You wouldn’t imagine, in these days of perpetual and nauseating self-revelation, that there would be an emotion remaining taboo. But Financial Times journalist Sathnam Sanghera has discovered one*: bitterness. After years of interviewing the high-profile unlucky, he was mystified by the fact that no one would express this surely common sentiment. So he set himself a challenge: to find someone self-avowedly bitter. Scientist Raymond Damadian, who, last autumn, was denied a Nobel Prize for his role in the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and took out full page newspaper ads protesting the injustice seemed a likely bet, but no. The only confessedly bitter person Sanghera found was writer Leon Arden. Arden believes Columbia Pictures stole the concept of his novel One Fine Day for the movie Groundhog Day, but he lost a lawsuit:
He describes the pain of following the stellar progress of Groundhog Day, how his wife went to see the film and cried all the way through it. “I think the worst thing for me – and there were many aspects of bad – was when all the reviews of the film came through and all of them said how wonderful the idea was.” He winces. “Many said the idea was ‘genius’. I can’t tell you how bad that felt. Because they were really saying how good I was, but nobody knew.”
…He puts his head in his hands. Is there anything that would make him feel better? “What would have made me feel better would have been to win the lawsuit – getting $15m and having the film state that the idea was adapted from my novel.” He laughs – a little bitterly, of course. “Another thing that would make me feel better is if the God from the Old Testament came out of retirement and hit Columbia Pictures with an almighty blow!”
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