Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You don't say?

Is there a word like schadenfreude* for the pleasure one takes in the inane writings of others? Maybe dummschreibendfreude? I think I'll break out that one the next time I fill out a form that asks for my hobbies. (I actually was asked that on a form for, I think, my cardiologist. I wonder what his other patients are up to that he feels the need to inquire.)

Anyway, I do enjoy coming across idiocies that have been committed to print for all the world to laugh and point at. There's a likeness to gallows humor in it, as every time I put metaphorical pen to paper I run the risk of providing such entertainment for others.

One category I hope to avoid is one I like to call "News of the Screamingly Obvious" or the "Sherlock File." Here are a couple of examples of entries in this category.

In an article on diet tips: "Usually, by the time you have identified a pattern, eating in response to emotions or certain situations has become a pattern." I was caught by surprise by the sudden loop back to the beginning of that sentence. It's like a grammatical Mobius strip.

This jewel came from Anglotopia, a blog for Anglophiles like me: "One of my favorite events in the U.K. sporting calendar is the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race. Held every year for hundreds of years, it's a rivalry that goes back centuries." But is it a competition of long standing? I wish they would clear that up for me.

See, wasn't that fun? Of course, it's a little mean to laugh at it, but I just can't help it. Perhaps dummschreibendfreude has more in common with schadenfreude than I would like to admit.

*Schadenfreude—The pleasure derived from another's misfortune.

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