Ken Harrelson on the Banking Industry

The New York Times had a lovely piece yesterday on Ken Harrelson, White Sox broadcaster and sabermetric denier.  We at NotGraphs caught up with him yesterday evening, while he was putting on a pair of lead boots just in case gravity were to suddenly disappear, to get his thoughts on the banking industry:

The banking industry?  I remember when you could just go into a bank, ask for money, and they wouldn’t worry about all that crazy stuff, like checking your balance, or adding and subtracting.  You didn’t give people money because of how much they had in their accounts — you gave them money because you could see what kind of people they were, and whether they looked like people who would have money.  Too many good bankers have lost their jobs because they weren’t able to calculate interest rates, or determine whether a number was above or below zero.  Good bankers, who’d spent their career giving money to people, getting penalized just because all of sudden they were expected to know the difference between a number and a letter, or how to count.  Counting is nonsense — one of the biggest jokes I’ve ever seen.  A good banking man can look at a pile of money and know exactly how much is in there, or at least be close enough that the details don’t matter.  If you start distilling banking into dollars and cents, you’re making a huge mistake.  The numbers are ruining banking, I’m telling you.  Ruining it.  Now excuse me while I go push on the wall for a few minutes — it takes every one of us to make sure the Earth keeps on spinning, so I’m just trying to do my part.

Thanks, Ken.  Here’s to 38 more years of broadcasting, since you can’t trust those doctors to tell you how long a person’s lifespan is. You’ll be broadcasting — and making almost as much sense as you do now — for decades after those silly numbers on the heart rate monitor say you’re no longer breathing!




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Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer, a satirical novel that should make people who didn't go to law school feel good about their life choices. Read more at McSweeney's or elsewhere. He likes e-mail.

11 Responses to “Ken Harrelson on the Banking Industry”

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  1. Doug says:

    Not one mention of the corruption? The drug money laundering? Yeah Hawk, they’re great guys.

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  2. leeroy says:

    I think I speak for the entire NotGraphs community when I say that I am anxiously awaiting Banknotes Harper’s response.

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  3. Dan Rozenson says:

    “Too many good bankers have lost their jobs because they weren’t able to calculate interest rates, or determine whether a number was above or below zero.”

    So good, I had to copy and paste it here.

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  4. Apocalypse33 says:

    Is it bad if I wasn’t sure if that quote was made up or not? I mean, considering the person in question….

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  5. Ctownboy says:

    I thought the bad bankers lost their jobs because they didn’t have TWTMM (The Will To Make Money).

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    • Pale Hose Kyle says:

      As Murray Chass once said, “I suppose that if stats mongers want to sit at their computers and play with these things all day long, that’s their prerogative. But their attempt to introduce these new-age statistics into banking threatens to undermine most customers and bankers enjoyment of banking and the human factor therein. People make money. Numbers don’t.”

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  6. Buck Weaver says:

    He’s gone from local joke to national joke.

    If only Rick Hahn could dump him along with the rest if this pile of dung.

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  7. Tom McFeeley says:

    Bankers just don’t have TWTL — The Will to Lend — anymore….

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  8. james wilson says:

    In 1967, directly in front of my two dollar second row right field bleacher seat in back of the short wall at Fenway, I watched Harrelson make the most miraculous catch I ever saw of a routine fly ball, in which he ended both on his ass and backward. Who would expect Harrelson to understand banking or keep a checkbook balance? This is being completely unreasonable.

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  9. Tricia says:

    No one said he had any brains! Only he thinks he does!

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