Its different when you know the person…

Do you consider yourself an internet bully?

I certainly don’t.

Do you laugh at someone else’s misfortune?  The Germans call it “schendenfreude” – joy at the misfortune of others.

Don’t think so?  How about when they do something seemingly stupid?

Like the woman who was texting and fell into a fountain at the mall?  Or the man who was arrested for using his bank account deposit slip to write a demand letter at the bank?   Stupid criminals and insane acts…funny right?

But what if it was someone you knew?  Would it still be funny?  Slate writer Luke O’Neil found himself in that very position.  A childhood friend was arrested and upon entering prison attempted to smuggle in forbidden items … in a forbidden place (and he didn’t swallow them).  30 contraband items stuffed….well you get it.  When he first saw the story he laughed about it…and then the face scrolled across his screen and there was his childhood friend.  Looking dejected and sad in his mug shot.

I don’t quite know what to say about it.  The writer concluded he would still find it funny.  But it does give you pause.

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