Michael Lewis - Marmite man

Whilst at University, I developed an intense appetite for Marmite.

It all started off so casually... A piece of toast here, a bagel there. Then you find yourself mixing it into pastas, spreading long sinewy lines in bacon rolls, even subtlety lapping up a cheeky spoonful on its own when you think no-one is watching.

After a while, I realized that I was losing interest. Everything that I once loved about Marmite suddenly became what I most resented. Chutneys and onion spreads started to show me what I'd been missing and I realized that I actually hated Marmite. I hated the cloying undefinable taste and the gloopy viscous texture, the nauseating brown stains that refuse to shift from your teeth.

Today, I woke up to realize that my flatmate, the depraved and vicious bastard that he is, had seen fit to eat the last of my eggs that I had reserved for a delicious Monday blues beating breakfast.

Cracking open the cupboard door revealed only one option left available to me, its brown and yellow packaging mocking me for thinking myself free of its clutches. A large tub of Marmite, softly calling to me for one last scoop.

In that moment, I realized that I hated Michael Lewis.

As someone who carelessly leveraged themselves to the hilt when they got their first banking job, I found myself paying more rent that I could afford and resorting to reading paperback books over and over again on the way into work. Now, don't get me wrong, I used to love Michael Lewis, but then, as time went on, I realized that a lot of the things he writes really start to grate with me.

He is a fantastic author who offers great insight into the financial services industry, but what I started to realize is that he has become an 'opinion stuffer'. Rather than letting you come up with your own opinions about his characters, he likes to shove his own down your throat.

Case in point - Flashboys. I'm sure Brad Katsuyama is a great guy in real life, but Lewis loses me with quotes from his secretary such as 'I don't care what I do, I just want to work for him', or his brother 'You've never failed at anything in your life'. Making these characters out to be Mother Theresa, the Pope and Jonny Cash reincarnate all rolled into one really started to become obvious.

On the whole, his books are a great read, but please Michael, credit your readers with some intelligence. Or even just make it more obvious, perhaps a list in the front of the book labeling 'goodies and baddies'.

You might not notice it until you read him over and over again, but at some stage you will clock it. And like Marmite, it might just turn you into a hater, rather than a lover.


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Best Response
Nov 17, 2015 - 10:46pm

I thought it was pretty funny, even though I have no clue what Marmite is...

Marmite, and its down under equivalent Vegemite, is fermented labrador retriever feces infused with enough sodium to kill an African elephant, although Brits and Antipodeans can ingest it for breakfast on a daily basis due to favourable genetics, that one spreads on toast. Or on any and everything. And that they love. If you're American it tastes like that. When Brit/Aussie moves to the US they look for it just like Americans look for fluorescent Kraft mac & cheese when they move to London.

When I first started going to meetings at banks in London there was a lunch sandwich spread that was the exact same in every large, medium and small bank (some caterer absolutely cornered the market honestly, not kidding) and there was the typical-turkey/cheese, ham/cheese, veg & something, etc-and then there was one sandwich with black spread and a weird animal based meat that it took me a year to figure out what I was eating. Marmite and chipped beef (still willing to confirm that). As an American, regardless of my personal girth, I instantly stroked out but the requirement of having defibrillators in the non-Commonwealth meeting rooms brought me back.

In reality I think it's fermented yeast spread with a fair degree of salt. They think peanut butter is just as weird. And my Commonwealth friends would say PB&J is just as weird.

Nov 19, 2015 - 11:34am
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