Last week I watched the hearings being held by the Senate committee that is looking into the shenanigans of Goldman Sachs.   I was eager to watch ’cause I thought it would be a satisfying contrast between good and evil.  Boy, was I mistaken.  Actually, I don’t think that they should qualify as “hearings” at all since there was almost no listening going on. With Senator Carl Levin (Democrat from Michigan, the Combover State) leading the way, this was pure theater.  If the Senators didn’t like the answers they got, they simply belittled the person to whom the questions were put   This violation of “fair play” really rankled me and I found myself starting to shift to siding with the “bad guys” from Goldman.  That shift may have been nudged by the fact that it seemed that quite a few of these “culprits’ were Jewish and I  began to have that feeling of generalized Semitic pride I sometimes get upon hearing that someone famous (say, Cary Grant) is or was, Jewish.  

There is a word in German, Schadenfreude that is used to describe the pleasure one takes in the misfortune of another (leave it to the Germans to have such an efficient term for a complex notion).  This Jewish pride I’m describing might be the opposite side of that coin…or possibly of another coin; what I’ve decided to call Judenfreude.    At any rate, one of these Jewish  guys who testified seemed to be barely thirty and here he was testifying before the United States Senate;  a prodigy of sorts.  In his opening remarks he mentioned that he was a graduate of The Wharton School of Business.  Watching his performance made me think that he must have aced that  course they give there,  Appearing before a Senate sub-committee Investigating Financial Fraud

The hearing concluded with the questioning of LLoyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman.  Blankfein has a very interesting (to me) background.  His father was a postal worker.  Grew up in the projects in Brooklyn.  Went to Thomas Jefferson Highschool where he was the valedictorian.   On to Harvard undergrad and Harvard Law. An American success story!  When Senator Levin was questioning Blankfein, he seemed much more deferential than he had been with other witnesses  and  I couldn’t help but get the feeling that he too was having a Judenfreude experience-feeling his Jewish heart swell with pride at the (mega)success story seated before him. 

Interestingly, Judenfreude is not just reserved for Jews nor, conversely, do all Jews have it.  For example, my everygentile, Luap seems to take every bit as much pride in Semitic fame and glory as I do. (Please don’t even suggest that he’s playing up to the “boss”).  And Yduj, who is only 1/2 Jewish (sometimes it’s the upper half…sometimes the lower half–depends on lots of things) has what I would estimate to be about a 75% JQ (Judenfreude Quotient).   I’ve also known some (full) Jews who have pretty close to a zero JQ;  it doesn’t even occur to them that so and so is a member of the tribe.  And then of course, there are some whose  JQ starts to migrate into negative territory.  Self hating Jews, as my mother used to say.  But that’s a whole other kettle of shell-fish.   

Combover Carl

Gotta love that Blankfein punum





9 Responses to “Judenfreude”

  1. Bob Says:

    I believe jeudrnfreude is sigmund freud’s half sister on his father’s side.

  2. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    you know…. you might be right. come to think of it, I may have gone out with her; it’s possible we met on matchless.com…..

  3. Jackie Weisberg Says:

    I love this piece; an 8 on the 1-10 scale. My fave phrase, (amongst a bunch): The Combover State.

  4. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    eight!!… i’ll take it. in this blog wasteland, it’s nice to be appreciated.


  5. Richard Says:

    What a revelation about Carry Grant!

    • iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

      Not so much for me. I was at his bar mitzvah….a small but tasteful affair. glad to see a big time lefty like you still has his JQ.

  6. yduj Says:

    Ha….what do you mean ONLY half Jewish…this almost shifted my score to 25% JQ…
    but then I remembered that Frido Kahlo AND Marc Chagall were both Jewish and the JQ bliss returned!

    • iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

      Frido Kahlo!? funny…she didn’t LOOK jewish. (if this goes on much longer i will again be running the risk of being known as ‘that jewish blogger’. i think i need to start thinking and writing more ecumenically).

  7. Being Black Isn’t Always So Beautiful « Ironicman's Blog Says:

    […] misdeeds somehow accrue to me.  (This is, indeed, the other side of the Judenfreude coin see: https://ironicman.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/judenfreude/).  But, as in most of these cases, there’s probably an explanation that mitigates this […]

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