Monday, October 5, 2020

The Final Solution: Schadenfreude

Trump reporting incomes hitting record high in 2019 and poverty record low

The recent rash of COVID-19 infections at The White House brings and odd mixture of responses. If you’re a Trump hater, who thinks the president is guilty of crimes against humanity, you might exult. The disease is a punishment, perhaps even from on high. However, such wishes are often filled with feelings of remorse and also fear. Bad thoughts breed retribution. Actually, the subject at hand is the psychoanalytic term Schadenfreude, or the enjoyment of someone else’s suffering. If you hate another person you may wish the worst for them, but an ensuing feeling of guilt can, in fact, result in self-undoing. If you heard the news on Friday evening, you may have gone to bed thrilled that the supreme court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett might be derailed (particularly if other Republicans were infected) only to wake up feeling a ticklishness in your throat which was a sign that you'd contracted the dreaded virus. When you start wishing ill and lobbing fantasies like projectiles, you may be afraid that it’s a little like Dr. Strangelove where a misstep on one side leads to Armageddon. Trump has seemed implacable, a juggernaut that simply dismisses almost all information he doesn’t agree with as "fake news." He's like the minotaur in his labyrinth, creating a series of perennial detours just when he's about to get in hot water (though you might not have guessed that his coming down with COVID would provide the distraction from the matter of his taxes). He inspires rage, but caveat emptor less your own anger comes back at you.

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