Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Financial Retcons?

The world of comics is awash with shady details that are constantly in flux. When did Wonder Woman leave Paradise Island? 1940? 1986? 1991? 2000? Nobody really knows. Is Jason Todd dead or alive? Is Bucky a frozen corpse or a brainwashed super-spy working for the Russians? How does Batman stay in his early 30s while Dick Grayson ages 10 years before our eyes?

Comic book history is full of details that have been changed, rewritten or ignored. This is the essence of the RETCON! When writers need to make comics history new or fresh, they simply change it. For example, Superman is the last Kryptonian. No he's not. He has Supergirl, Krypto, General Zod, Ursa, Non, Streaky the Super-Cat... Oh wait no... yeah he's the last Kryptonian again. Thanks Crisis on Infinite Earths. But wait... you brought all those people back again? And now there's an entire city of Kryptonians alive because they were captured by Braniac (the REAL Braniac this time, because all other versions of him were fake). Alright then.

The world of comicdom is constantly in flux. But right now, so is the world of finance. The world economy is in its own Zero Hour, Crisis in Finance (though time is probably applicable to a certain degree).

In light of the recent bankruptcy of CIT, it occurred to me that financial bailouts are essentially the retcon of the financial world. We know that the mismanagements of the past occurred and somewhere in the back of our minds, we know those events still count. AIG did need monetary assistance because of bad investments. However, we're also presented with a reset version of the world where AIG is no longer a company unable to meet its financial obligations. These changes happen suddenly, with little or no justification or respect for history.

One second Ford and GM are in severe financial trouble because of their policies. The next minute it's bonuses for everyone in financial solvency land.

We have witnessed a Deus Ex Machina restructuring the financial landscape. We can call these changes... Greenspan Punches.



Update: Technically, it's supposed to be a "Bernake Punch," but how cool is that Greenspan photo?

15 comments:

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Great comparison, but it only made me feel even more depressed about our economy when we can simply retcon away any problems. Now, if someone retconned my student loans away, I would be quite happy.

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