What's Greek for Groundhog?

 | Feb 02, 2012 | 9:30 AM EST  | Comments
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It may be repetitive to read or hear about the movie "Groundhog Day" on Groundhog Day, but it's a pop culture opportunity that's too hard to pass up.

Feb. 2 is now a global holiday because of the movie and it belongs at the top of the pantheon of modern holiday movies with "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" and "Bad Santa."

The situation in Greece is the obvious parallel to the film, since every day we hear that a debt-haircut agreement is minutes, hours or another time dimension away. The next morning, it's back to where it started.

But there's a cultural roadblock in applying the "Groundhog Day" analogy. The movie is essentially a Western morality tale where Phil Connors is doomed to repeat the same day in Punxsutawney until he learns empathy and understanding and amends his ways and is ultimately redeemed. This is what the troika wants from the Greek government and nation: an epiphany and reform to end these debt talks.

The Greek view is a lot more like the tale of Sisyphus, who was doomed to just keep rolling that rock for, among other things, scheming with government figures and killing tourism. They look resigned to keep rolling the rock at the debt talks again and again until a deus-ex-machina moment ends the whole thing.

A third party would be helpful, someone like the most fascinating character in "Groundhog Day": Ned Ryerson.

Ned is the only entirely consistent character in the movie, no matter what happens. He endures being ignored, a punch in the face and a very long, creepy hug and still remains upbeat. He's all about business (selling insurance), but is able to improvise because "it's all one big crap shoot, anyhoo."

Replace Christine Lagarde with Ned Ryerson and the deal will get done.

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Banker Hall of Fame Update: Josef Ackermann's final quarterly results for Deutsche Bank are just the kind of swan song that keeps someone to at least a second or third ballot on Hall voting.

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