Sympathy Shortage

« May 2009 »

Memo to a few downtrodden victims out there: SORRY.

It's been a long week. I'm tired. Tired enough to want to abandon a bit of my usual due diligence in aiming my snark-cannons up the power structure, rather than down it. Plus, I keep hearing on the teevee that empathy is a scary thing that disqualifies you from being a judge. So today we're going to look at some people who, in my more gracious moments, might have been spared the witlash of SPASTIC TOPIC MONKEY FRIDAY!

For example, grieving mothers. As a general rule, I'm sympathetic to women who've had miscarriages. Horrible thing, wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, that sort of thing. I would even be somewhat sympathetic to a woman who, following a miscarriage, wrote to the worst advice columnist in the universe, Salon's Cary Tennis, to help her deal with her grief. I mean, I've been spot-checking Cary Tennis from time to time ever since he started his column at Salon, and every single fucking time I've come away with something new to hate. He's like Stuart Smalley, only without the intellectual rigor or the being fictional.

However, if you write to Cary Tennis for advice because you think your fetus was KILLED BY VOODOO, I'm sorry. My sympathy reserves don't run that deep. Because first, no, your baby was not killed by the mystical powers of the baby's father and his family. Second of all, predictably, Tennis did not give you anything even remotely resembling the answer I just wrote, because he is a non-stop wankmeister. And this is why writing to him was a bad idea. And third, if somehow, in violation of all natural law, your miscarriage WAS the result of voodoo, Cary Tennis is an even worse choice for help, because I have it on good authority that his sole experience with the religion is walking out of Angel Heart after five minutes because it was not, in fact, the Cosby Show movie.

Under normal circumstances, I would be sympathetic to a couple when one of their friends had to miss their wedding. A wedding is a special time, a time of commitment, love, and family. And when a guy you've known for a decade? A guy whom you picked up off the ground when he was going through one of his many divorces? A guy who you let live with you after he got thrown out by one of his wives? That guy should be there on your most special day.

But if you're Howard Koeppel and Mark Hsiao, then I hope you're not surprised, guys. Because you're gay, and your former roommate happens to be a giant fuckwad named Rudy Giuliani who's decided that the only way to crawl out of the pile of highly embarrassing rubble that was his 2008 presidential bid is to hate on you, hate on your wedding, and hate on everything you stand for. Congratulations!

So I hope it was a lovely ceremony, and I hope your new life together is a happy one, but let's face it, your happiness is a stumbling block to beating David Paterson if Rudy decides to make a quixotic run for New York governor. If you need someone to commiserate with, maybe you should check in with the Log Cabin Republicans. I'm sure they have some tips about helping out those who would prefer that you didn't exist.

As a general rule, I'm sympathetic to the victims of financial scams. My general attitude on torture aside, I do occasionally think the world would be a better place if a bunch of mortgage brokers got their nuts shocked with a Taser. There are times, however, when my inner caveat emptor rears its ugly, sympathy-free head.

And so it is with the Virginia homeowners who, facing foreclosure, turned to a mortgage-modification purveyor who proceeded to scam them out of what little money they had left. That purveyor? The Schmuckler Group.

I KNOW. I've held onto this story for weeks, convinced it was a Daily Show sketch. But it appears to be legitimate. Which led to a news story that contained the following paragraph. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"Howard Shmuckler, president of the Shmuckler Group, did not respond to requests for comment from the Huffington Post. He has previously defended his business as legitimate and wrote in a letter on the company website (PDF) that salespeople with a company hired to market The Shmuckler Group's services made unauthorized claims to potential clients."

I mean, come on. Even if, through some unfortunate accident of birth, I ended up with the name Bryan Douchenstein, and then went into business for myself, I wouldn't name the company after myself. Fuck, I wouldn't even put my name between "Bryan" and "CEO" on our letterhead. That's just good business sense. I'd name the company something generic, but interesting-sounding. You know, like "Xe".

Maybe I just have an overdeveloped sense of irony, but if the only thing standing between me and homelessness was a guy from the Schmuckler Group asking for his large fee right up front, I'd just fucking resign myself to enjoying the burn of Scope down my esophagus. Maybe spend the money I would have given to the Schmucklers on a nice shopping cart. Again, I feel bad for people who lost their money, but on the other hand, when the name says Schmuckler, it's got to be bad.