“The Wolf of Wall Street” — the Book

Edmund Connelly, Ph. D.


How many times have you heard about financial crimes and frauds perpetrated by people who happen to be Jewish? How many times have you heard about the association of Jews and Wall Street? For most TOO readers, these themes should be amply familiar.

Now let’s consider yet another instance of the above. Just before the economic meltdown of 2008, an important book about Wall Street appeared and became a bestseller. It was stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s first book about his crimes called The Wolf of Wall Street and was published in 2007 by major publisher Bantam Dell, a division of Random House.

Let’s allow an official overview to set up the tale:

By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting. From the binge that sank a 170 foot motor yacht, crashed a Gulfstream jet, and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids who waited for him at home and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did his bidding, here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called … “Wolf of Wall Street.” In the 1990s Jordan Belfort, former kingpin of the notorious investment firm Stratton Oakmont, became one of the most infamous names in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. Now, in this tell-all autobiography, Belfort narrates a story of greed, power, and excess no one could invent — the extraordinary story of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices at sixteen to making hundreds of millions. Until it all came crashing down.

Refreshingly, throughout the book Belfort openly and explicitly notes his marked Jewish identity and that of all of his close co-conspirators. It amounts to a fascinating look at the inner workings of a corrupt Jewish financial organization — and Belfort succeeds magnificently in narrating the rollicking affair. No wonder one newspaper called it “A cross between Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities and Scorsese’s GoodFellas. The comparison to Wolfe is apt, but rather than Scorsese’s GoodFellas, Belfort’s tale should be compared to Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas because it shares the same non-stop extreme adventure and use of mind-altering drugs.

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This essay will focus on the book, but be aware that in the background can be found fodder for Part II of the story, that of the 2013 film made from the book, starring the decidedly non-Jewish mega-star Leonardo DiCaprio. The contrast between Jewish identity in the book and lack of it in the film is breathtaking —  and deserving of serious attention.

The book begins in the spring of 1987, with Belfort just starting a new job as “pond scum” at the stock trading firm of LF Rothschild, which was a step up from selling refreshments at the beach or meat and seafood door-to-door on Long Island. Suddenly, the story jumps forward six years and Belfort is now in charge of a brokerage firm named Stratton Oakmont, a very WASPy sounding name, but in fact a firm composed mostly of Belfort’s fellow ethnics.he book highlights the hijinks going on at Stratton Oakmont — a midget tossing contest on the trading floor, for example — and, as a memoir, follows Belfort’s personal life, which revolved around his former model wife Nadine and his drug habit.  Rather than recount that, however, I would like to explore the ethnic undercurrent in the story, for that casts more light on what is happening in America  more generally today than does the story of a thirty-something hedonist.

Belfort grew up in Bayside, Queens, the son of two accountants. At one point he planned to be a dentist and was actually enrolled in dental school, but dropped out when he learned there was not much money to be made in modern dentistry. This middle-class trajectory shows that Belfort should not have nursed class grudges like many of the poor do, but Belfort did — against the very wealthy: but only if they were WASPs.

Belfort’s candor in writing about himself, his fellow Jews, and many of their attitudes toward outsiders is welcome, for it reveals many of the themes we’ve covered at TOO (and The Occidental Quarterly) over the years.  And Belfort is not at all shy about writing disparagingly about some of his co-ethnics, something which the Jewish community often discourages as being a shande far di goyim — a scandal in front of non-Jews.

The picture he paints of his father Max, for example, is one of a frustrated man with a titanic temper: “Even a simple trip to the refrigerator could be a dicey affair,” with his father exploding if any milk dripped down his chin as he drank directly from the container. “That goddamn piece-a-shit motherfucking milk container! Can’t those stupid bastards who design milk containers come up with one that doesn’t make the fucking milk drip down your godforsaken chin?”

Still, Belfort credits his father for coaching his Little League team and attending every last school recital Belfort took part in. Yet Belfort can also allow that his father “was the tightest man to ever walk the face of the planet.” Rarely do we read these days of that stereotype about Jews.

The real fascination surrounding Jewish characters comes with Belfort’s descriptions of his comrades, beginning with his right-hand man, Danny Porush. Danny, Belfort begins, “was a Jew of the ultrasavage variety.” With “steel-blue eyes,” Porush did not appear to be “a member of the Tribe,” a situation Porush himself helped along by dressing and acting like a gentile.  Like many other Jews, “Danny burned with the secret desire to be mistaken for a WASP and did everything possible to cloak himself in complete and utter WASPiness.”

Stratton Oakmont’s head of the finance department, Andy Greene, however, would never pass as a WASP, beginning with the fact that he had “the worst toupee this side of the Iron Curtain.” To Belfort, Greene’s toupee “looked like someone had taken a withered donkey’s tail and slapped it onto his egg-shaped Jewish skull, poured shellac over it, stuck a cereal bowl over the shellac, and then placed a twenty-pound plate of depleted uranium over the cereal bowl and let it sit for a while.”

When discussing another Greene who worked for him — this time Kenny “the Blockhead” Greene — Belfort describe’s Greene’s mother Gladys: “Starting from the very top of her crown, where a beehive of pineapple blond hair rose up a good six inches above her broad Jewish skull, and all the way down to the thick callused balls of her size-twelve feet, Gladys Greene was big.”

She was also quite willing to break the law, beginning with evasion of taxes on the cigarettes she and the adolescent Kenny smuggled into New Jersey. When Kenny turned fifteen and began smoking pot, his mother immediately became a pot dealer, providing her son “with finance, encouragement, a safe haven to ply his trade, and, of course protection, which was her specialty.” And because cocaine “offered too high a profit margin for ardent capitalists like Gladys and the Blockhead to resist,” they were soon enough plying that trade on Long Island, too.

One gets the feeling that for Belfort, the descriptor “savage” has a redeeming quality to it, as he describes many Jews that way, such as “the most savage young Jews anywhere on Long Island,” those from the towns of Jericho and Syosset. Then there is the Wall Street legend, J. Morton Davis, “a savage Jew,” and even Belfort himself, “the most savage Jew of all.” And don’t forget the “Quaalude-addicted, potbellied savage Jew with a thousand-watt social smile and a secret life’s mission to be mistaken for a WASP” who ripped Belfort off when selling him horses.

Make no mistake, Belfort adopts the irreverent tone of a frat brother, stereotyping wide swaths of humanity with a broad brush. Zurich-based German women were “broad-shouldered and barrel-chested enough to play for the NFL,” while the average French woman roaming the streets of Geneva “was slender and gorgeous, in spite of her hairy armpits.” With the Irish, “their proclivity for all things alcoholic was to be expected.”

Then there is the one Asian character in the story, Victor, “the Depraved Chinaman.” Victor “was a Chinaman, and like most of his brethren, if he had a choice between losing face or cutting off his own balls and eating them, he would gladly take out a scissor and start snipping at his scrotal sac.”

Such irreverence slides into the realm of hatred, however, when the subject turns to Germans:

Insofar as my own humble Jewish opinion went, the Geneva-based Frogs were the ones to do business with — as opposed to the Zurich-based Krauts, who passed their time speaking disgusting glottal German while binge-drinking piss-warm beer and eating Wiener schnitzel until their stomachs bulged out like female kangaroos after a birthing cycle.  And, besides, it didn’t take any great leap of logic to realize that there had to be a few Nazi bastards still hiding out among the populace, living off the gold fillings they’d forcibly extracted from my ancestors before they gassed them to death!

The real animus in the book, however, which stands out on page after page, is that against the WASPs around New York City. Belfort loathes them.

Belfort, however, provides a useful sociological opinion when he notes from first-hand experience that “WASPs were yesterday’s news, a seriously endangered species no different than the dodo bird or spotted owl. And while it was true that they still had their little golf clubs and hunting lodges as last bastions against the invading shtetl hordes, they were nothing more than twentieth-century Little Big Horns on the verge of being overrun by savage Jews like myself, who’d made fortunes on Wall Street and were willing to spend whatever it took to live where Gatsby lived.”

This observation nicely mirrors the discussions TOO editor Kevin MacDonald has made regarding the Jewish displacement of the former WASP elite in the United States. In the first issue of Radix, MacDonald in his essay “The Dispossessed Elite” reviews Andrew Fraser’s The WASP Question and agrees that “the Puritan-descended WASP elite that dominated the board rooms and the elite universities have lost their religious faith, and what is left of it is little more than a mild version of cultural Marxism; they have generally succumbed to the destructive forces of the new cultural dispensation.” (See also here.)

MacDonald also agrees with Fraser that America is worse off under its new elite, with the country now “an increasingly corrupt corporate plutocracy in which Ivy League Jews are heavily over-represented. . . .  Worse still, Jewish elites harbor a deep-seated animus toward the Christian faith professed by most Americans.” It’s one thing for the WASP elite to be displaced. It’s quite another when the elite replacing them is hostile to the people and culture they now rule over.

As we’ll see below, Belfort is highly ethnocentric, a fact which jibes with Fraser’s observation that “ethnocentric Jewish elites bear a large, unacknowledged (but glaringly obvious, to those with eyes to see) share of responsibility” for America’s moral decline, financial collapse and economic depression. Sounds like the world of Jordan Belfort and the Jews around him.

Naturally, in The Wolf of Wall Street we run into the classic theme of the Jewish male’s love of the blonde “shiksa.”  As a trophy wife, Belfort weds a British-born former model, Nadine, whom he christens “The Duchess.” “God, she was a real piece of ass, my wife! . . . And those legs of hers!,” not to mention “her great mane of golden blond hair.” Oh, and Nadine’s “loamy loins,” a phrase which Belfort stole directly from Tom Wolfe (to be found in both A Man in Full  and I Am Charlotte Simmons ).

As a super-rich playboy, Belfort had access to that which he liked — and he liked “shiksa goddesses” like the first-class flight attendant on Swiss Air, Franca. “What a hot little Swiss number! So perky! She was gorgeous, especially the way her blond hair fell on that creamy white blouse with its high-necked collar. Such repressed sexuality!” Even after he was jailed, then divorced by Nadine, Belfort continued to get the shiksas he wanted, as an interviewer discovered after Belfort’s release from prison. The interviewer, Geoffrey Gray, noted that both of Belfort’s assistants were the Jordan type: “Belfort’s lair here is like a high temple of the Shiksa Goddess. He laughs off his propensity for long blonde hair, blue eyes, and buoyant bosoms.”

This theme of shiksa lust wedded to resentment of the cultures and peoples whence the very shiksa springs is another common Jewish (male) trait. Novelist Philip Roth takes honors in that respect. Why his exposé, Portnoy’s Complaint, isn’t still required reading for White Nationalists is a mystery to me, for it reveals in literary form so many truths that allow us to understand the anti-Goy kulturkampf we are experiencing. In the novel, Portnoy sneers with respect to disgraced game-show winner Prof. Van Doren:

I was on the staff of the House subcommittee investigating the television scandals. . . . and then of course that extra bonus, Charlatan Van Doren. Such character, such brains and breeding, that candor and schoolboyish charm — the ur-WASP, wouldn’t you say? And turns out he’s a fake. Well, what do you know about that, Gentile America? Supergoy, a gonif! Steals money. Covets money. Wants money, will do anything for it. Goodness gracious me, almost as bad as Jews — you sanctimonious WASPs!

Yes, I was one happy yiddel down there in Washington, a little Stern gang of my own, busily exploding Charlie’s honor and integrity, while simultaneously becoming lover to that aristocratic Yankee beauty whose forebears arrived on these shores in the seventeenth century. Phenomenon known as Hating Your Goy and Eating One Too.

Why isn’t that last phrase as well-known as the odious Susan Sontag’s nasty slur, “The white race is the cancer of human history”? Hating Your Goy and Eating One Too. In the end, dispossessing the male WASP elite meant possessing and degrading their women.

As much of a bon vivant as Belfort comes off as in his book, he is in Roth’s league when it comes to WASP hatred, too, for his memoir seethes with hostile references to the former elite. Some jabs are not so bad, such as his description of Thurston Howell III of Gilligan’s Island fame, where Belfort decides Howell “really was an idiot WASP. In typical WASP fashion he’d married a female of his species, an atrocious pineapple blond named Lovey, who was almost as great an idiot as he but not quite.” Howell, Belfort quips, “was a bumbling moron . . . with an IQ of sixty-five and a penchant for bed-wetting.”

Later, when recuperating in Florida, Belfort and entourage move into a rental mansion in a place called Indian Creek Island, which Belfort discovered was “a sanctuary for a little-known endangered species called the Old Blue-haired WASP” —  about as “lively a species as the sea slug.”

When introduced to the concept of title trustee (which Belfort learned about when he was using a Swiss forger to illegally move his money to bank accounts in that country), Belfort sneers that “In the United States, it was the stuff of wealthy WASPs, who used trustees to watch over the inheritances, or trust funds, that they had set up for their idiot sons and daughters. . . . If all went according to plan, the idiots wouldn’t get their hands on the bulk of their inheritances until they were old enough to accept the fact that they were truly idiots. Then they would still have enough money left over to live out the rest of the WASP lives in typical WASP fashion.”

Belfort might have become rich, but he never lost his Queens, NY chip-on-the-shoulder. For example, driving out to Long Island, he exclaims, “Dinner out!  Westhampton! Or Jew-Hampton, as it was referred to by all those WASP bastards living down the road in Southhampton. It was no secret that the WASPs sneered straight down their long, thin noses at the Westhamptonites, as if we were the sorts of Jews who’d just had our passports stamped at Ellis Island and were still dressed in long black coats and top hats.”

Ironically, some of this WASP hatred revolves around country clubs. I say ‘ironic’ because just recently TOO re-ran my essay “Reel Bad WASPs,” which examines anti-WASP sentiments in the two Caddyshack films (see the excellent YouTube clip here). When Belfort and his wife moved to an exclusive town in Long Island, their mansion was next to the seventh hole of the Brookville Country Club. “And it wasn’t just Brookville Country Club that restricted Jews. No, no, no! All the surrounding clubs restricted Jews or, for that matter, anyone who wasn’t a blue-blooded WASP bastard.”

Interesting that TOO has a category labeled “Jews as a hostile elite” that is groaning chock-full of insightful essays on the hostility of people like Belfort. Belfort’s Wolf of Wall Street perfectly encapsulates one example of that hostility.

Also, how hypocritical that Belfort takes such offense at the alleged clannishness of WASPs when Jewish clannishness is a central feature of Belfort’s story. With the exceptions of the women he beds and servants he keeps, Belfort seems to live in an exclusively Jewish universe, as he readily admits. Most of his Strattonite brokers were Jews, and Belfort counts on these Jews to be loyal — as only Jews can be to him, as Belfort believes. We’ve already seen that right-hand man Danny Porush was Jewish, as were Kenny Greene and Andy Greene (“no relation—I seemed to be surrounded by Greenes”), and Gary Kaminsky, another close affiliate. There’s also his Quaalude dealer Todd Garret, a “wacky” Jewish martial arts aficionado who had fled Lefrack City in the early 1970s. (Garret also had a thing for shiksas, as his wife Carolyn was “a Swiss bombshell.”)

Of course there is Jewish footwear mogul, Steve Madden, with whom Stratton Oakmont made loads of money through illegal dealings. Belfort also details his illegal undertakings with other fellow Jews, such as Alan Lipsky, Belfort’s “oldest and most trusted friend,” and Elliot Loewenstern, another trusted associate. In the book, Belfort writes that each of them personally kicked back $5 million a year for the help Belfort had given them in setting up their own securities firms.

Loyalty — this was critical to Belfort. The just-mentioned kickbacks, for instance, were paid “out of loyalty, and out of respect.” This theme is another one that surfaces constantly in the book. Danny Porush was “above all else, loyal as a dog.”  Andy Greene, who’d earned a law degree at “some Mickey Mouse law school in Southern California,” was valued not for his legal acumen but for his relationship to Belfort; “that and loyalty.”

And it was a lack of perceived loyalty that soured Belfort on “the Depraved Chinaman.” Different tribe, no trust. A very familiar theme to TOO readers.

The issue of loyalty is so pronounced that it enters the realm of cults, really. What Belfort had done was establish himself as a guru, much like other Jews such as Sigmund Freud, or in finance, Michael Milken, who created an operation not on Wall Street but in Beverly Hills. Indeed, negative news stories about Stratton often accused Stratton of being “a self-contained universe out on Long Island.”

Belfort is aware of this aspect of his operation, telling a friend once, “You know, Stratton’s like a cult, Ike; that’s where the real power is. All those kids look to me for every little thing.” To another associate he confessed, Stratton is “a self-contained society” — and Belfort had to resist the urge to say cult.

In the end, Belfort’s universe collapsed and he was sent to jail. More details about that aspect of his life can be found in the sequel Belfort wrote called Catching the Wolf of Wall Street: More Incredible True Stories of Fortunes, Schemes, Parties, and Prison (Bantam, 2009).

It is the first book that concerns us, however, and next we will see how this story of a crooked Jewish stockbroker, a story brimming with Jewish themes, was translated into a major Hollywood film in 2013.  Stay tuned.

 

 

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