October 20, 2007
As everyone who has read Goethe or Schiller knows, Schadenfreude is the tendency to maliciously enjoy others’ misfortunes. Although I hate to say so myself, my one virtue is that I do not indulge in this brilliantly named past-time, which so many of my fellow scribes seem to practice. Hence I will not dwell on John (four pizzas) Podhoretz’s resignation from the New York Post in order to run the Likud Party’s mouthpiece, Commentary. New York Post readers have suffered enough without me rubbing it in. Never has such a graceless and awkward writer tortured readers for as long as he has. On the other hand, there were some who out of sheer perversity would read Four Pizzas’ pieces on purpose—a perversion for which Pod’s one-time, long-suffering colleagues at the Washington Times coined a word: Podenfreude, which means taking a delight in his awful column. Engaging in Podenfreude is similar to watching a gruesome car accident. One wonders how much worse can it get in Pod’s new gig, now that Four Pizzas will be preaching to the converted.
In the mid-80s, several wars and many pounds ago, young Pod was known around D.C. as John P. Normanson… after his principle journalistic qualification. Back then, he worked at the Times, which was edited back then by Arnaud de Borchgrave. Of course, Four Pizzas was an embarrassment. Forget his table manners and his inability to speak to the fair sex in a gentlemanly manner. In those pre-politically correct times, he was the kind of slob no one, how matter Christian, could put up with. So Arnaud dubbed him “John P. Normanson,” hoping that people would think he was some kind of Scandinavian peasant and leave it at that. All I can say is, finally, after all these years, I will be able to read the N.Y. Post editorials again without bursting out in laughter at the spectacle of Four Pizzas posing as a samurai hero.