Schadenfraude and The April Fool
Today is April Fool’s Day in America and, like a precocious and mindless 10-year old child, I was trying to figure out what kind of April Fool’s Day joke I could press on you. Here were the choices I came up with over the last couple of days:
1. Urban Semiotic is closing down because I’m burned out on the topic and on the writing of it every day all day.
2. A $1,000.00 USD Amazon.com spending spree to the first person who posts 100 comments over the next week.
3. Opening Anonymous comments here again and publishing only those which could be proven to be Spam.
Then I began to consider the result of the April Fool’s Day joke: Someone’s feelings would be hurt and they might look or feel stupid for my laughing benefit.
April Fool’s Day is a celebration of Schadenfraude, a German term that loosely breaks down into schaden (wound, pain) and fraude (happiness) and it means you find joy in someone else’s misfortune and while that isn’t a very funny idea, millions of dollars have been earned under the Schadenfreude umbrella of Candid Camera and Punk’d
and other “gotcha” shows.
I realized there can be only three outcomes for an April Fool’s Day joke:
1. No one cares.
2. Someone gets caught and becomes embarrassed and you laugh at them for trusting you.
3. Nobody is fooled and the perpetrator looks stupid in a divine reversal of the day for true Schadenfreude payback on the one person who deserves that end.
So in the final call someone will look dumb or be made to feel stupid as the intention of our current April Fool’s Day ideology and while those are all divine human emotions in the right context I do not feel comfortable trying to force any of them on those who choose to read and to participate in this blog.
So if you’re looking for a spider in your pants or a cream pie in you face — you won’t find that here today.
Today on April Fool’s Day I am only offering you friendship and respect in a time where every day of our modern lives already play us as April Fools — so together we will laugh at the Schadenfreude others have pressed into our lives and we will pity them for having such a low need to find joy in the misery of others.