(via Boing Boing)
Here's a confession: sometimes I feel a little sorry for George W. Bush.
I talked to a few people before the election about whether it counted as schadenfreude if we were glad when things were going bad for John McCain and Sarah Palin, and I, at least, concluded that it was not—because the pleasure we felt was not pleasure at their misfortune per se: bad news for them was good news for the country, so the ultimate source of our pleasure had nothing nasty in it at all.*
And I'm not one of those people who think Bush is a monkey following orders from Cheney (even though I do think the idea that Cheney's the evil mastermind is based at least somewhat on reality): frankly, I think Bush is bad, bad guy. I gather he can be very charming and that if you're on his good side he can be very likable, but politically, morally, philosophically—pretty much in every way—I think he's a terrible guy, and he think he's done terrible things.
That said, I've had dreams in which I've met him and have felt bad about disliking him so much. There: I said it. I think it's because of course the guy is a human being, and I'm sure he thinks (er, knows) that what he's doing is right. Frankly I think he's a little dumb. And that's no excuse—the kind of dumb he is has a lot to do with his belief system and his attitudes, his values, and I think it's sort of a vicious circle, so it's not something he can't help, it's something he's responsible for—but, but... Well, maybe the point I'm making is the distinction between passing judgment on someone and demonizing him...or judging his actions and judging his personhood...or, to use Christian terms, judging the sin and judging the sinner. Again, he's a human being. And as I've said before, I do think that no matter what crime a person has committed, that person is still a human being...and I think we tend to dehumanize old George.
Or maybe it's because I just finished rereading The Dead Father and was reimpressed by the way the tyrannical title character is both morally indefensible and somehow sadly sympathetic...
No: really I just wanted to post that video...and to make it clear that my reaction is neither laughter nor joy. I think it's good news for the world that he's fallen so low...but maybe not joyous news—not per se.
* Well, "nothing...at all" may be overstating it.