predecessor “equity private” whose current (now sporadic)and somewhat less topical output can be found at Lisa Pollock at FTAlphaville can be pretty good too. Zero Hedge covers a huge amount of territory…some of it reaching the outer orbits but their best output is second to none.

    I’m a fan of footnotes too…and their hip sibling hyperlinks although I think endnotes are a pain in the neck. No doubt the original goddesses of bibliography had their own distinct personalities and back stories too.

  2. Mercury – the problem is printed footnotes, especially if there are a lot of them, make the page look ugly. Most law journals are a case in point. End notes allow the casual reader to move on without cluttering up the page, but they force the person who does want to read them to flick around, so I agree there is a trade off. I’m currently writing something that has a lot of notes, so I’ll take your comment about end-notes under advisement. Perhaps there should be a quiz…

  3. Well, I suppose one must consider how something will look on an e-reader these days but on the printed page at least, if footnotes are neatly divided and in a noticeably distinct font/style/size I don’t think they detract from the visual appeal of the rest of the page at all, quite the opposite in fact – but to each his own. It depends on the notes themselves too. If they’re mostly formulas, citations, Ibids and minor details then endnotes are better but if they explain or detail an important point that aids the on-the-run comprehension of the main text then footnotes are the way to go I’d say. Are you allowed to do both(letters for one kind, numbers for the other)?? I’m not sure about the ruling on that.

    It’s rare now to scan a train or similar venue and take in a wide collection of back covers of popular, specialty, controversial and salacious paper reading materials (one more bit of color gone from our culture perhaps). But eventually the e-device arms race will cool down and to the extent that people are still social in meat-space, there will be left some amount of demand for another way to send social and status signals to others in such settings. Could footnotes be a dark horse candidate? Only time will tell…