Delighting in the Misadventures of Others: The Case for Gossip & Schadenfreude
When U.S. President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19, Merriam-Webster reported searches for the definition of "schadenfreude" shot up more than 30,000 per cent. Schadenfreude is defined as "enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others." John Portmann, author of When Bad Things Happen to Other People, says it's a common feeling, but not always a morally clear one.
Writer Ian Leslie believes our lives under lockdown have us missing out on another morally murky human tendency – gossip. He says the side conversations we'd normally share in person – often with juicy details about others – are the most fun and informative. Without those conversations, we risk living in a world that's "a lot less human."