It took them an entire study to realize that schadenfreude (glee at the misfortune of others) happens when people resent those who have privileges without working for or deserving them, and those privileged people suddenly fall from grace. I would have thought that was self-evident.
I have to take issue with one paragraph that’s totally wrong: “You will envy more a colleague of yours who makes a thousand dollars more a year than you will a C.E.O. who makes a million dollars more than you,” he said. “We also care about famous people. They are symbols to us.”
Ahem. That’s total bull-crap. I’d be happy for the person I know and annoyed at the C.E.O, not be envious of him. Unless of course the colleague of mine turned out to have made the $1,000 in a totally unethical or undeserved way. And the C.E.O I would probably assume made the million in a undeserved way, unless they had some really creative idea that the built their own company on. Then I’d probably admire them.
And I frankly don’t give a rat’s hiney-end about famous people. Screw ’em. They do, in the article, point out that we tend to think of celebrities as people who are a part of our lives, and I think that’s true, in some ways, with some celebrities. I think the only famous person I ever truly wanted to meet was Princess Diana, just because I think we would have gotten along well.