Synopsis of Banking Art and the Audacity of Banking Humor

Art and Banking don’t mix, at first site. However, like any traditional investment like cash, stocks and bonds, art is actually considered a viable alternative investment  – the “classic” non-traditional asset similar to real estate, hedge funds or commodities. Art has for decades been considered an interesting vehicle for diversifying an investment portfolio since it correlates negatively with traditional assets.

Not that usual are banking comics. Although commercial cartoons have existed since the invention of the print press for various industries, no particular comic was dedicated entirely to banking and the financial world at least in a systematic sense. The commercial comic  Dilbert by Scott Adams focuses primarily on project management jokes and project humor. This is quite surprising since the ups and downs of the stock  market offer a wide source of entertainment for banker jokes, management humor, the financial funny of things across a broad spectrum of sub financial specialties from the accounting cartoon to the crash comic, tax joke, education humor, intelligent jokes, coin fun, art PHD, art MBA, buzz comic right up to the rich comic, money comic, satire cartoon, value entertainment, management cartoon, boss funny, gender jokes and loads more.

What’s so special about the bank cartoon in the world of the commercial humor? Isn’t banking just another industry we can and should make fun of, after all bankers are just people too. Well, money jokes are just no laughing matter, traditionally! Since the market crash in 2007 things have loosened up a bit; out of crisis humor has arisen. Proof of the pudding are investment bankers turn corporate comedian Vikram Poddar or Aidan Killian. They like other corporate comedians they have understandably introduced the world to bank jokes, money cartoon and business fun, that at large is nothing more than a healthy valve for business relief, a new form of financial relief by introducing the funny corporate, finally!

This trend does not stop with stand-up comedians, it has caught on to Hollywood. The film the Big Short based on the book by Michael Lew (writer of Moneyball) tells the story of the mortgage meltdown and how banks bundled mortgage IOUs into bonds and structured products and forged them as safe investments. By going short these foul positions a handful of markets cracks made billions on the housing crisis. The film was particularly amusing with its attempt to explain the construct of CDOs with the help of Selena Gomez and Anthony Bourdain. In this regard the film added in the element of using humor to educate; stock market education, investing education, funny entertainment in service of financial education.

Where will this take us? Perhaps we can learn something more from it. Humor might be the most intuitive way to learn! We just can’t afford to not exploit the MBA jokes, the PHD comic, calculator jokes, the dollar cartoon, economic jokes, the funny dollar and of course Malkiel’s dart monkey. The benefits are all too obvious as history has shown us that many of the greats like Plato, Socrates and Aristotle were in fact vastly humorous (see the The superiority theory of humor) and would surely indulge in math jokes and the value comic.

There might be another aspect that falls fully into the space of corporate humor, namely financial news, business news, economy news, market news and in this case banking news. Who doesn’t want to be informed about the state of the economy with the spice of art money, art business, funny money and business funny. How can we not inform of the new technologies with technology jokes and coin cartoon that threaten to disrupt the entire industry.

This is what The Bankey represents, the audacity of humor in an industry that strives to be taken seriously, a goal that ironically might be achieved all the more with the a healthy portion of humor and satire. This is what the business cartoon does, this is what a great comic book is book is all about – bringing life of the art investment into daily markets.