Top Moments in Madoff Pop Culture

By Gordon Haber

Published November 25, 2009, issue of December 04, 2009.

Bernard Madoff caused a lot of heartache with his titanic Ponzi scheme. It seems only natural that a scandal of this magnitude would creep into the larger culture. After considerable mental strain, the Forward has dug up some notable examples. Determining their taste, or lack thereof, is up to you.

1. The “Seinfeld” reunion on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

In the show-within-a-show plotline, George Costanza has made millions with the iToilet, an iPhone application that points the user to the nearest public bathroom. But George has lost his money to Madoff, so he tries to get back together with his ex-wife, who has invested more wisely.

2. “Madoff: Made Off With America”

The trailer for this schlockfest says it all, as does the producer’s claim that this movie “is said to be a record breaker at the box office,” when a release date has not yet been set. The film will supposedly tell “how he did it” and “where the money went.”

3. Woody Allen’s “Tails of Manhattan”

The filmmaker “channels” S.J. Perelman in the March 30 issue of The New Yorker, in which he tells the tale of two Madoff victims who die and are reincarnated as lobsters, only to plot their revenge at an eatery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

4. Madoff, the Halloween costume

Madoff’s punim popped up everywhere on Halloween, as the evil schemer was the go-to costume for teens and adults. Both Amazon.com and AnyCostume.com sold out of their Madoff masks well before October 31.

5. Caroline Rothstein’s “For Bernie Madoff”

Rothstein, a blogger and spoken-word poet, performed a somewhat histrionic but impassioned (and 100% Jewish) free-verse response to the scandal, recorded at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

6. Sheryl Weinstein’s “Madoff’s Other Secret: Love, Money, Bernie, and Me”

Twenty years after an extramarital affair with Madoff, the former chief financial officer of Hadassah tells of “the unluckiest day of my life,” when she met Madoff. In her book, Weinstein, who lost her life savings to the Ponzi schemer, offers up details of the couple’s affair, photographs and other intimate descriptions.



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