Arnon Grunberg

Balzac and Dickens


A friend said to me over dinner: “I fear that this Madoff affair will trigger an outburst of anti-Semitism.” I might be checking the wrong websites and reading the wrong newspaper but till now I haven’t encountered any anti-Semitism in response to Madoff.
In today’s Times Frank Rich writes: ‘Just when we thought that reality couldn’t hit a new bottom it did with Bernie Madoff, a smiling shark as sleazy as the TV host in “Slumdog.” A pillar of both the Wall Street and Jewish communities — a former Nasdaq chairman, a trustee at Yeshiva University — he even victimized Elie Wiesel’s Foundation for Humanity with his Ponzi scheme. A Jewish financier rips off millions of dollars devoted to memorializing the Holocaust — who could make this stuff up? Dickens, Balzac, Trollope and, for that matter, even Mel Brooks might be appalled.’

I’m not sure if Balzac and Dickens would be appalled but Mr. Rich is right, it’s good material. I’m afraid I’m not going to use it though.