The saddest and worst factor you may have ever learn is that this Martin Shkreli love story
It was certainly a difficult year. One full of loss, loneliness, misery, hardship, heartache, boredom, bad decisions. A year when trusting venale people who make decisions so obviously was misplaced and wrong at the moment of their decision making to ensure they would lead to nothing but completely preventable and avoidable trouble. A year of otherwise happy, supposedly intelligent people who do things they know they shouldn’t but expect their privilege to see through them to the other side, as so often before, to make sure the frenzied, oncoming one 18-wheel, whose headlights you are going straight towards you will not hit you, that the inevitable tragedy dictated by these decisions, every red flag and every pleading friend and everything that goes on around you is ignored, the result that everyone knows – even somewhere deep inside the individual in question – is inevitable, will somehow evade at the last moment, sparing them but giving them the rush they thought necessary.
And of course a year full of stories about the above, the nerve-wracking, harrowing, crazy stories about the things we do to ourselves and to others, thousands and thousands of them, too many to read and certainly too many to wear, each to his own Way harder and more terrible than the last one. And yet humanity finds a way. Humanity is finding a way to produce an even more astounding, jaw-expanding, full-body story of suffering, self-inflicted disaster, and hope versus hope – and this one doesn’t even show someone suffering or dying from COVID. 19. See the worst and hardest thing you will read this year:
He made a habit of mocking journalists like her on a regular basis. How do I deal with the situation? [Christie Smythe] remembers asking himself.
Almost unimaginably bad, as it turns out.
Within nine months, beginning in July 2018, Smythe quit her job, moved out of the apartment and divorced her husband. What could cause the sensible Smythe to turn her life upside down? She fell in love with a defendant whose case she not only treated, but spread the news of his arrest. It was a shovel that ignited the Internet because her love interest, now life partner, is not just any defendant, but Martin Shkreli….
Do you remember Martin Shkreli? “About high (but, according to Smythe, higher than you heard)? Has the price of a life-saving drug increased fifty-five times to its eternal shame? Laughed and held on to his longstanding performance art project for up to seven years in prison? Still there despite your best efforts? Turns out he may not be as gross as you’ve heard, and even more lovable than his porn veteran PR guru and that one Tinder date. And don’t let anyone tell you the guy has no game.
Shkreli called Smythe. I was sitting next to her in the Brooklyn press room, covering courts and the Shkreli case for the New York Times, when she answered the call. I heard her startled conversation with him telling her, “I should have listened to you,” and I was referring to the first time they talked about the investigation when he said she didn’t know what she was talking about. …
“He played with me for a while,” says Smythe. He would dangle an interview in the file and then give one to one of their competitors … One evening when Smythe asked for comment, there was a tiny postponement. Shkreli found a new lawyer and asked her advice. She felt “flattered,” she says and gave her opinion. “It really felt like he had no one to talk to to bounce off ideas from,” says Smythe. “I said, ‘All right. I can do that. ‘”He sounded” ragged and fragile, and I feared he would commit suicide because all this stuff happened at once. “
Still, nobody, least of all Smythe, can say that nobody did not warn them. Everyone did.
“He just uses you” Smyhe’s husband had told her early, after a late night call to Shkreli…. In autumn 2016 Smythe started the renowned Knight-Bagehot Journalism Fellowship at Columbia University. That spring, she wrote about Shkreli for a class, “describing how manipulative he was towards reporters,” says her Professor Michael Shapiro. She wrote “openly about how he had attracted her so successfully …” Shapiro felt that the journalist-source relationship was already muddy and warned Smythe against writing a book about someone who was “so manipulative “Is. Smythe remembers Shapiro telling her, “You’re going to ruin your life.”
“Maybe I was charmed by a master manipulator,” says Smythe. But she felt she could be in control.
Of course she did: after all, she had a book to sell and write. Oh yes, and she fell in love.
“You could see how serious he was,” says Smythe. “It just didn’t go with this impostor’s idea …” Of her increasing preoccupation with Shkreli, she now tells me: “These are incremental decisions that will slowly boil yourself to death in the bathtub …”
Smythe pressed Shkreli so she could visit him in prison. When the hour-long visit ended, she took him to the first counseling session with her husband. He had refused to reschedule the appointment and she wasn’t going to make another appointment with Shkreli. She was 52 minutes late for the hour-long session…. She used to suppress the sparks between her and Shkreli, but now she gave them air. She thought about when he had teased her as a nerd in an old photo he saw and how she felt when he put her on his visitor list (he’s not a huge fan of visitors but wanted her to come) . A realization hit her. In the visitor room, Smythe said: “I told Martin that I love him. “And he told me that he loved me too.” She asked if she could kiss him and he said yes. The room smelled like chicken wings, she recalls.
Really, the whole thing is miserable, has to be read, with his anecdotes about prison data on microwave-cooled hamburgers, her one-woman Twitter campaign in defense of the untenable, the emails that got the pharma fuck an additional two years in prison, the Inevitable meetings in a conference room with a human resources officer like nobody wants to buy a book about the good Martin Shkreli, the moments when the madness of her course becomes almost inevitable and yet she escapes.
“This belief in yourself, although sometimes delusional, attracts you,” she says. “I don’t know if everything he said is true, but maybe it’s 1 percent, and that’s great in itself.”
After all that, however, the ending – the pathetic, heartbreaking ending that is so evident from the first few words of the profile and keeps getting more and more as it goes on, like a huge, growing avalanche racing down the mountain towards a defenseless Smythe mentioned 18-wheel, a resolution so clichéd that it doesn’t even really count as a spoiler here – the end is too much to endure for a society that has already worn so much.
However, when Shkreli found out about this article, he stopped communicating with her.
Oh so he knows how not to use a phone.
He didn’t want her to tell her story, she says. Smythe believes it’s because he’s worried about the consequences for her.
Yes, caring for others is definitely Shkreli’s trademark.
While waiting to hear from him, she monitors Google Alerts for his name, posts in support groups for inmates’ relatives, and hopes that one day he will call or answer as inmates have to make outgoing calls and cannot take incoming calls too one of their emails.
“That’s what he says, you will live your life and we just won’t be together. That I might get my book and that our ways “- she sighs -” will part “. She tears up … She is sitting in her basement apartment, her eyes are wet, her voice is trembling and she says that they are still waiting for him will, while serving the remaining years of his sentence, “I’ll try,” she says. “I’ll be there.”
Looks like the Martin Shkreli musical just turned out to be Shakespeare.
The Journalist and the Pharma Bro [Elle]