Schadenfreude

More than half a decade ago, I wrote some thoughts about the future of comedy in the digital age. Without much modesty I
So many people apparently delight in their fellows experiencing pain that a term, lifted from the German (Schaden means damage and Freude, joy), and employed regularly by psychoanalysts, has become almost a colloquialism.
Office gossip is alive, flowing freely and -- depending on your point of view -- either as natural as casual conversation or a pathogen infecting morale, productivity and even health. Adding to the darker view, gossip may be a special problem for women -- its most able practitioners and, perhaps, its most vulnerable targets.
You simultaneously ignore your broken tailbone, your bruised ego, and the urge to pat mittened paw upon your costumed headpiece
Social media did something astounding; it gave regular people a chance to directly and publicly tell Mr. Cruz what they think of the policy and what they think of him personally -- and they took full advantage of it.
So what draws us to these shows especially at a time when the public has so much disdain for government? Why does there seem to be an inverse relationship between "approval ratings" of the shows and the real-life counterparts of their characters?
Why is it that misfortune that befalls certain people can make us feel empathetic and wanting to help, while misfortune that befalls others can actually make us feel happy?
"A lack of empathy is not always pathological. It's a human response, and not everyone experiences this, but a significant
Happier people are more productive, live healthier lifestyles, make better parents, and so on. But have we gotten to the point where happiness is a burden? Where the things we're supposed to do to "be happy" are causing more stress than joy?
Recent science is shedding light on this question, and the main culprit at work seems to be envy. The more we envy someone, the more pleasure we derive when that person meets some horrid end.