Tuesday, March 08, 2005


I've learned a new word from Rich Lowry, who writes about how certain left-wingers have been coping with the recent spate of good news from the Middle East:
Schadenfreude has faded into its happiness-hating opposite, gluckschmerz. Liberal journalist Kurt Andersen has written in New York magazine of the guilty "pleasure liberals took in bad news from Iraq, which seemed sure to hurt the administration." According to Andersen, the successful Iraqi elections changed the mood. For Bush critics, this inspiring event was "unexpectedly unsettling," since they so "hat[ed] the idea of a victory presided over by the Bush team."

Gluckschmerz. Lightly rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Words like that almost make German seem human. (If only my keyboard had an umlaut.)

Mark Twain, however, thought the German language was quite awful, as he demonstrates with his typical dry humor.

Laughing at the misfortunes of German speakers, though, would clearly be schadenfreude.

Update: Found an umlaut! Gl├╝ckschmerz. Isn't that better? According to Wikipedia, without the umlaut the word should be spelled Glueckschmerz.

I'm starting to wonder if it's a real word, though. Google finds only a handful of hits for any of the spellings, none of them on German-language pages. Sounds fishy.

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