Schadenfreude: What a Lovely Word
— and Emotion

Only in German could one come up with a concocted word packing so much meaning, and ultimately so much human frailty and reality: schadenfreude.

schadenfreude-a-lovely-wordSchaden means harm, and freude (repeated umpteen times in Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony”) means joy. Thus the word means “feeling joy at someone else’s misfortune.”

Fortunately, the word has been appropriated into English as well.

I usually reserve my innermost schadenfreude for sports teams, especially arrogant sports teams that think their detritus doesn’t stink anymore. I felt ultimate schadenfreude when the New England Patriots got their clocks handed to them this past Sunday.

But let’s face it: When someone has wronged or abused us, doesn’t it bring satisfaction, if not outright joy, when that person gets his comeuppance?

So, is it wrong to feel schadenfreude? Probably most religions would confine it to some dark side of the human experience and condemn it, but as for me, I love it.

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