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There’s no shame in schadenfreude

The painting ‘Regreso al convento’ (1868) by Eduardo Zamacois y Zabala shows a group of monks laughing while a lone monk struggles with a donkey.
The painting ‘Regreso al convento’ (1868) by Eduardo Zamacois y Zabala shows a group of monks laughing while a lone monk struggles with a donkey.

Schadenfreude, the German idea for taking pleasure in others’ misfortune, seems like an ugly human emotion. But psychologists and philosophers argue that schadenfreude is baked into the human condition and actually is kind of good for us.

This hour, we explore why it’s okay to laugh when someone slips on a banana peel.

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Colin McEnroe, Eugene Amatruda, Jonathan McNicol, Cat Pastor, and Lily Tyson contributed to this show, which originally aired March 7, 2022.

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Jennifer LaRue is a freelance writer, editor, publicist, and producer. She’s written about health and travel for The Washington Post, published four children’s picture books, and hosted hundreds of virtual author talks during the pandemic. She’s a little bit giddy about producing for The Colin McEnroe Show.
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