Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I found myself watching with guilty pleasure a set of YouTube videos of the Epic Fail genre. Mindlessly laughing at the foolishness and idiocy as they played. Such pleasure. And with a superior nod I subconsciously told myself, “I am not one of them.”
The Germans, with their masterful art of word creation, call this Schadenfreude: Deriving pleasure from someone else’s misfortune. You can look it up here on Merriam Webster.
Of course the Germans would have a single word for experiencing pleasure from others pain, but “Epic Fail” knows now boundaries. For kicks I did a YouTube search of “Epic Fail” and there are over 1 million results (Google returns 46 Million videos!). Skateboard accidents, drunk college girls, news anchors, soccer players, compilations of all sorts. And according to this site, the median duration of the more popular YouTube videos is 2 minutes, 1 second. That’s over 2 million minutes of Epic Fail. I'm not even counting all the video time devoted to Less-Than-Epic Fail, and the Epic Fail compilations are much longer than 2 minutes.
I wonder if Andy Warhol factored Epic Fail time into his 15-minute allocation of fame?
Let me suggest that the Epic Fail genre is really an evolutionary progression from Jack Ass the Movie(s) and American’s Funniest Home Videos. Sure there are some tender and heart warming home videos, mostly involving babies and cats, but we certainly enjoy witnessing the real-life slapstick of cousin Eddie getting wacked in the nuts with a wiffle ball bat, or Aunt Freda’s drunk dance at the reception when she fell over the cake table.
What’s my point? No point really, other than it would be nice to find a word in a language that means “deriving pleasure from someone else’s success.” And it would be nice if the YouTube search of “Epic Success” returned more than 4290 results.