Why not explain the $700B bailout with a comic – you know, like Google?

A very quick thought on the financial perhaps-it’ll-turn-into-a-full-blown crisis now engulfing the US stock markets.

Why, rather than writing up a bill said to be “the size of two bookends” to justifying the $700 billion bailout (really, a purchase of “toxic” assets whose real value is uncertain – so how are they sure they’re worth $700bn? – meaning that Wall Street gets real money to play with, while the US government owns lots of dilapidated homes in Florida) – why, instead of that, didn’t they just follow the example of one of the biggest companies around?

After all, when Google wanted to launch a new browser, it didn’t do it with big long thick press releases. (Or if it did, I certainly whizzed past it.)

Instead, it hired a cartoonist to explain it. Which he did, very thoroughly, making the problems of runaway processes, browser hangs, Javascript compilation and regression testing comprehensible to anyone who has got past moving their lips while they’re reading. (Unless they’re giving speeches, of course, President Bush.)

I do think there’s just a chance that a cartoon might have made it all moer comprehensible. Not least to the poor American electorate who are going to have to explain to their children why their banks are all owned by China. And their car makers. And supermarkets. Though their houses – ah, their houses are their own. In fact, everyone’s.

I wonder what that comic would read like, though? Anyone care to hack the Google Chrome one? It’s Creative Commons, after all.


  1. Well, the Google comic went over the heads of a lot of non-technical PR people who claim to be web marketing experts, so I don’t hold much hope for that approach.

    However, I think if the comic were written more like HellBoy, it might have a chance. In that case, you would have symbiotic pair of monsters: mortgage sourcers and investment banks. The mortgage sourcing monster would die leaving the investment bank parasite to go limping back to its father (a three faced entity consisting of George W. Bush, Phil Gramm, and John McCain) to save it.

    Barack Obama would be a young black orphan who long ago decided to join the forces of light and save ordinary Americans. Barack, like HellBoy, would have the disadvantage of looking different from everyone else and therefore not being immediately accepted.

  2. It seems these days its pretty easy to go “over the heads” of a frighteningly large number of people in this country. I’ve been stunned today by comments from supposedly smart people, like one from a biz guy I follow on twitter who said, “Why all the hate towards McCain for trying to get back to DC? Both candidates are still senators and have a responsibility to serve.” Come on, is it really more important for the two presidential candidates to drop out of (our) sight at this very instant to join the 1,000’s of other people scrambling to solve the latest crisis? One of these guys is going to take charge of this and every other crisis for the next four or eight years… I want to hear from them. (See: John McCain and the Transparently Political Ploy: http://seidlweb.com/public/item/213341)

    But, lots of people take the spinmeisters bait, hook, line, and sinker. I’ll bet a good cartoon would be just the type of “proof” millions of non-critical-thinking voters would accept.

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