As evidenced by this chart from the betting site Intrade, the probability of Slumdog Millionaire winning the Oscar for Best Picture has risen over the past two months right along with the probability that 2009 will be a year of recession (i.e., two negative quarters of G.D.P.):
This correlation isn’t meaningful in any way. Lots of things rise (or fall) in lockstep all the time without having anything to do with one another. Intrade sent this picture around just for kicks, pointing out the presence of “a feel-good movie for feel-bad markets.”
But it did get me to thinking. However you want to characterize this economic storm we’re living through — Gordon Brown “mistakenly” called it a depression while Richard Posner has called it a depression outright — the fact is that it doesn’t yet have a proper name, just as many historic events don’t have a name until long after the fact.
I am now wondering if “Slumdog,” a new word that has burst into public consciousness, shouldn’t be the name, or at least part of it. It’s got the requisite feel-bad connotations — slums, dogs, etc. Are we living through the Great Slumdog? The Slumdog Recession/Depression? The Day of the Slumdog?