The Shrink Files

The Pleasure of Scandal

There used to be consequences to scandal. These days, nothing much happens. Woody Allen, Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, Britney Spears, Newt Gingrich — they just go on, even flourish. I should be happy about this. I’m a fan of second chances. Besides, their transgressions weren’t so transgressive. But it feels like there’s something missing. There’s no denouement. No schadenfreude. I think we could use a nice juicy scandal where the perps get punished, where we vicariously gratify our vengeful feelings, where we have the pleasure of seeing others get punished for deeds we’d like to commit. When there are no consequences to scandalous behavior,  it does not titillate. Scandal becomes “meh.”