Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Some years ago I was chatting with the younger brother of a friend. He was an easy person to chat to, and an easy person to get along with. He was outrageously good looking (from the neck up he looked like a teen movie star, while from the neck down he looked like an underwear model), charming, amusing, good-hearted, considerate and modest. Everyone liked him, including me, until he mentioned that he wanted to take some philosophy courses at university and really train up his mind.

Like hell you will, I remember thinking. You're young, buff, handsome and charming... you are NOT ALLOWED TO BE SMART AS WELL! Smart is the only thing we old, flabby, plain, dull people have going for us! Take that from us and how are we supposed to justify our existences? You selfish bastard!

I was reminded of that moment when I came across the story of Max Gogarty, a young man who led a charmed life right up until the day when he presumed to add "travel writer for The Guardian" to his already overloaded resume. Despite appearances it wasn't nepotism that unleashed the raging, hilarious torrent of vilification. It was, to use a metaphor from nature, the fact that an ignorant, pampered cub had tried to snatch the choicest bit of meat from the carcass while the rest of the pride chewed on gristle.

Follow the links, and feel the full, majestic glory of schadenfreude. Mmm... it feels good.


Blogger Iris Flavia said...

Such is life, really...
How come you use the word "schadenfreude"? Is it like "kindergarten" and "gesundheit", do those words become english? If so, how come?

And darn it - over here they complain all the time about all the anglicisms used, now you join in over there? Are they called germanisms?

Weird world...

5:42 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home