Bushenschadenfreude: Where has it all Gone?

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal's Anthony Paletta, in his article "George W. Bush Is Out of the Picture," made note of the fact that very few critics had latched onto the newly released film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road for any references to the policies of the previous presidential administration.

"For eight [very, very long] years," wrote Mr. Paletta (with just a smattering of my own words added), "reviewers could be relied upon to construe almost any mildly dark artistic output as a sure comment on the Bush-era cruelty, greed, or amorality."

To a large extent, my esteemed colleague is right. For the better part of eight years, blue-staters did make it their job to litter conversations at hoity-toity cocktail parties (and then, fancy-shmancy unemployment lines) with jokes, references, and, yes, peculiarly extended film metaphors at the expense of our former president. They were harridans, engaged in a harangue of hermeneutics, harpooning his hyperbolic sense of hagiocracy, calling him a haggard hooligan hamming up a heedless hegemonic hullabaloo.

And though somewhat comforted by thoughts of that last sentence being fed through our former president's teleprompter, I must admit it. We have sadly reached the end of an era. Ever since Will Ferrell's send-off to President George W. Bush had its final run on Broadway, regaling us with the high brow, New York, Ivy League elitist comedy one generally associates with Taladega Nights, it seems as though the leftist media cabal hasn't been doing its fair and (wait for it...) balanced share of maintaining our nation's sense of Bushenschadenfreude.

For those of you not part of the aforementioned leftist media cabal, Bushenschadenfreude roughly translates from their mother tongue, Japano-Assyro-Hippie-Deutsch, as, "Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of President George W. Bush."

For the Buschenschadenfreudians, making fun of the President was once like shooting ducks in a pile of already shot ducks. But enough about Dick Cheney. Now, their fun and games are over. Barring any more one-man shows (on Broadway, or at the Hague), gone are the days of unfortunate though thoroughly entertaining and metaphor-worthy misappropriations, mispronunciations, scandals, and land wars that kept our nation nyuck-nyuck-nyucking it up through eight solid years of glorious, glorious Republicanism.

In recent months, it seems as though the left has abandoned any sense of Bushenschadenfreudianism they once had; instead, they spend their days focused on the very boring tasks of (yawn!) reviving the economy, restoring our place in the international community, and saving the planet, all part of a dastardly attempt at wasting the many trillions of dollars that Republicans - and only Republicans - worked so hard for, not to even mention the Democratic Party's wholly original and thoroughly sinister idea of investing the taxpayer's hard-earned money in private companies.

(I mean, what's going to happen? On March 10, 2009, is CitiGroup's CEO Vikram Pandit going to suddenly announce that his company turned an $8.3 billion profit for the first two months of 2009, thereby causing their shares to increase by 79% over the course of the next few days, meaning that the government theoretically earned the American taxpayers over $35 billion on that week alone? Dream on, America!)

And though certain stirring televised images - bombs striking, stock markets tanking, Anderson Cooper swimming with Mike Phelps - once might have kept the hopes of a simpler, Buschenschadier times alive, these days, many a Bushenschadenfreudian doesn't know where to turn. Philosophy? Religion? Whiskey? ("Naughty, naughty, Mr. President!" a Bushenschadenfreudian might once have said.) For the past several months, they've found themselves going through all five stages of the Kübler-Ross Model of Grief, namely:

  • Denial: "This can't be happening! I just perfected my Mike Chertoff impression!"
  • Anger: "It's all your fault, former HUD Secretary Steve Preston!"
  • Bargaining: "Please, just two more weeks of Harriet Miers confirmation hearings... Is that so much to ask?!"
  • Depression: The Dow Jones Industrial Average.
  • And, finally, Acceptance: "Maybe Mike Brown will run for Senate?"

Having read Mr. Paletta's article, I found myself sitting at home, blighted by a sense of nostalgia (Bushenschaden-sadness? Bushen-saditude?) for the dreamy, carefree era of wars against abstract nouns. Where had all my Bushenschadenfreudianism gone?

But then I finally realized, what better way to work through these Bushenschadenfreudianadequacies than through the most American medium of all (other than carelessly investing in risky mortgage-backed securities while maintaining a complete and utter lack of foresight into the long term, catastrophic effects on financial markets, both at home and abroad), the very medium that Mr. Paletta wrote about, the medium of film!

Thanks to the many successes of the previous administration's economic policies, I could no longer afford the price of a movie ticket. And so, I instead turned to the Marks Family Film Library--affectionately termed MarksFlix--where I found the usual suspects (The Usual Suspects), historical films that explored the subtle gains and successes of the Bush Administration (Titanic), and those that rendered an accurate biographical portrait of the profound greatness embodied by our 43rd Commander-in-Chief (Forrest Gump) before finally deciding on a film that surpassed all others in its ability to mend my shattered psyche and restore the confidence I once had to Bushenschad' it up with the best of them. And that film was Finding Nemo.

Why? Because who doesn't see the messages of global warming, socioeconomic unilateralism, and nuclear post-apocalypse in a world where all the fishies have mysteriously learned how to speak English? (Except, of course, for the time when Dory spoke to the whale in whale. That was really cool, and probably a reference to our foreign policy.)

And while the aquatic odyssey of a fish and his pals might not usher in a new era of Bushenschadenfreude, at least my colleague at the Wall Street Journal will be happy to know that some of us are still trying.