Schadenfreude-watch: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver Reported to Split

Reportedly, Arnold Schwarzenegger – bodybuilding icon, action movie star and former Governor of California – and his wife of 25 years – former television reporter and niece of the late President John F. Kennedy – Maria Shriver have separated.

Schadenfreude is a German loanword, meaning pleasure derived from someone else’s misfortune. Seems a lot of what passes for news are stories put out to generate schadenfreude, particularly during tough times. Tales of other people going through difficult situations are supposed to make us feel less put upon by our own challenging circumstances.

These kinds of stories are probably most popular when the individuals involved are of the high profile variety and the troubles they’re supposedly going through take place when most of us are suffering – like the tough economic circumstances many of us are currently dealing with.

I don’t know Arnold Schwarzenegger or Maria Shriver, other than what I read. That puts me squarely in the boat with most people. Arnold is world famous. Maria is famous but to a far lesser degree. However, how important, really, are their marital trials and tribulations to most of us?

Personally, I don’t garner joy from anyone’s misfortune. I know it’s true that going back to the Greeks and Romans of old, tales of heroes and heroines falling from great heights have formed the backbone of lots of drama. You know what? I can deal with less drama in life.

While I am as interested as the next person in what happens to famous people in our society, I gain no pleasure from hearing about someone coming upon hard times. Marital disintegration is tough stuff. Frankly, I’d like to be reading some more stories about how people are overcoming tough times, not suffering them. Come to think about it – okay here comes a shameless plug – that is, to a great extent, what CYInterview does.

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