As Others Fail, Try To Temper Your Glee
In a newspaper profile some years back, the irrepressible but demented pulp magazine publisher Myron Fass explained why his "death books"instant postmortems on dead celebritiessold so well.In a newspaper profile some years back, the irrepressible but demented pulp magazine publisher Myron Fass explained why his "death books"instant postmortems on dead celebritiessold so well. Ordinary people, suggested Fass, actually want famous, talented people to die, because no matter how insignificant their own lives are, living nobodies are inherently superior to dead somebodies. Hence, goes the gospel according to Fass, every reader is an assassin in his cold, cold heart. Its hard to dismiss Fass cynicism as the ravings of a diseased mind as the New Economy winds down. What the Germans call schadenfreudeto take an unhealthy pleasure in others misfortunehas reached epidemic proportions. Every entrepreneurial dream squelched, every mass layoff, every fire sale, is greeted with an unprecedented outpouring of vitriol. Were witnessing the economic version of Fass theory, with insolvency and unemployment substituting for human death.
OK, so whats the big deal? you may ask. Every epoch, launched on a wave of idealism, ultimately is ushered into oblivion by malcontents and cynics. The fall of communism and the entire decade of the 60s are now thematic devices to sell automobiles. Two hours of TV commercials on any given night offer a complete retrospective of The Who. It surely wont be long before the dot-com era is similarly co-opted.