Friday, 11 March 2005

Malicious joy

There was a brief item in the Channel 4 News last night about the strikes which are causing chaos in France. It featured the remarks of a lively Frenchwoman who wasn’t pleased about the situation and said so with great vigour, adding that the IOC must be mad to consider holding the Olympic Games in a country where this sort of thing happened.

I wasn’t paying much attention to this until I heard the newsreader, the admirable Samira Ahmed, say that the promoters of London 2012 were reacting to these events with Schadenfreude.

This word is not particularly rare in English – it crops up less often than Zeitgeist, say, though perhaps more often than Weltschmertz – but hearing it used casually and unpretentiously in the news happily confirmed the impression I have had for some time that the evening Channel 4 bulletin stands out among others by assuming that its viewers have rather more than basic literacy.

6 comments:

Mark Gamon said...

Aah that's nothing. I heard someone say schadenfreude on Five Live the other day. AND they knew what it meant, which is more than I can claim...

Tony said...

Well, you know now, Mark, don't you? How about Weltschmerz and Zeitgeist? Honestly, now.

Samira said...

There's a reason I put in the word Schadenfreude. Not only was it apt, but I speak German and used to work in Berlin, so I like to work little German cultural references into my scripts.
Glad it was appreciated.

Tony said...

Can't imagine how you came across my comment, Samira, but I'm glad you did. I hope I don't miss the first time you slip in Fingerspitzengef├╝hl or perhaps Gemutlichkeit.

Samira said...

Ahh.. "Gemutlichkeit" I've wanted to use that ever since I saw Cliff Richard or one of his chums say it in "Summer Holiday". I shall do my best to work it in. May take a while.

Tony said...

Cliff RICHARD? Doesn't sound like his sort of word at all. There's not much Gemutlichkeit about at the moment so you'll find it difficult, but trying to work it into a news bulletin will relieve the awful tedium of telling us all about the election campaigns. I don't always get to see Channel 4 News so with a few friends I have set up SamiraWatch to make sure we don't miss it when you succeed.
I try to work words I am fond of into my blogs: I've just done louche and now I'm thinking about virulent.