Current Essays

Blow Your SOx Off On:2008-04-25 04:21:08

’Tis now the very lunching time of day
When gullets yawn and hell itself breathes out
Grease vapours to this world: now could I drink hot soup
And do such bitter business as the Peekaboo1
Would quake to look on.2


Sorry ’bout that, but I’m writing this as I grab some lunch at work, and having just got out of a meeting to determine how compliant some of the applications I’ve written are with that dread-named ‘SOx’ (or, as it’s sometimes even dreader-named ‘SarbOx’, or, dreadest-named of all, ‘Sarbanes-Oxley Act ’)---and, as any accountant, or auditor, or indeed any poor computer programmer unlucky enough to get involved can tell you, all SOx meetings leave everyone concerned feeling just as if they had been leading characters in a Shakespearian Tragedy (or, if they are really au fait with Jacobethian theatre, they’ll say it’s more like everyone concerned feeling just as if they had been leading characters in one of Webster’s bloody theatre-of-blood-type revenger’s tragedies---most likely Flamineo from “The White Divel ”).

But to leave such mere tragic theatricalities and come back to the tragic reality of the tragic present, we have of course just been indulging in yet another heaped helping of being, in Aldous Huxley ’s great phrase from Ape and Essence , “punished for being punished”---in this case punished for being punished by proxy, in fact this is a clear and indeed vicious case of Financial Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy because, as you almost certainly already know, a few years ago certain of the Rich’n’Powerful™ were behaving even worse than usual and in addition to this, committed the sin, unforgivable in the Rich’n’Powerful™ (the only one indeed that is unforgivable by the rest of the Rich’n’Powerful™), of actually getting caught doing it---unforgivable that is because it really lets the side down by hinting at what the rest of the Rich’n’Powerful™ are up to most of the time and, generally, how most of the buggers got to be Rich’n’Powerful™ in the first place.

So of course the government had to Act, mainly by passing one. And the said government, happy to believe they’ve put the fear of God into the Rich’n’Powerful™ (or at least the fear of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board or PCAOB for short or as it’s so often un-affectionately pronounced ‘peekaboo’), and having thus adjusted their governmental breech clouts thereby protecting their more sensitive areas, with satisfaction at a job well done, plopped themselves back down on to those more sensitive areas and resumed their repose.

Of course the said government did no such thing as to put the fear of anything even remotely God-like or even peekabooish into the Rich’n’Powerful™, but instead through the inevitable application of the Universal Law of Trickle-down Agony, put the fear of eternal (and somehow tragic and unsavoury and deeply, deeply incomprehensible) meetings into the impecunious and impotent (even if they’re actually only ‘impecunious and impotent’ when compared to the Rich’n’Powerful™ of course) like me. It’s so bad that I’m sure people have gone to the scaffold with less alas and more alacrity than I can muster for a SOx meeting.

But the really tragic thing is that SOx-meeting torture is only a small part of a much wider trend, whereby some absolute bastard does something absolutely bastardly and the direct and sole consequence is that the rest of us are made to suffer for it in yet another example of being punished for being punished (that bloody Aldous Huxley has a lot to answer for---I mean, coming up with a horrid idea like that).

It’s ironic isn’t it---in fact in this context it’s even worse than that: it’s Enron-ic!

Cheerio for now
Richard Howland-Bolton


1 peekaboo: a quasi-humourous pseudo-acronym from the alphabetism PCAOB of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board

2 Not of course to be confused with WS’s H,PoD III ii l.251-5. for other poetic responses to this unmentionable Act, see here

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