(K. Brent Tomer),
BANKS failed, unemployment soared, house prices slumped and American politics was transformed by the emergence of the Tea Party. Given the drama created by the 2007/08 financial crisis, one might have expected it to play a bigger role in popular culture. But Hollywood directors and commercial novelists have all struggled with the world of finance.
Financiers are not easy heroes, though they make great villains. Gordon Gekko (as played by Michael Douglas) was the most charismatic character in “Wall Street” in 1987. More recently, “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013), may have tried to demonstrate the utter cynicism of share pushers, but the film revels in the hedonism of Leonardo DiCaprio and his sidekicks. More often, financiers and businessmen are shadowy off-screen presences, manipulating politicians and the environment for short-term gain.
This is an age-old problem. In the 19th century Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope both created financial fraudsters who could have been the model for Bernie Madoff in the form of Mr Merdle (in “Little Dorrit”) and Augustus Melmotte (“The Way We Live Now”). But neither is as vivid as the…Continue reading