Samurai Boogie! (or why it pays to not pay attention)

Last week I checked out this year’s Oscar-winning documentary Inside Job, as much to educate myself in the global financial meltdown that has become the defining event of the past three years as to see the film that took the award from Banksy’s delightful Exit Through the Gift Shop. Inside Job is a terrific, if simple, documentary on a tough subject, and it certainly deserves the accolades coming its way. For two hours I was amused, educated, upset and enraged by the events, figures and interviews the film covers in its scope.

But I’d be lying if I said I took it all in. A combination of tiredness (later revealed to be caused by the onset of a bronchial infection – plot twist!) and an awful lot of figures (economics is in my DNA, but I am a mutant) caused me to occasionally lose the flow of the debate, during which time I found myself studying the limited detail on screen. In a talking heads documentary, this could mean only one thing… reading the titles of books on the shelves behind the interviewees.

Oh don’t say you’ve never done it! We’ve all been there. Strangely however, my meandering eye would eventually pick out the highlight of the film for me. Amidst the piles of economic textbooks, banking forecasts and Icelandic census data, was a book titled Samurai Boogie.

Samurai Boogie: Honestly, it was clearer on the big screen

One of the most interesting things about this little discovery is that it is on the shelf of Robert Gnaizda, the moustachioed former policy-maker who is one of the few interviewees who acquits himself admirably, if not heroically. Compare him to these creeps, with their shelf-loads of books like Beyond Greed and Fear, Inside the Economist’s Mind and The Theory of Corporate Finance. In this light Robert Gnaizda seems all the more honest, approachable and human.

Admittedly, a little bit of internet searching has revealed that Samurai Boogie was written by Peter Tasker, a “former financial analyst-turned-author“. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a trashy political thriller with a cover that looks like this:

So the real question now is not how do we get ourselves out of the financial hole that years of Wall Street and Washington recklessness have dug for us, but who owns the rights to the movie version of Samurai Boogie and is there some way we can get Robert Gnaizda a cameo in it to thank him for bringing it to our attention?

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