As thousands of online reference guide users have recently learned, the dictionary defines “schadenfreude” as “enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others.”
On Friday morning, Merriam-Webster reported a 30,500% increase in queries for the word following the revelation that Donald and Melania Trump had contracted COVID-19 — which, of course, came after months of the White House’s insufficient and ineffective response to the pandemic.
Use it as a search term pretty much anywhere and you’ll unleash a vitriolic torrent of accusations, anger, and — why, yes — schadenfreude! The condensed version can best be summarized by a recent Mashable headline: “Trump announced he has COVID-19, so of course, Twitter descended into chaos.” Yep. Chaos.
As Robert Reich discusses in today’s opinion piece for the Guardian, “how can we have empathy for the world’s least empathetic man.. . .”
“For about a minute today I found myself feeling sorry for Donald Trump. The poor man is now “battling” Covid-19 (the pugilistic verb is showing up all over the news). He’s in the hospital. He’s out of shape. He’s 74 years old. . . . His chief of staff reportedly says his symptoms are “very concerning”. Robert Reich