Monday, March 10, 2008

I know this is wrong of me

There is a great German word, schadenfreude. I am not going to consult a dictionary, but I believe a good working definition of schadenfreude is "happiness at the misfortune of others".

Let me say straight off that I know that schadenfreude is unhealthy and probably morally wrong. I mean, what does it say about someone who derives pleasure from the suffering of others?

Which brings me to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.

I just got a CNN Breaking News e-mail alert that Spitzer is being investigated for meeting with a prostitute. According to CNN, Spitzer has apologized to his wife, his family and the public. In politics-ese that means, "He did it."

I couldn't be happier. Eliot Spitzer is a moralizing git who loves nothing better than to use the coercive power of government to beat others over the head with his vision of how they should live their lives.

Recall that it was Eliot Spitzer - and not the shareholders of the New York Stock Exchange - that decided that the retirement package awarded to outgoing chairman Richard Grasso was too much.

He seems to have a penchant for going after the powerful and wealthy in society (even though he himself is a member of that group, having grown up in the wealthy Riverdale section of the Bronx and attended Princeton and Harvard Law).

He has pursued numerous investigations of corporations, even when they were not strictly within his jurisdiction (read he was grandstanding). In 2005 the president of the US Chamber of Commerce said of Spitzer's approach as New York Attorney General, "[his is] the most egregious and unacceptable form of intimidation we've seen in this country in modern times".

The real icing on this cake as far as I am concerned is that hopefully this will kill any (and I am sure he has them) ambitions Spitzer may have for national office.

Oh, how the mighty are falling!


Jonathan B. said...

Excellent post. I read that article with the same glee, and I'm not ashamed to admit I felt to guilt at my enjoyment of it. I don't think it's wrong to delight in the misfortune of others when the misfortune befalls a world class asshole like Spitzer.

Alain DeWitt said...


Thanks a lot. I do my best to keep this blog clean - well, at least PG-13.

But when you're right, you're right. Spitzer is a world class asshole!


Jonathan B. said...

Sorry! Please feel free to edit my comment to bring the blog back up to its previous standards before I brought down the neighborhood. :-)

Alain DeWitt said...


By the way, you'll be glad to hear that by a 75%/25% margin, respondents to a poll think Spitzer should resign. If that's what readers think, can you imagine the savaging he must be taking by the New York Post? Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.