Thursday, October 05, 2006

Schadenfreude and the Apples of Autumn

The best October Surprise we've ever seen.

We're experiencing a major case of schadenfreude. It's true. We're taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune. The Republicans are in meltdown mode. We're watching and finding it incredibly uplifting. Their circular firing squad fills our hearts with joy, as they begin to succumb to the outrages they usually inflict on Democrats. We are happy to see them suffer for their scandals and abuses, and delight in watching them get what they have long deserved. I must admit, though, that we're also very cautious. We've seen horror movies like Halloween. We know how many times Jason can rise from smoldering ashes. In modern nightmares the monsters never really die. Still, we are savoring the moment when at least the villains falter, legs buckle under them, and their hateful tongues lash out at each other. It's a moment of joy, and we're taking it.

According to Wikipedia, the concept of schadenfreude occurs in so many languages. It has a universality. I would like to think that the joy is especially derived from seeing tyrants suffer, not merely the random suffering of just anyone. It is the tyrant's pain that elevates us so.

* Arabic: shamat (shamtan, taking pleasure in the misfortune of others)
* Czech: škodolibost (škoda, damage, harm, or loss, libost, pleasure)
* Danish and Norwegian: skadefryd (skade, pain or suffering, fryd, glee).
* Dutch: leedvermaak (leed, suffering or sorrow, and vermaak, entertainment)
* Estonian: kahjurõõm (kahju, damage or harm and rõõm, joy)
* Finnish: vahingonilo (vahinko, accident or damage, ilo, joy or happiness)
* Hebrew: שמחה) : שמחה לאיד, joy, איד, misfortune)
* Hungarian: káröröm (kár, loss or damage, öröm, joy)
* Lithuanian: piktdžiuga (piktas angry, džiaugsmas joy)
* Russian: злорадство (зло, evil or harm, радость, joy)
* Scots Gaelic: aighear-truaighe (aighear, delight or joy, truaighe, misery or wretchedness)
* Serbo-Croatian: pakost
* Slovak: škodoradosť (škoda, damage, harm, or loss, radosť, joy)
* Slovenian: škodoželjnost (škoda, damage, harm, or loss, želeti, to wish)
* Swedish: skadeglädje (skada, damage, glädje, joy or happiness)

In Thai, the phrase สมน้ำหน้า, som nam na, can be interpreted as: "You got what you deserved"; "Serves you right"; or "I'm laughing at your bad luck".

It's autumn, the trees are bearing fruit. We're out picking apples and pears, and we're smiling about so many things. We're looking over our shoulders waiting for the monster's shadow, but we're still laughing at the Republican's bad luck. สมน้ำหน้า!

***We're still collecting photos for Saturday's Good Planets Are Hard to Find. If you've got a photo you'd like to send, please email it to newdharmabums at yahoo dot com.

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