Saturday, October 01, 2005

Michael: Am I a bad person?

Taking pleasure from the misfortune of others certainly must be a character flaw. I'm afraid I'm suffering of it extravagantly. The Germans, who always have a term handy for the more neurotic crevices of our emotional lives, call it Schadenfreude.

Tom Delay indicted. Frist under SEC investigation. The poll numbers of Bush and the GOP Congress are in the toilet. Members of the Bush Executive are arrested, or soon will be indicted. How can a Democrat fail to take delight in these misfortunes? Still, I shouldn't I feel naughty for doing so?

But is Schadenfreude a vice when those whose misfortune delights you so richly deserve their fate? I certainly take no delight in those bereaved or made homeless by Katrina. Nor am I tickled by the thought of how much Americans have suffered, and will suffer in coming years, under the misguided policies of the Bush Executive. No, I am only joyous at the discomforture of those who brought themselves low by their own corruption and ineptitude.

Perhaps what I'm enjoying is the opposite of Schadenfreude: Justice. Given how rare justice has been in the past five years, it might have grown unfamiliar to many of us. It is the feeling you get when people get exactly what they deserve. If taking delight in justice makes me a bad person, then I choose to be bad.

2 Comments:

At 8:59 AM, Anonymous gail davis said...

Well I do hope DeLay and Frist 'get what they deserve.' I take no pleasure in it myself as I suspect they will get less than a poor person caught stealing a loaf of bread. And then they will get a cushy job writing legislation for special interests that our congress creeps will enact without reading. Oh, God, I've become really jaded since Bush.





(PS - what does the 'word verification' process at the bottom of the comment page do for you?)

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger Michael said...

The word verification was added to stop comment spammers from slamming me with commerical postings. They'll just have to do it the old fashioned way - by hand.

 

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