04 March 2013

Test yourself for schadenfreude


This is the trailer for The Queen of Versailles, which I watched last night.  The featured couple, David and Jackie Siegel, were billionaires whose empire collapsed.  A film crew was in the proceess of documenting their life in 2008, when the financial crisis struck.  Siegel's fortune had been built on real estate.  Time share real estate.  Sold to people with limited financial resources.  In Florida and Las Vegas.

The film traces their dizzying fall from building the largest private home in the world...
"The house includes ten kitchens, 13 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms, and a 20-car garage with additional space for limos, a two-lane bowling alley, an indoor rollerskating rink, a video arcade, a fitness center with spa, two tennis courts, and a baseball diamond"
... to reprimanding the children about the expense of leaving the lights on.

It's an impressive movie.  Not enjoyable, exactly, but memorable.

("Schadenfreude" is defined here.)


  1. Live by the sword...

  2. I don't think I tend to feel very much secret joy in the tragedy of others. I imagine that most of us, if we had been that wealthy, even if we had not been quite so ostentatious, would likely have pushed the limits here and there. It's sad to see anyone's dreams come down.

  3. curious: did you deliberately put "wealth inequality in america" story ahead of this clip? Because watching the two clips in the same 5 minute timeframe was a bit ... surreal.

  4. The juxtaposition was deliberate.

    1. Another reason I really like your blog.

      Boise Lib

  5. Well, Siegel admitted he did things that may not have been exactly legal.. such is karma. Even at their lowest, they still acted like they deserved their entitlements and privelege. I wonder how much they truly learned..

  6. Watched it.

    Nice that they adopted a little girl.

    Interesting that The Queen's spending became a compulsion and didn't help when the market collapsed.


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