Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Trendwatch: I-Bankers Invade Buenos Aires

This week’s sign that the apocalypse is upon us……

According to a “Trendwatch” report posted today on Gawker, Buenos Aires is now attracting a whole new slew of Ex-Pats: laid-off investment bankers. Fantastic!

I’m not questioning the veracity of this “trend” (in fact, I know one such person: a high school classmate of mine arrived here a few months ago after losing his I-Banking job in NYC), but the fact that vapid online Manhattan media outlets are devoting virtual ink to this has me bracing for the inevitable occurrence in the very near future when I overhear a wannabe Master-of-the-Universe in a button-down in Palermo marveling at “how fucking cheap it is here, man. This would cost like $200 bucks in the city.”

There’s been real ink shed on this topic recently as well: A New York Observer piece is what originally piqued Gawker’s interest, and The Washington Post also filed a similar, yet pointedly more academic, dissection of the trend in an A1 story last Friday.

But unfortunately, Gawker’s post will likely get the most eyeballs, and generate the most comments, because, hey, that’s the way things work in our quasi-journalistic online world these days.

Of course, I am guilty of writing a similar “foreigners are flocking to Buenos Aires” story, as are several of my BsAs-based colleagues, and that’s fine. We identified what we considered to be a legitimate trend, and we reported it. (My Newsweek piece on this topic was plagiarized by the New York Times last year, although they refused to acknowledge it despite overwhelming evidence.)

But to get this info from Gawker, and to know that it will be taken as gospel by many readers, is disheartening. To boot: Gawker's post today makes cheeky references to two well-known Buenos Aires landmarks, and gets them both wrong: the Teatro Colon has been closed for renovation for some two years, so it’s not likely that any visitor (I-Banker or not) has strolled through there recently, and last time I checked “Pablo Neruda’s old house” was in Chile, not Argentina. (I know, I know, it’s hard to keep track of these Latino literary legends. Neruda, Borges, Marquez....what’s the difference, right?)

**UPDATE** - My friend, the always reliably snarky Fernando Cwilich Gil, has also taken issue with this disturbing trend, and says so in a post today on BlackBook.

Fernando's been writing some really insightful and salty Buenos Aires-related posts these past weeks on BlackBook, be sure to check them out.


SaltShaker said...

There goes the neighborhood...


Gisela Giunti said...

Very good one,
Actually I think is good to write about it, is a fact and as such is good to inform about it.
one question,
do you think is it possible to exchange links from my webpage and your blog?



Conor said...

Strange that they are going to Argentina, a nation which is now cheap after an economic crash that many in Argentina believe was brought on by the same school of economic thought that they were the fallen soldiers of.

Im waiting to hear about them in many circles in Argentina being likened to locusts. After destroying their own economies they come to eat up everything in Argentina! A harsh analogy I suppose and one I am not a believer in.

I hope many come and, while they had the initial intention to live a good life, they fall in love with the place and come to cherish it. They may have bad press but they are not bad people and have a lot of expertise and knowledge that I hope that the few who do stay and integrate into Porteno life have the ability if needs be to utilize their skills and make the city and country better. It's a hope...