It should not be necessary, in this erudite audience, to recall the meaning of the delightful German word Schadenfreude but, just in case, it is happiness at the misery of others.
As a general rule, the person experiencing the happiness does not like those experiencing the misery because most people derive little joy from the misery of those they favor.
Hence it is possible that FBI Director, James Comey, has taken a significant step toward uniting the country in delight at the misery of electionistas, since most of us hate them all.
What did Jim do, what does it mean and how does the dedicated Schadenfreudist react?
Some poor FBI agent has been spending a good deal of time grazing around in Anthony Weiner’s Speedo shots to determine whether the recipients were both willing and old enough to legally express their willingness. He (please tell me they don’t assign female agents to this task) has discovered that some recipients were not. That is an entirely separate Schadenfreude opportunity but, for now, you are going to have to concentrate on this one.
Amid the lumpy images, our beleaguered agent has discovered emails to or from Weiner’s soon-to-be-former wife, Huma Abedin, who just happens to be the top factotum to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic nominee for President.
Alert students of this year’s election will recall that there has been a spot of bother surrounding the email practices of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic nominee for President.
Delight with me as we imagine the phone call from “beleaguered Speedo agent” to “unfortunate email practices” team in which he says, more or less, “guess what I just found?” Hold your hand to your ear and listen to the sound of leather heels hitting marble floors as a phalanx of email team agents descends upon the Speedo guy. Picture the faces huddled around his computer screen trying to separate the yucky images from the classified emails.
Now picture the guy who draws the short straw and has to call FBI Director Comey to say “ahhhh…. Sir, we have a situation.”
Comey, feeling obligated to keep the Senate investigators informed, writes a letter to a bunch of GOP Committee Chairmen telling them the email thing is back on the front burner. Leaked is not the right word for the letter. Shot from a fire hose is far the better image.
Reaction to these developments depends 100% on a single factor. I used the numerical percentage to illustrate a key point: it is 100% not 99.999999% no matter how many 9s you use. That single factor, you wonder: which candidate does the person having the reaction support in the election. There is not one single electionista who is focused on anything other than what it does to his team. Both Ds and Rs have mounted the highest of horses whence to broadcast their dudgeon at the perfidy of the new developments.
This might be a good time for some subtleties about emails.
Most people are pretty stupid about them and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic nominee for President, knows this.
There are two key kinds of email: secret ones and disgraceful political ones. The ones related to Chelsea’s wedding and yoga classes are diversions to distract you from the disgraceful political ones.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic nominee for President, had no intention of violating secrecy laws, but she damn sure had no intention of letting us graze around in the disgraceful political emails she sends and receives on an hourly basis.
It was a simple calculus for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic nominee for President: do I risk having secret things on a private server or disgraceful political things on a government server? The former might get her some jail time while the latter could lose her the election. Easy decision especially for one accustomed to getting away with things. Take the risk and bring in the lawyers.
Now it gets complicated. For all the brouhaha, nobody except the FBI and the dudgeon spouters cares about the secret emails because they are collateral damage. Yet that is what the FBI is charged with finding.
The real player here is Wikileaks, which is far more interested in the disgraceful political stuff that delights schadenfreudists throughout the world than in the arcane details of State Department classification.
Julian Assange, holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London with his Internet access cut off, remains the key player on whom attention should be focused. He controls the misery.
As to this weekend, the big winners are the TV networks that had feared the election was too far out of hand and nobody would watch during the final two weekends. That would have cost them money and costing them money would have been bad.
Now they are safe because Schadenfreude sells almost as well as sex – well apart from sleazy Speedo shots.