The good old days of early September

The economic crisis has already cost tens of thousands of Americans their jobs and millions more some fraction of their wealth. The carnage will undoubtedly continue. But oddly enough, recruitment videos for the crippled giants of our financial industry remain online and functional. Illogical? Bizarre, even? Of course! But as we’re seeing today, economies are founded on bizarre illogic. And the videos are poignant and funny.

“Merrill Lynch Executives” has a jaunty soundtrack, talking heads, and interviews with executives who look like they’ve just stepped off the Saturday Night Live set. (One’s Maya Rudolph. One’s Seth Meyer. You’ll see which is which.) Needless to say, there are plenty of shots of the company’s iconic mascot.

Over at Lehman Brothers, the website is all that remains. Skip past the risqué-sounding “Inside Internships: Conversations With European Interns,” head straight for “Are You Ready?” and watch the company’s top headhunter, Larry Band, give you the hard sell. As it turns out, Lehman was looking to hire individuals who were “adaptable, flexible, and collaborative.” All qualities that might have come in handy the other week.

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The good old days of early September