Art du Jour 29

imageI have taken my own advice and gotten serious for a minute. This is a portrait of the famous W.  Perhaps his own children won’t recognize him, but that’s okay. I’m rather proud of this labour of love.

When I showed it to him he knew who it was and laughed.  I took that as a good sign that I hadn’t traumatized him for life.

Yesterday W came across a picture on Facebook of someone we haven’t seen for over thirty years and remarked that he looks awful.  He doesn’t really, he just looks old, because, well, he’s old.  We see our own changes gradually, and are often shocked at the changes in other people with whom we’ve lost touch.  Inside I feel like I’ve never left my thirties, but the mirror tells a different story.

So this is not the face I married, although he’s in there somewhere.  I’m going to hang on to this until we’re in our nineties and then show it to him again so we can both see how handsome he was way back in the day.  This is of course supposing we both live that long and can still see and remember where we put things.

I was looking at celebrity high school yearbook pictures on some Facebook site (yes, we both have way too much time on our hands these cold dreary January days) and the captions were statements of disbelief and what happened?  Well, time happened, you idiot caption writer.

Here’s to time and the wonderful changes it makes to our life-well-lived faces.

Schadenfreude: The Lazy Mans Method of Feeling Good

Bean and Teddy

Bean and Teddy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yay for  Rarasaur, it’s Episode Three of Prompts for the Promptless :

Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.

Okay! Time to laugh at all the bad shit that happens to other people!  I know, that’s not very nice, is it?   It’s an unfortunate human emotion and one that I like to think I rarely experience – but of course you won’t believe me if I tell you that, so I guess I’ll go with the truth instead.


Here Are Some of My Own Personal Instances of Schadenfreude:

1.  Watching Mr. Bean.  Because, let’s face it, who has more misfortunes than this poor guy?  He’s a walking disaster.  And yet his misadventures and crazy debacles never fail to make me laugh.  He’s a moron with bad luck.  I don’t know why that’s funny, it just is.

2.  Proving an arrogant know-it-all wrong.  The key word here is arrogant.  Some know-it-alls are very humble and don’t feel the need to convince everyone around them of their brilliance.  It’s the ones who are blatantly deluded about their superior intelligence having some of the arrogance knocked out of them so that they must admit to not actually knowing everything after all, that afford me some kind of smug satisfaction.  I guess you could call that pleasure, however fleeting.

3.  Driving by a speeder who has been pulled over by the cops.  HA!  YES!  And now you’re even MORE late, you jerk.  You could have killed somebody.  And I’m also very happy it’s you and not me who got caught.

4.  Watching a hockey game where the Oilers win.  This one happens so rarely, perhaps I can be forgiven for thumbing my nose at the other team.

5.  Witnessing Karma first hand.  Seeing someone who has been mean and vindictive and just plain nasty have her actions come back to bite her in the ass.  Okay, we seem to have come back full circle to smug satisfaction once again.  I am a horrible person.

Instances In Which I Don’t Understand the Schadenfreude of Others:

Larry and Joe Besser, as "The Original Tw...

Larry and Joe Besser, as “The Original Two-Man Quartet,” serenade Moe in the 1957 short Guns a Poppin!. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.  Funniest Home Videos on tv.  This is the worst show ever.  I can watch the whole thing without once cracking a smile.  If I don’t leave the room in disgust first.  Because in most of these ‘funny’ shots some poor sod barely avoids serious injury and maiming being an idiot on a trampoline or a skateboard or flying off a slippery dock.  I don’t get how near death experiences are entertaining.

2.  Traumatic things happening in the lives of celebrities.  I wonder why we care so much about the rich and famous, and why we are expected to take such delight in the fact that things can go wrong for them.  And why we’re so obsessed with their weight gains and losses.

3.  The Three Stooges, and slapstick in general.  Getting bonked over the head or slapped or kicked or being made to fall flat on your face or your butt is all stuff that I don’t find particularly funny.  Also violence in cartoons.  I want to cry for Wylie Coyote.

4.  Bullying.  What strange satisfaction does a bully experience by inflicting pain?  When there is no self-regard, there is no regard for others.  How incredibly sad, if this is the only way a person can experience pleasure.

5.  Internet Trolls.  Posting inflammatory, derogatory messages, purely for the purpose of eliciting an emotional response.  I don’t understand how creating unnecessary drama and feelings of outrage in others can give the instigator pleasure.  How desperate does someone have to be for attention to stoop so low?

Most feelings of Schadenfreude are probably accompanied with a great sigh of relief because whatever misfortune someone else suffered has not happened to us.  It’s not that we’re joyful about it, so much as satisfied and complacent and feeling lucky to have been spared the same disaster.

It’s not a lasting pleasure simply because feeling it usually exposes our own lack of self-esteem.  Someone else has to be worse off than we are for us to feel good about ourselves.  Much better to work on the opposite of Schadenfreude, which is Mudita, the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being.  Better that happiness makes us happy rather than misery and bad luck.  Let’s delight in the optimistic, feel good stories with happy endings, and pay less attention to all the pessimistic doom and gloom.