“The cyber sensation, which logged over 40,000 hits in its first four days, chronicles alleged shenanigans of local sosi peeps... The Third-World socialites are being accused of every crime and misdemeanor in the book--from grand larceny to substance abuse, from widely flaunted infidelities to poor personal hygiene. Makes show biz vixens look like vestal virgins.”
-- “Naming names: Online 'telenovela' indicts RP 'high' society”
Avenue Q defined schadenfreude as “Happiness at the misfortune of others.”
Dictionaries notwithstanding, I think a crucial element is lacking in that definition. There is nothing special about happiness at the misfortune of the sick, the poor, the weak and the helpless. That's just being mean and cruel.
But happiness at the misfortunes of the high and mighty, those that lord it over us in terms of wealth, influence, looks, exposure--now that's schadenfreude. Applied to this class of people, the German word just gleams with gloating, evil laftir, comeuppance.
Well, well, well, as Mcvie would say (kopita in between fingers a la Celia Rodriguez). Now that my own newspaper has picked it up: The hottest open secret in town these days is the mass schadenfreude being generated by this blog, which has replaced the late and much-lamented Soozyhopper as the source of all things vile and dirty about our so-called high-society set.
I plead prudence in not naming who these people are, because most of them are working as “columnists” in another paper. The charges, though, are pretty shocking: fraud, embezzlement, infidelity, incest, drug abuse, criminal cover-up--not to mention the more egregious sin that these pampered, privileged folks can commit: crassness, of the sort they'd consider most jologs in the rest of us.
The swarm of anonymous comments in the blog has pretty much gotten out of hand, with everyone dumping his or her vitriol on these society mainstays. Do they deserve it? The character assassinations, no. However, that's the price, I suppose, for consciously and actively hogging the spotlight. Especially in a country like ours, where the spotlight needs to shine on more urgent matters.
You preen like a sham potentate before a country so poor it has to send millions of its citizens to work in other lands, expect to be jeered out of town, whether out of envy or plain outrage at your insensitivity. The parvenus, arrivistes and nouveau riche of this country--they do deserve to be knocked down a perch or two, not only for their arrogance but also for their supreme bad taste.
No use entertaining illusions, though, that this new-found revulsion among many towards the excesses of our supposed Gilded Crowd will last. Like all controversies, this will prove to be a hiccup, a blip, a momentary jolt of excitement in our humdrum lives.
A country that allows the likes of Imelda Marcos to waltz away from her crimes--in fact, lionizes her presence and drools over her jewelry--is a country that deserves its Gucci Gang. Perfumed lowlifes know they can get away with most anything here; they may be alleged cokeheads and scammers, but they're good History students. They know us too well.
The vicious schadenfreude on display in that blog is the spasm of the helpless. Deep down, those anonymous hecklers know that nothing will change. High Society will continue to both dazzle and repulse, and the masa will continue to watch Wowowee.
But for now, with a crack in the fortress allowing us a peek at the sordid lives and soiled linens of the royal class, dirt will be lobbed, invective will fly and all that pent-up resentment will rule.
What's schadenfreude again? It's “Happiness at the misfortune of others.”
Or, as one commenter (anonymous, of course) harrumphed: “It makes me realize that though I'm not as rich as these people, I AM SO MUCH A BETTER PERSON THAN ALL OF THEM. I may not be able to buy a Gucci Bag, go to Philips Exeter Academy or go to Friday's for lunch everyday but I know how to live life in the most possible real sense.”
Hexactly. Yun 'yon.