There’s always something to howl about

Ironically, Ironman is Just a Man

I love the word Irony.  Maybe its because Ironman has been my favorite song forever.  Or maybe it’s because I thoroughly enjoyed the movie Ironman.  Oh, wait.  That just takes us back to the song Ironman, which is the theme song of the movie.  No, I know why I love irony.  It’s because all around us life is full of irony if only we will pause to notice it.  Want some examples?

Take the three original learned professions, the priesthood, the law, and medicine.

Priests keep our most private confidences, and priests today are known as violating our most sacred honor.  Lawyers, who were originally called to be ambassadors of justice are today known as the greatest of liars and truth is no longer admissible in a courtroom.  Doctors, called to save lives and preserve health, practice in hospitals where the American Medical Association claims 300,000 people die every year, the result of doctor negligence.

How about something closer to home, like real estate?

The mortgage industry helped people achieve the American dream, the dream of home ownership.  Today because of astonishing levels of greed in the mortgage industry (and lack of adult supervision), the same people who were helped by the mortgage industry are now in foreclosure and losing their dream.

And then there are real estate agents.  First you have the word “real.”  If agents are real, they why do so many have a reputation for being phony?  And you have the word “agent.”  An agent represents a client, protecting that client exclusively in every way, including financially. Just like a lawyer who can only represent a plaintiff or a defendant, but not both, an agent represents his client and not the opponent.  The next step of irony is to create a system called “dual agency.”  Voila!  We can represent both.  I suggest lawyers create dual representation, too. That way lawyers could practice lying to themselves as they promoted the plaintiff’s version of the facts on one side of the courtroom, and then the defendant’s version on the other side of the courtroom.

I love irony.  How about a political and judicial system that ignores the human rights of women for thousands of years, and then in the span of a few decades creates state agencies (aka DSHS) that are given free reign to administratively reverse all of that in favor of women.  How history must be laughing!

And finally let’s go back to real estate again.  In the beginning (not that beginning) of this great nation’s history, white men destroyed nations of Indians and took their land.  Today, Indian tribes are sovereign and immune from our laws in most every respect.  That’s ironic, but it gets better.  Guess who created the case precedent for such extraordinary law?  You’ve got it–white judges.  Sorry, but it gets even better yet.  That case law was created to resolve a dispute between the oil companies and several Indian tribes in Alaska.  The result was an easement from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez across land owned by our Federal government.

Meanwhile, the Indians sell fireworks from China to white men, our toys are made in Taiwan, and American men are finding their wives through online Russian dating services. And who is buying the most U.S. real estate right now?  Arabs, Russians, and Chinese, our biggest enemies in decades past.

If irony rules throughout history, can we tell the future by reversing everything we think will happen?  Let me take a stab at the future of irony.

Five years from now, the newspaper headlines might read:

Tepees Are Back and Selling Like Hotcakes
All Lawyers in the State of Alabama Rounded Up and Summarily Killed July 4th
Louisiana Passes First State Law Requiring All State Judges Be Women
Class Action Suit Settled, Homeowners In Foreclosure Now Own Homes Free and Clear (and Countrywide)
Alabama Reports No Crime in State Since July 4th, Three years Ago
Washington Stunned by Election Results:  America Elects First Canine President–A Bloodhound

Don’t laugh.  It could happen. Everything else has.  You can follow Chuck’s ironic life at Sequim Real Estate.


5 Comments so far

  1. Brian Brady July 30th, 2008 11:24 pm

    I’ll stipulate that both priests and mortgage originators have betrayed the confidence of their stakeholders but as a Jesuit educated, surviving mortgage originator you won’t be surprised when I point this out:

    The overwhelming majority of priests did NOT violate that sacred honor and over 90% of the borrowers in the mortgage-greed boom will do just fine.

    We sinned, no doubt but the world is not completely unhinged. The pendulum swings both ways.

    Welcome, Chuck. We’re going to have fun.

  2. Eileen Pettengill July 31st, 2008 9:23 am

    My observation in the Las Vegas market is that there was plenty of greed to go around and was definitely not limited to mortgage brokers. The market here is suffering significantly as a result, but ironically-it’s a great time to buy!

    To Brian’s point:I am originally from New England and can tell you in no uncertain terms, the majority of priests in our area did, in fact,violate their sacred honor and a whole lot more. Many churches there did become “unhinged”. But that’s a discussion for another time.

  3. Chuck Marunde July 31st, 2008 10:30 am

    No doubt there was plenty of greed to go around in the mortgage industry. I even know some real estate brokers who refinanced everything, and now are in deep kimshi. But the mortgage industry’s culpability goes much deeper than most people realize. For example, we had small operations of 20 to 40 mortgage reps in sweat shops churning out refies left and right, and the owners of those little mortgage companies made millions. They knew exactly what they were doing, and they used everyone to fulfill their greedy ambitions. They didn’t care about homeowners, and they didn’t even care about their own mortgage reps. If their reps didn’t perform, they were replaced in a heart beat. Greed ruled the day. The affiliate mortgage companies and the underwriters all knew what was going on, but they were making big bucks, too. It went deep and wide, from the appraisers who overvalued, to the mortgage reps to their banks or loan companies to the underwriters, to the secondary mortgage market, to the mortgage backed securities market, and to greedy investors on Wall Street. Everyone knew that everyone knew, but no one admitted that everyone knew. They were making too much money.

  4. Don Reedy July 31st, 2008 7:15 pm

    I was raised in Youngstown, Ohio, a steel town during the time when steel drove the nation. Youngstown was also “Murder City USA” in the early 1960’s, replete with gangsters, mobsters and others of ill repute.

    There have always been bad guys. You know, they wore black hats in the days of black and white TV, murdered in red and more red in the last 30 years, and culminated (at least for me) in “No Country for Old Men” this past year.

    People have been selling “bridges in Arizona” and “500 acres in prime Texas ranch country for only $1995 for as long as I remember.

    The irony, if you will permit me, is not that bad buys (and gals) exist, but that we are estranged from why we hated or feared them in the first place.

    When you stop being individually accountable, in your business, your leisure, your home, your faith or your finances, you (ironically) become the bad guy.

    Welcome, and thanks for some fodder, Chuck.

  5. Gary Smith August 4th, 2008 8:23 am

    In keeping with your real estate theme and from the perspective of the home inspection and the home inspector, again using your “irony of it all”:

    It has never ceased to amaze me that the vast majority of those who benefit from the service and are responsible for the fee, too often rely on someone who will not make one payment, will not lift one tool for upkeep and will risk nothing at the time of sale.

    Although I do agree the buyer’s trust in the agent/broker should be upheld, the pure and simple fact that the broker benefits monetarily “should” send signals to a buyer to, at a very minimum, interview the inspector before making a final choice of employment.

    With the internet and the connectivity to information so unbelievably easy to attain in today’s world it’s ironic how folks continue to act fairly “information-less”.

    Good article…thanks

    SafeHome Inspections – Ridgeland, MS