There are always great papers on the international scene, but I had trouble finding a good paper made in the USA this month. Of course, the inauguration of a new President gets so many expected comments, not much stands out.
I was very pleased to find in the New York Times a paper entitled The talented Mr Madoff, by Julie Creswell and Landon Thomas Jr. It presents Madoff as a psychopath, a possibility I examined here too. There are only two ways to detect a psychopath: you studied them because it is your job, or you have been the victim of one, which gives you more needed insight.
There was a paper earlier in the NYT by Allen Salkin (Jan 16th) about Madoff and his frat brothers: people hardly remembered him; it is interesting to note as it was also a a characteristic of The Talented Mr Ripley, one of the best descriptions of a psychopath in literature. Mr Madoff ruined many personal friends of his: he used their loyalty against them. It is also very typical: a psychopath sees your friendship for him as your weak point and thrives on his victories over you.
There is an old guy like that living on my street: everybody thinks that he is a nice person. But he once told me that the best moment of his life was when he was very young: he had built a kite with a razor blade attached to it, and he used it to cut loose the kites of the other children. The children would cry and run to their mothers, but they did not guess that he was responsible for the disaster and it amplified his fun.
The old man has not changed: he did not have the education of Madoff, so he is reduced to play lesser games, such as stealing mail and letting his dog run after the neighbor's cats.