Madoff Matters

| Sun Dec. 28, 2008 1:44 PM EST

I'm still thinking (as are we all) about Bernie Madoff and the New Year recession. Over at the Daily Beast, an artist conveys what it's like to go from riches to rags over night. I link to it mostly because of the appalling comments it generated.

As the author tells it, she scrimped, saved, and worked her way to a schmancy NY apartment, a vacation cottage in Palm Beach, fancy truffles, and real pearls, refusing even to take alimony post-divorce! Yet, oh so predictably, readers crap all over her. Why? Even if she'd inherited all her money and spent her days in a heroin haze, does that make it all right to steal her money, then vilify her? She was victimized! And the readers victimize her again.

There's a lot of petty emotion from readers too obvious to bear discussion, but these are comments we really need to talk about.

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Now that no one can deny that the "smartest guys in the room" are really just the greediest, it's time to unravel the mindset that rich people get that way cuz they deserve it (and, therefore, we don't). No, most rich people get rich on all our backs (auto bailouts, anyone?), however inept. What burns me up is our willingness to buy this baloney. The fat cats have taught us to blame ourselves for our 'failures' (like being unemployed, uninsured, etc.), when it's their machinations largely responsible for the small margins of either error or success available to us. And boy, have we bought the mindfuck.

So, if you're inclined to agree with this poor, defrauded woman's detractors, ask yourself why. Why are you madder at her than at Madoff and all the running dog capitalists who've ruined our country?

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