The Banker Who Was God

The Banker Who Was God


From this week's Market Shadows Newsletter, The Banker Who Was God (6-23-13).


American writer and cartoonist James Thurber wrote, "The Owl Who Was God" in 1940, long before the Chairman of the Federal Reserve would become the de facto ruler of the world’s financial system. It begins as a typical fable about relationships among animal characters. “Once upon a starless midnight there was an owl who sat on the branch of an oak tree. Two ground moles tried to slip quietly by, unnoticed. ‘You!’ said the owl. ‘Who?’ they quavered, in fear and astonishment, for they could not believe it was possible for anyone to see them in that thick darkness.” 


The owl soon demonstrated accidental highness and gained a reputation as the greatest and wisest creature of the region. He could see in the dark and answer all questions. Except for a particularly observant fox, the neighborhood animals became intoxicated with the owl’s splendor and selected him as their leader. 


The animal fan-club blindly trusted the owl and followed him everywhere. “He walked very slowly, which gave him an appearance of great dignity, and he peered about him with large, staring eyes, which gave him an air of tremendous importance... So they followed him wherever he went and when he bumped into things they began to bump into things, too. 


“Finally he came to a concrete highway and he started up the middle of it and all the other creatures followed him. Presently a hawk, who was acting as outrider, observed a truck coming toward them at fifty miles an hour, and he reported to the secretary bird and the secretary bird reported to the owl. ‘There’s danger ahead,’ said the secretary bird. ‘To wit?’ said the owl. The secretary bird told him. ‘Aren’t you afraid?’ he asked. ‘Who?’ said the owl calmly, for he could not see the truck. ‘He’s God!’ cried all the creatures again, and they were still crying ‘He’s God’ when the truck hit them and ran them down. Some of the animals were merely injured, but most of them, including the owl, were killed. 


"Moral: You can fool too many of the people too much of the time."


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