I’ve posted before about esoteric cartoons, and I will do you the favor of recounting one of my favorite Seinfeld dialogues on the topic:
Elaine: Look at this cartoon in the New Yorker, I don’t get this.
Jerry: I don’t either.
Elaine: And you’re on the fringe of the humor business.
(George comes in)
Elaine: Hey! George look at this.
George: That’s cute.
Elaine: You got it?
George: No , never mind.
Elaine: Come on , We’re two intelligent people here. We can figure this out. Now we got a dog and a cat in an office.
Jerry: It looks like my accountant’s office but there’s no pets working there.
Elaine: The cat is saying ” I’ve enjoyed reading your E-mail”.
George: Maybe it’s got something to do with that 42 in the corner.
Elaine: It’s a page number.
George: Well, I can’t crack this one.
Elaine: Aahh! this has got to be a mistake.
George: Try shaking it…
So now consider the following that I saw on Greg Mankiw’s blog the other day:
(For the record, I tried shaking my laptop, to no avail…) I am very curious as to whether the average Wall Street Journal reader gets the joke- I mean, I’m sure the politics of different Washington think tanks is really top of mind for finance guys, right?
Basically, the cartoon is a play on the recurring liberal-conservative divide. In the red corner, we have The Heritage Foundation, which is well-known to be a think tank focused on formulating and promoting conservative public policies. On the other hand, we have the Brookings Institution. Brookings, according to Wikipedia, is a non-partisan organization whose views are largely directed by the attitudes and viewpoints of its researchers. For the purposes of this cartoon, we will put Brookings by default in the blue corner.
I am guessing that this cartoon came after reading about the disagreements between Brookings and Heritage over cap and trade, among other things. But…(comes to senses)…wait, what? I thought that think tanks were just there to do (reasonably) impartial research in order to provide support for whatever “type” of policies make the most sense. Now I know better…and so do you, so keep this in mind when reading about any “unbiased” research coming out of these organizations.