Thursday, October 2, 2008


schadenfreude \SHOD-n-froy-duh\,
noun (German): A malicious satisfaction
obtained from the misfortunes of others.

Forgive me, God. I thought I was above all this. I thought my heart was filled with nothing but compassion. Last Friday I watched The McLaughlin Group (like I always do), and the pugnacious host John McLaughlin ticked off the declining fortunes of some famous billionaires and fallen CEO’s. I could not help but chuckle with guilt-free glee.

From the transcript:

Henry Paulson, former CEO, Goldman Sachs, current secretary of the Treasury, from $809 million to $523 million.

Daniel Mudd, former CEO, Fannie Mae, $26 million to $476,000.

Richard Syron, former CEO, Freddie Mac, $11 million to

Martin Sullivan, AIG, $3.2 million to $173,000.

John Thain, Merrill Lynch, $28 million to $16 million.

Richard Fuld Jr., Lehman Brothers, $827 million to $2.3

John Mack, Morgan Stanley, $225 million to $80 million.

Charles Prince, Citigroup, $89 million to $33 million.

And get this -- James Cayne, Bear Stearns, $1.1 billion --
that's "b" as in "boy," billion -- to $61 million.

And get this -- Maurice Greenberg, AIG, $1.25 billion -- that's
"b" as in "boy," billion -- to $50 million.

How ticklishly delicious to imagine the misfortune of those greedy assholes! How fun it is to type "greedy assholes" without moral misgivings!

As the German proverb goes:

“To feel envy is human;

to savor schadenfreude is devilish!”

Cartoons courtesy of The New Yorker


Carol Setters said...

I've never felt so good about not having anything to lose in my life! Who would like to wager a cup of coffee that many of these guys will end up saying it's the best thing that ever happened to them?

Mindy said...

Schadenfreude is one of my favorite words, ever! And I love when I don't have to explain it to someone because then I know they're capable of feeling that warm, snarky, grinning feeling. : )

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