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as defined by Dictionary-dot-com

satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune.

Merriam Webster defines it thusly…

Main Entry:
German, from Schaden damage + Freude joy
: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others

And Wikipedia has this :

So no matter which way you look at it, the gist is taking pleasure (or in this case, having a laugh…) at another’s misfortune. Ever laughed at the Three Stooges? Schadenfreude. America’s Funniest Home Videos? Schadenfreude. And the American pinnacle of the Big S…? Jackass. If you have ever laughed at or enjoyed the antics of Knoxville and crew… yup. You’re as guilty of experiencing Schadenfreude as the rest of us.

So I am guilty of Schadenfreude if not on a daily basis, then at least a semi-daily one. Did I laugh at Lance getting a broken collarbone? Hell fucking yeah. I think he’s an egomaniac and possibly the most self-centered cyclist out there. Has he done a lot for raising cancer awareness? Fuck yeah he has. Does that make him less of a douche in my opinion? Nope. Has he done anything to promote cycling awareness among drivers? Not that I am aware of. (In reality, all it would take is a 30 second spot showing his achievements.. pulling away from Jan after getting tripped up by a wayward bag, and blowing the doors off…. just one example, mind you… with a voice-over. ” have won the hardest bike race in history seven times. Seven. I train on the road. The same roads you drive on. Share the road.” ) BAM. Simple and easy, not to mention it *might* raise awareness… doubtful, but maybe.

Do I think he deserved it? Dunno. Was he being a self-righteous prick in the peloton? Maybe, I wasn’t there. Point is, he got one, and I laughed about it.


please post your experiences with Schadenfreude in the comments. I’m sure there are some doozy’s out there.

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About bikepunk

“Cuts, scrapes, bruises… all in a day’s riding. Then it’s off for some good german beer in a local biergarten.” Munich, Germany

8 thoughts on “Schadenfreude…

  1. Wikipedia also had this: “A New York Times article in 2002 cited a number of scientific studies of schadenfreude, which it defined as “delighting in others’ misfortune.” Many such studies are based on social comparison theory, the idea that when people around us have bad luck, we look better to ourselves. Other researchers have found that people with low self-esteem are more likely to feel schadenfreude than are people who have high self-esteem.”

  2. I think the best example of my personal experience with schadenfreude would have to be the time when I was a kid enjoying a snow day with my brothers and neighborhood friends. One of our friends was a notorious schadenfreuderer who took great pleasure in seeing other people in pain. When we were walking to a sledding spot he thought it was a good idea to turn around and throw a snowball in my face from point blank range, hitting me directly in the eye and rendering me temporarily blind. The sound of his cackle infuriated me to a point I don’t think I had ever reached before that day. I got up off of my knees, squinted with my one good eye, removed my gloves, located his face, and unleashed a flurry of tiny fists. My 2 brothers (always had my back, always will) landed a few well placed kicks just to send the message a little further once I had him on the ground. A busted lip and bloody nose later, and the Schadenfreudeing fun had changed hands from his, to mine. I shared a laugh with my brothers while he walked home crying.

    He’s still one of my best friends to this day. Still laughs at people getting hurt.

    So the message is Schadenfreudeing should be utilized with caution, as it can turn on you at anytime. Some call it Karma.

  3. Also, sorry for the improper verb usage of the word in question.

    And sorry for the story no one cares about.

    I’m at work.


    Deal with it.

  4. …dear bikeCU//…hey wait, lemme retract that & start over:::…
    …dear bikePUNK (see…i’m workin’ on my attitude as well as yers)…as your most vociferously vehement opposition regarding yer ‘poor tasted’ response to mr armstrong’s injuries, lemme go on record as saying that i don’t even find pleasure in you having to expose yer concern, inner angst &/or self doubt about yer actions, wherein you find the need to create a post around the term “shadenfreude”…

    …& beyond this slight showing of consciousness on yer part, you do make a valid point regarding mr armstrong NOT using his celebrity status in a “share the road” message, a message that just might carry some weight in the eyes of the public…
    …i do stand w/ you on that one & i’d even suggest lance’s cycling pal, mr robin williams could throw down on the same subject & have an effect…

    …btw, robin…hope yer heart problem is getting taken care of properly so we see yer sorry ass back out cycling on the local roads real soon…get well, get strong, get healthy…

  5. Words like ‘schadenfreude’ are often cited in linguistics/anthropology/philosophy of language as examples of untranslatable terminology. In effect, the word is so closely tied to the cultural experience that helps define the word that unless you have grown up in or lived in the society/culture that uses the specific term then others outside of that culture cannot know EXACTLY what the term denotes. So, nonGermans may know something similar to schadenfreude but they cannot know what the experience of it means. So, what does this mean? That the German experience of Lance’s broken collarbone was different from everyone else’s. Class dismissed.

  6. Hey, Bikepunk – someone on ridemonkey told me to drop you a line. Gonna be in Munich in late April. Need to find a place to rent a bike and ride some XC trails for the day (if there is no snow).

    Any ideas?

  7. I have been struggling with herpes for a long tie, I appreciate the information – it gives me hope. Maybe researchers will figure this wretched disease out before too long.