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Sometimes, when I tell someone of my interest in Kubrick, they will briefly brighten and then suddenly grow dour before asking, “What did you think of Eyes Wide Shut?” It is not for nothing. This film was and still is reviled by many in the public and the critical establishment. Is it Tom Cruise? Is it the couple’s lavish life? Is it the nature of Dr. Bill’s odyssey into the manors of the superrich, where women are still treated like chattel? It can’t be Nicole Kidman or her character, Alice Harford, who stonily confesses an ulterior life of desire, can it? Its threats are multiple, with the fabric of the Western privileged life taken to task. Since the wife doesn’t have to work to keep them financially afloat, these are people who can afford to cheat on each other, who can afford to let their dreams almost destroy the life they have. At root, the film demonstrates how the moneyed life of doctors, of stars, of people living on Central Park West — that the poor and middle classes look up to and seek to be — is largely a sham of shallowness. Given this, it’s easy to see why so many people dislike the film, and beyond that, why men and women have a bone to pick. More… “Unappeasable and Peregrine”

Greg Gerke’s work has appeared in Tin House, Film Quarterly, The Kenyon Review, and other publications. See What I See, a book of essays, and, Especially the Bad Things, stories, will both published by Splice in the Autumn of 2019.

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Schadenfreude: joy in the misfortune or shame of others. When someone of high station or great accomplishment falls or fails we can feel assuaged in our relative obscurity by knowing that we suffer in less dramatic and public ways. So many joys in life are comparative — and this is one of them.

Schadenfreude is a sophisticated emotion — a combination of jealousy and revenge refracted through the lens of voyeurism. Part of the appeal of schadenfreude is that it takes no effort and involves no responsibility. We experience it like rubberneckers at an accident. In this regard, it is an innocent sin, one that ought not to evoke guilt — or so I tell myself. More… “Schadenfreude TV”

Paula Marantz Cohen is Dean of the Pennoni Honors College and a Distinguished Professor of English at Drexel University. She is the host of  The Drexel InterView, a unit of the Pennoni Honors College. The Drexel InterView features a half-hour conversation with a nationally known or emerging talent in the arts, culture, science, or business. She is author of five nonfiction books and six bestselling novels, including Jane Austen in Boca and Jane Austen in Scarsdale or Love, Death, and the SATs. Her essays and stories have appeared in The Yale ReviewThe American Scholar, The Times Literary Supplement, and other publications. Her latest novels are Suzanne Davis Gets a Life and her YA novel, Beatrice Bunson’s Guide to Romeo and Juliet.

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