Bad Mood Rising
Schadenfreude takes the news by storm.


The Brattleboro Reformer editorial writer was especially incensed by reports of Wall Streeters celebrating Spitzer’s downfall — so much so that he lost his grammatical grip, concluding on this note:

After the tongue clucking and finger wagging is over, and after the cheers from the brokers die down, it is worth remembering Spitzer’s legacy — making Wall Street a little more safer [sic] for the little guy.

Well, not so fast there. If Wall Street is now “more safer,” then it is only the little guy who is the beneficiary. A few days after Spitzer resigned, Bear Stearns went down in flames. Shares of the firm had been trading at about $160 just a few months ago. After last week’s meltdown, J. P. Morgan bought the firm out, paying two bucks a share. The news, no doubt, warmed hearts all over Brattleboro and other Progressive precincts.

Funny how the Progressives always seem to be wrapped up in the chains of the past. In their minds, it is forever 1929, and Wall Street is perpetually putting the boot to the little guy. If you are a charlatan on the make, then pick Wall Street for your enemy. Worked for Spitzer — and for that matter for Dickie Scruggs, who made a career and a fortune out of being the common man’s last line of defense against the rapacious corporations. He sued ‘em, class-action style, and made billions. He was the hero-litigator right out of Grisham who, incidentally, was his friend. But it turns out that Scruggs was flawed, too. Last week he copped to bribing a judge and may now do time. Maybe he and Spitzer can share a cell at some country-club prison and commiserate over the injustice of it all. Grisham may even get a novel out of it.

A good week, then, for Schadenfreuders of all political persuasions. And who knows — maybe we are witnessing a long-term trend. Barack Obama’s credentials as a transmogrifying figure are getting tarnished by his association with a preacher who seldom uses “faith, hope, and charity,” as his text.

Those of us who spend too much time following sports saw the early signs a little more than a month back when the Giants won the Super Bowl. But it could be that this is too much of a good thing. Is there a German word for “enough, already?”

Geoffrey Norman is editor of