Making memes: How one banker spends his time
When I was a young debt banker, I hated Jimmy Carter. I was a cigar-chomping, ambitious yuppie with a Patek and a Rolodex that could choke an elephant, while he was a peanut-farming pinko with a charisma deficit.
But since I actually had a day job, the sum total of my protest against him was occasionally defacing his picture in Time magazine.
Bankers nowadays seem to have a lot more time on their hands. They leave the office before dark, find time for exhaustive conversations about whether a prince should really be called Archie, and seem to debate endlessly whether yoga is great, really great or really bloody great. They listen to music that was not available when they were teenagers. They read.
If all of that was not bad enough, one Chinese debt syndicate banker revealed to me recently that he spends much of his time at work ‘making memes’ about US president Donald Trump. He then sends these around to friends, colleagues and the occasional journalist (who in no way leaks the information to a grumpy columnist).
The young banker’s latest piece of memetic artistry was inspired by Trump’s rather unhelpful tweets about the trade war, which have risked another flare up. The banker combined Trump’s face with the body of Thanos, a lumbering villain who appears in the latest Avengers film.
Thanos is a Greek word roughly meaning ‘death’, while 'Trump' is an American word roughly meaning ‘orange’. The implication is clear: the orange man will kill the stock market with his horrible tweets.
Although I can’t fault the message, I’m not entirely comfortable with the method. Should debt bankers really have enough time to make memes at work? Haven’t they got any actual banking to do?
I don’t want to sound like a complete curmudgeon. I did, in fact, suggest a few more memes to the young time waster — I just had to explain to him who Jimmy Carter was first.