The most distinctive thing about this image — sort of a cruel joke on Big Brother, or the Great Oz, or a daytime soap opera — might be the fact it’s already four-and-a-half months old. (Does that put the financial meltdown in mid-season?)
The photo offers Bernanke, looking like death-warmed-over, testifying before (or above) the House Financial Services Committee way back on September 24th. Of course, the effectiveness of Bailout I, then II, makes the facial expressions and the progression of heads — like a sinking financial chart — that much more depressing.
From 9/30/08 TIME slide show:”The global financial crisis in photos.” Accompanying article: The Bailout Defeat: A Political Credibility Crisis.
(image: Chip Somodevilla / Getty)