You’ve all heard time and again how personal accountability has been thrown out the window and about the emerging nanny-state that is quickly gripping this country. Since it has also been said that life imitates art, is it not appropriate to completely let the real people who are to blame off the hook and indict fictional characters who exhibit the kind of behavior or ideas that those real people are only imitating? In this recurring column, I look to find the fake culprits from film, television, literature, etc. who have caused real world problems.
The Credit and Financial Crisis
J. Wellington Wimpy (of Popeye The Sailor) — Described as intelligent and well educated but lazy and gluttonous, his burger addiction and need for instant gratification showed the world how to live beyond their immediate means, plunging the US into the current credit crunch. “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a Hamburger today,” easily translates into ”I’ll gladly pay you on the first of each month for the next thirty years, although I have no verifiable income, for this half million dollar home, which only two years ago cost $100,000, in an ‘up and coming’ area of town with no money down today.” Just like the home that is no longer worth the amount of the loan, a burger has no value once it passes through the digestive system, unless of course it was one of those gilded burgers you see on Fine Living TV. But I don’t think the kind of places Wimpy was frequenting were serving burgers with golden flakes.
Further evidence against Wimpy was that the way he got away with his many scams was by using false names and placating those he defrauded by promising future payment, then reneging. The connection to recent revelations about the housing bubble is clear. Replace the aggrieved restaurant owner, patron or other dupe with Lehman Brothers or Bear Stearns and you’ve got the makings of the current credit crisis. Life imitates art and we all get to suffer.
Thanks, Wimpy, for plunging us into a global depression. We all look forward to you paying off your debts, the Tuesday after hell freezes over.
Do you have a real world problem that may have been caused by a fictional character? Feel the need to defend a fictional character that has been erroneosly charged with causing one? Let me know in the comment section or email me your suggestions at jgoldowsky [symbol for AT] whenfallsthecoliseum.com. I’m ready to believe you.