Paul Krugman recently noted a close resemblance between Ben Bernanke’s famously lame prediction about the economy — “I think as those green shoots begin to appear in different markets and as some confidence begins to come back that will begin the positive dynamic that brings our economy back” — and the words of Chance, the simple-minded gardener who is mistaken for a sage in the satiric movie Being There, based on Jerzy Kosinski’s novel — “As long as the roots are not severed, all is well and all will be well in the garden. . . . There will be growth in the spring.”
In the same piece, Krugman quoted from the novel Treasure of the Sierra Madre, by B. Traven:
Anyone who is willing to work and is serious about it will certainly find a job. Only you must not go to the man who tells you this, for he has no job to offer and doesn’t know anyone who knows of a vacancy. This is exactly the reason why he gives you such generous advice, out of brotherly love, and to demonstrate how little he knows the world.
B. Traven was a German mystery man who wrote in Mexico and probably was an anarchist. I’ve never read Traven, but the quotation and my fondness for the classic movie adapted from his novel makes me want to run out and buy the latter.
Footnote: I wonder if the the most famous line from the movie — “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!” — was taken from the novel.