The McKinsey Summing

Though this appeared yesterday on my new favorite blog, The Awl, I cannot get it out of my mind and so I am posting on it now. Alex Balk, one of the two wit mavens running the thing, came up with a brilliant parody of the death throes of luxurious media company CondeNast as it prepares to be pared down by a swarm of McKinsey consultants. Oh, and he did it in the form of “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats. A bit insidery, perhaps, but it works.

Here is the original:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

And here’s Balk’s version, “The McKinsey Summing“:

Kerning and kerning in the widening spire
The editor cannot spurn the consultant;
Things fall apart; Balthazar is on hold;
Mere sandwiches are loosed upon the world,
The Orangina-dimmed tide is lost, and everywhere
The ceremony of heated basalt stone massage is disallowed;
The best lack all subscriptions, while the worst
Are full of fashionate intensity.

Surely some termination is at hand;
Surely the McKinsey Summing is at hand.
The McKinsey Summing! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Edwin Coaster
Troubles my sight: a cramped and crowded Gehry-land;
A shape with doughy body and a coif beyond grand,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sunglasses of Anna Wintour,
Is buying its stir-fry, while all about it
Unmanicured nails of the indignant Glamour girls.
The darkness drops again but now I know
The fault was not just with Portfolio
No, fifty years of charging it to Si
Have ended gift bags and the car service guy,
And what daily beast, its Nobu dinners in the past,
Slouches towards 1166 Sixth Avenue to be born?

(1166 is where CondeNet is housed, according to a media reporter friend.)

Leave a Reply