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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Schadenfreude




Schadenfreude \SHOD-n-froy-duh\, noun: Malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortunes of others. Schadenfreude comes from the German, from Schaden, "damage" + Freude, "joy." It is often capitalized, as it is in German. – Dictionary.com


The recent troubles of Congressman Patrick have brought this word to Porcupine’s mind. Bleary eyed and staggering, “young” (can we still call a 38 year old a ‘fresh faced politician’ as David Wedge of the Herald did on WBZ?) ‘Patches’ Kennedy crashed his car, without headlights on at 2:45 a.m., into a security barrier at the U.S. Capitol, and emerged from his second car crash in a three-week period asserting that he was late for a vote. Has that happened before – Legislating Under the Influence? While the D.C. Police have been formally disciplined for the incident for preventing the officers on the scene from administering a field sobriety test, Kennedy stoutly asserts that he didn’t ask for any special treatment. Indeed, he may not have, as Porcupine would imagine that pouring various Kennedys into cruisers for special rides home is a forty year old tradition in Washington, D.C. that has evolved into standard practice. Now, he is off to the Mayo Clinic, again, after his Christmas stay there, to get dried out and possibly avoid all that messy Twelve Step junk that would involve taking a fearless and searching moral inventory and making amends to those hurt. No, let’s just see what the latest in monkey glands can do instead. Otherwise, making amends to the people of Rhode Island might involve a resignation. Or surrendering his license before he kills somebody.

Contrast this with the media’s treatment of Rush when he was shown to be an Oxycontin addict.

This week, the ultra-liberal Blue Mass Group chose to resurrect the Limbaugh matter (timing is everything, isn’t it?). Follow this
link, or read these comments:

Let's be sure always to emphasize that he's a hypocritical, unsympathetic to all forms of human weakness, lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key, screw-the-poor drug addict. Most drug addicts are good or potentially good people.

I wonder what this little addiction has cost the [sic] pulic coffers? How much did insurance companies shell out in co-pays? How much did it
cost to investigate his crimes, arrest him, hold him, and prosecute him? Not only is he a [sic] crimminal drug addict, but he was sucking off the public teat to boot! Then again, he's white and rich. All is forgiven,
right?"

It's Okay If You're A Republican". applies to so many things!

Porcupine has never been a big Limbaugh fan. He prefers the rapier to the sledgehammer (or the threshing machine that i Savage Nation!) Still, six or so years ago, Rush was a novelty and amusing. Then he became Conservative Satan, as outlined in the insipid book by Al Franken (did you know you can get a copy for $1.67 on Amazon.com?) and subject of a campaign to force him off Armed Forces Radio. He was too compelling! He might change minds! WHY does he have listeners when Air AmeriKa can’t stay on the air without stealing from children?

Still, this was Limbaugh’s statement when he announced he was going off the air and into rehab:
"I am not making any excuses. You know, over the years athletes and celebrities have emerged from treatment centers to great fanfare and praise for conquering great demons.

"They are said to be great role models and examples for others. Well, I am no role model. I refuse to let anyone think I am doing something great here, when there are people you never hear about, who face long odds and never resort to such escapes.

"They are the role models. I am no victim and do not portray myself as such. I take full responsibility for my problem.”

Compare that with Flo Jonek on WBZ gushing that Kennedy checking himself into rehab is “his own Portrait in Courage”. Or with Kennedy’s own statement on his problem:

"Of course, in every recovery, each day has its ups and downs, but I have been strong, focused and productive since my return…I simply do not remember getting out of bed, being pulled over by the police, or being cited for three driving
infractions."
Yes, now that’s admitting we were powerless over alcohol/drugs - that our lives had become unmanageable.

One of these figures is a United States Congressman and the other is a Radio Talk Show Host. Porcupine asks – which was in the more responsible position, and which deserves the greater castigation? Right and Left can enjoy Schadenfreude over these scandals – but let us treat them each in an equitable fashion.

Click
HERE for a link to The Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions of AA, the parent of a sobriety groups.

6 Comments:

Anonymous David said...

Not sure exactly what your point it, Porky. Limbaugh said he had a problem, Kennedy said he had a problem. Limbaugh went into rehab, Kennedy's going into rehab. Limbaugh got far more lenient treatment than any average citizen would have gotten under similar circumstances, and so did Kennedy. I don't recall Kennedy saying anything about being a role model - he said he had a problem and that he needed help. What's wrong with that? And as for our being "ultra-liberal," that's just silly. I can't speak for our readers, but the three of us are solidly within the Democratic mainstream.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Peter Porcupine said...

David - To answer the last remark first, I would submit tha the 'mainstream' of Democratic thougut in Massachusetts is ultra-liberal in the rest of the known universe.

The reason I wrote about this - and cited BMG - is the difference in 'public' reaction to the two cases. Patrick is a tragic victim, an inheritor of the Camelot Curse, and Rush is an evil, money-grubbing hypocrite who got what's comin' to him ("Most drug adicts might be worthwhile people"?).

What really pushed me over the edge into writing about this was listening to Tom Finneran, sitting in for Paul Sullivan on WBZ, discussing the case with David Wedge of the Herald. After talking about how very BRAVE Patrick had been about admitting he ha a problem (did he have a choice?), Finneran enthused about how talented he was, and about how 'he's got politics in is genes!' Thinking over the substance abuse histories of both Ted and Joan, I thought that politics wasn't his ONLY genetic inheritance.

Ironically, I hd never read Rush Limbaugh's statement until I followed various links from your site. What struck me the most the the timbre and attitude of the two - one saying it's all my fault, the other blaming drug manufacturers, phases of the moon, and bewailing how DIFFICULT it was.

Which do you give a greater shot at long-term succes at sobriety?

12:15 PM  
Blogger Peter Porcupine said...

Boston Globe - 5/7/06 -

"I don't believe he was drinking [when Kennedy crashed his car into a barrier early Thursday morning] but the memory lapse is a warning signal, and he's decided to do something about it," said Representative William D. Delahunt, Democrat of Quincy. ''When warning signals such as that come up in one's life, to be able to recognize it and address it is a great example for others. I think people can relate really well to Patrick."

Tell us, Bill - DO YOU SUPPORT HIS REELECTION? SHOULD HE TAKE A MEDICAL LEAVE WHILE IN REHAB? IF HE CAN'T TAKE THE HEAT, SHOULD HE GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN?

2:11 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

You have brought up an interesting point here. I am more on the conservative side, but not a Limbaugh fan.

I would have to point out that many people treat Limbaugh a little more harshly because he was so self righteous and bombastic before his fall.

But still, the same people ready to hang him seem to want to let Kennedy slide. Or maybe they just think that this was a historical article about Ted:)

Chris
My Blog

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Slayer of Hypocrites said...

Kennedy didn't go around saying addicts should all be in jail, all the while doing it himself. If you can't see the difference, then maybe you should, ah, well, what's the cure for stupidity? Is there a 12 step program?

11:20 PM  
Blogger mike5 said...

Ya,I am Kennedy fan.He always do in a right way.These article want some young people to nominate in elections.This is useful to country.
Sure this will succeed in country.

=========================

mike5

Rhode Island Drug Addiction

5:46 AM  

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