January 16, 2009


The news about CitiGroup losing a wazillion dollars reminds me that "MetaGroup" would be a good name for an evil multinational conglomerate in a Hollywood thriller.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

Citi Morg would be a nice name for the Morgan Stanley + Smith Barney brokerage.

Anonymous said...

It would actually be more like "Mhetagroup"

Anonymous said...

Aren't sinister corporation names great?

Metagroup isn't bad at all, it reminds me of the Umbrella Corporation from the Resident Evil movies. Both are fitting, but perhaps a bit too broad. They should be reserved for satire, like Robocop's Omni Consumer Products.

Joss Whedon is batting .500 in sinister corporation names. Blue Sun from the Firefly series is not particularly resonant, but he hit the ball out of the park with the demonic (literally) law firm Wolfram & Hart in the Buffy spin-off, Angel.

Fairly unsensationalistic names that retain their sinister aura due the excellence of the works they appear in include Thomas Pynchon's Yoyodyne (who retain the services of Wolfram and Hart, according to Wikipedia), the Weyland-Yutani Corporation from the Alien movies and of course, Blade Runner's Tyrell Corporation.

The reason for the fairly lengthy preceding list of sinister sounding fictional corporations is to strengthen the case for the real world being stranger (and more sinister) than fiction.

Exhibit A: One of the largest private equity firms in the United States - owning a controlling stake in corporations that employ 106,000 and do more than $30B business anually - is Cerberus Capital Management.

That's right - the owner of Chrysler, Albertson's, et al. - is named for the three headed dog that guards the underworld. It's the sort of name that elimates any lingering doubts one may have about the infernal nature of the larger agencies of finance capital.

For those who slept through Greek Mythology week in high school: Cerberus prevents souls that have crossed the river Styx from ever returning from the underworld. His name may (according to Wikipedia) mean 'demon of the pit' and he is the offspring of Echidna, the half-woman/half-serpent wife of Typhon, a terrifying volcano demon who is at war with the gods.

If that's not high finance in a nutshell, I don't know what is. The naming of CCM is sort of like a vast, corporate Freudian slip.

And remember - Cerberus Capital Management is from the real world, unlike MetaGroup, The Umbrella Corporation, Omni Consumer Products, and the rest. In fact, it's impossible to imagine a name like that getting past even a barely competent script editor. "Could we try for something more subtle here? Tisiphone Real Estate, maybe? Lamia pharmaceuticals? Tartarus Motors?"

At least those last three haven't appeared in Harry Potter, so they might serve to hide the true nature of a secretive, enormous hedge fund from the public a little longer in our post literate age.

So: more proof, as if it were needed, that life is stranger than fiction. Also more clumsy and obvious. If only CCM had a script editor! Oh well, too late now.

Tino said...


"Arabs lost 2.5 trillion dollars from credit crunch"

Suggestion for headline:


Anonymous said...

Meta Group was a public company before. It was acquired by Gartner

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite less-than-clear corporate names is "American Standard" - a company perhaps best known for making toilets. I guess nobody wanted to work for "The American Toilet Corporation".

However, had it been so, I can just imagine the evolution of the company's name through the decades:

1950s: American Toilet Corporation

1960s: Toiletdyne Industries

1970s: AmCrap Incorporated

1980s: Toiletron Technologies

1990s: Toilescent

2000s: The Sichuan Toilet Corporation (a division of Cosco)

Anonymous said...

Some years ago a banking commercial made fun of large impersonal banks. The name of the fictional bank spoofed was "The Bank of the Northern Hemisphere." TBOFTNH would speak to customers only through its ATMs. Its voice sounded unfriendly.

"Engulf and Devour" and "Dewey Cheatem and Howe" are old faves.

Anonymous said...

I cannot wait for this evil bank to go bust. I briefly banked with them here in Europe and was disgusted at the heavy charges and obvious attempts in trying to get people into debt. It couldn't happen to a nicer crowd.

Anonymous said...

MetaGroup is not Hollywood fiction. MetaGroup is real.

They just looted hundreds of billions more for insolvent Bank of America this week.

MetaGroup is the global banking cartel. They fund your politicians and shape your media.

Anonymous said...

I liked "U-North" in the film Michael Clayton as a deliberately vague corporate name that masked sinister behavior. The firm (a giant agri-chemicals manufacturer obviously based on Monsanto) was officially called "United Northfield", but went by "U-North", complete with cutesy, all-lower-case graphical logo (u/north).

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget "Lye, Cheete and Steele".

Anonymous said...

Austin, TX has a law firm Morris, Craven & Sulak (pronounced "shoe-lock"). The spelling and pronunciation of Sulak/ "shoelock" always reminded me of Victor "Fronkenstein" in Mel Brooks' great film.

I would see ads for this company and just not believe my eyes. Is there really a lawyer named "Shoe-lock"? Is he actually, I wondered, paid in pounds of flesh? And what about partner Craven? What's his role in all this?

I was talking with someone at a party in Austin and brought up the unfortunately named law firm. At least Mr. Morris has a normal name, I said.

Oh, you mean "Lefty" Morris? my interlocutor replied. He then went on to regale me with horror stories from their frat days which I will not repeat here.

Morris, Craven, and S(h)ulak. You can't make this stuff up.