By Elzio Barreto and Clare Baldwin
HONG KONG (Reuters) - If Greg Smith can do it, so can Darth Vader.
The scathing resignation letter of the Goldman Sachs executive has inspired a sheaf of online spoofs written on behalf of several imaginary employees.
Within hours of the New York Times publishing Smith's letter, in which he calls the investment bank a "toxic" place where managing directors referred to their clients as "muppets", the villain of the popular Hollywood sci-fi epic Star Wars also decided to quit via British satirical website, The Daily Mash.
Using many of the same phrases Smith penned in his letter, Darth Vader said he no longer felt at home in the Empire.
"The Empire today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about remote strangulation. It just doesn't feel right to me anymore," Darth Vader said in his letter.
The spoofs highlight how investment banks such as Goldman Sachs have become household names after the global financial crisis triggered by the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, and how deeply allegations of corporate greed resonate at a time when recession, joblessness and shrinking incomes have become the norm for many across the globe.
Parodying Smith's righteous tone, columnist Jason Gay penned a resignation letter for New York Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni, who did actually resign from the top-ranked U.S. basketball team on Wednesday.
"Yes, look, I am sorry that I am upstaging the Goldman Sachs guy. I know he probably woke up feeling he was going to dominate the most-emailed list, only to get upstaged by me. What can I say? This is New York, pal," the letter read.
"My proudest moments in life - that seven-game "Linsanity" winning streak; my splendid mustache -- have all come through hard work. But the Knicks have become too much about shortcuts and not enough about achievement. This doesn't feel right to me. We're not a globally influential investment bank."
Other global corporate icons were not spared. Online magazine Slate published spoof resignations of what it called disillusioned employees at retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., McDonald's Corp. and Google.
"When I started here, there was an entire refrigerator stocked with coconut water. Now, that fridge holds nothing but agave juice. I don't care for it," wrote a fictional Google employee named Bob Randolph.
"When I look at the McRib, I realize that it's no longer about serving the highest-quality ambiguously sourced, rib-shaped meat product," Slate quoted another imaginary McDonald's employee as saying. "How many 'limited-time offers' can we make before we lose the trust of our loyal patrons?"
After Smith's letter was published, some New York Times online readers were as critical of the former executive as he was of his employer, saying such epiphanies often occur after amassing vast amounts of wealth.
Smith's likely large income was also lampooned by columnist Michael Comeau of online financial media firm Minyanville.com, who penned "Why I Am Applying for an Executive Director Position at Goldman Sachs".
"After perusing the career section of your website, I found the perfect opening for a guy like me: executive director, and head of Goldman's US equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa," Comeau wrote, referring to Smith's former position.
"And more importantly, I know how to keep my mouth shut," he said.
"For example, let's say I was to unhappily quit the firm after, I don't know, 12 years. Having likely made millions and millions of dollars working for Goldman, I would never turn around and blast the firm's bad behavior after filling my bank account with the fruits of that bad behavior."
(Writing by Miral Fahmy, Editing by Jonathan Thatcher)