Citibank as the new DMV. Ha. Ha. Ha

"Funny or Die" equates nationalization with Kafkaesque long lines. Sorry, wrong punch line.

Published March 10, 2009 4:14PM (EDT)

Perhaps my sense of humor has been impaired by one too many posts about bank nationalization, but I found it hard to crack a smile while watching the Funny or Die video clip "The New F***cking Citibank" that is currently making the rounds.

The gimmick is that a nationalized Citibank, now that it's part of the government, will perform with vaunted government efficiency. In other words, like the "f***cking DMV."

"I had to get in a line, to get into another line, to get in a third line, to be told that somebody gave me the wrong f***ing form."

"The loan officer said we'd have to take a drug test in order to be considered for a home improvement loan. And sign a pledge of righteousness."

My first gripe with this alleged comedy is that it could just as easily be a marketing campaign funded by bank lobbyists who want to avoid nationalization while continuing to feed at the government pig trough. "Harry and Louise," anyone? There's a bizarre sense of House Republican contrarianism at the root of this "joke." I'm just not seeing the laughs in suggesting that government is the problem, in the winter of 2009.

But my second issue is that it's just stupid. As I wrote yesterday, failing banks get "nationalized" all the time, in the sense that the government seizes them, cleans 'em up and then sells them off to another private party. And no one gets a drug test or is suddenly forced into a Kafkaesque nightmare. You want a nightmare? Let's not nationalize Citibank, and then see how much fun it is waiting in the unemployment line.

Not safe for work, by the way, if you didn't already guess that from the quotes:

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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