Investigating “The Big Short” and “Blaming Teachers”

Screenshot 2016-01-03 09.41.35This winter break I had the opportunity to watch movies both at home and in the theatre. One of the films was The Big Short based on a book  by Michael Lewis– a funny but frustrating recap of the economic crisis of 2008. The last scenes of the film detailed the fallout using a voice over by Ryan Gosling playing the role of Jarred Varnett:

“The banks took the money the American people gave them and used it to lobby the Congress to kill big reform. And then America blamed immigrants and poor people. And this time… even teachers. And when all was said and done, only one single banker went to jail.” (PDF script)

I bolded “And this time… even teachers” because I was surprised to hear such a clear connection between a “they” and “blame teachers” when the film was entirely about the financial industry. To be truthful, there was some educating going on in the film. The “teachers” were celebrities Margot Robbie (actress), Anthony Bourdain (cook, author) and Selena Gomez (singer, actress) who broke the 4th wall to “teach” audiences about credit-default swaps and collateralized debt obligations.

One argument the film makes is that an educated public is a defense against the kind of fraud and deceit that was uncovered in the mortgage crisis.

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