Was this a true love story, or a story of an impostor who found another target?


Your enthusiasm can be exaggerated often. Your emotions can become a cheesy plot that you lose control of, overwrought.

Bloomberg News writer Christie Smythe broke the story of the arrest of Martin Shkreli, the notorious hedge funder, ‘pharma bro’ and online provocateur, who became infamous for jacking up 5,000 percent of the price of the life-saving toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim.

Smythe visited him in jail after Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in jail in 2018 for securities fraud and conspiracy, and fell in love, losing her work and marriage in the process. “Mr. Shkreli wishes Ms. Smythe good luck in her future endeavors.”Mr. Shkreli wishes Ms. Smythe good luck in her future endeavors.

She interpreted this to mean that the implications for her concerned Shkreli.

This comes off as a perfect storm of the narcissism of Shkreli and the obsession of Smythe.

It was less Romeo and Juliet, more Hannibal and Clarice, if you wanted to be brutal.

Yet the mental downward spiral of Smythe makes you cringe.

A “little crush” is one thing, but for this man, she froze her balls off.

Smythe denounces as sexist the public reaction and claims that she knows her own mind.

Surely, even though she and Shkreli kissed and spoke during prison visits about prenups, she seemed to be aware that he was a master manipulator. That’s the point: people know it sometimes, but it doesn’t matter — the force always beats boring old real life.

A director once told me that, because they seemed to need their real lives to be as dramatic as their parts, he had given up dating actresses.

Perhaps that’s how all of us feel – not just actors, not just women. We are culturally conditioned, particularly when it comes to love (movies, books, songs), to anticipate and accept difficulty. We are fed up with the same sentences over and over again. True love never smoothly works. Passion is agony.

Listen to your heart, not to your brain, whatever the cost…. What a nonsense bunch.

How individuals are programmed to suffer for true love/passion is curious.

They would wisely pass if individuals were urged to go through too much pain and drama for something else (true friendship?).

Perhaps that’s how Smythe succumbed – in her mind, she starred in the week’s own personal “love behind bars” film. What conspiracy: the buttoned-up journalist swept away with passion? Or a fantasy of redemption: the lost soul/pharmaceutical bad boy rescued by a decent woman?
Smythe reminds me in certain respects of those women who write to life convicts and start a relationship with them without really having to deal with the guy to get all the thrill of the forbidden. One possibility is that she sold Shkreli out by playing her own game with him. That would be less unpleasant than what the truth appears to be. It was someone who coldly sensed her need for drama and abused her conditioning, that she was the victim of a narcissist – what she called love.

And that she knew all this, but went along with it anyway, for some reason.

For others, no Fortnum basket is difficult, but they can survive it,
Who would cry during the lockout for the beautiful ones? Who would find it in their hearts to lament for their cognac butter, their old Dom Perignon and their cinnamon toffee, missing or delayed?
There are many accounts of the horrors of the lockdown for the poor and disadvantaged, but what about the terrible pain and mild inconvenience for the wealthy? Due to unprecedented high demand, Fortnum & Mason is having trouble supplying its Christmas baskets. Entire goods baskets are not coming.

Customers are advised that until after the holidays, they can’t get them. Warnings exist that such things may be left out. What is this kind of outrage? I know that if I got a Fortnum basket and lifted the monogrammed wicker lid, I would be devastated to find that my glacé clementines were missing. You might say, “These people need some perspective, this is a pandemic, yak, yak, yak,” but that is merely the politics of envy. Pure illogical spite against people who have done really well in life after being born to, well, rich parents.

Some of us try not to be so vindictive


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