Wednesday, August 16, 2006


My mum was reading my article in the latest Idealog on bad design.

"It's interesting," she said, "but there's a long word I don't know."

Puzzled, I asked what it was. "Some sort of German word..."

Ah. Schadenfreude. "To take pleasure in someone else's misfortune." Quite unlike the Gemutlich stereotype of Germans.

Anyway the fact that she hadn't heard of that word made me worried. After telling so many for so long that they needed to make their language clear and understandable, have I become an elitist pig?

Then I remembered where I first discovered Schadenfreude (the word, anyway) - Lisa Simpson.

For the sake of clarity, avoid watching the Simpsons! It can really obfuscate your clarity!

(The above picture has nothing to do with this post)


At 3:39 AM, Blogger Jack Yan said...

Wow, those Germans have a word for everything.
   (It’s alles.)

At 12:54 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

Haha, Jack Yan.

Simon, I just read the first sentence of your article about bad design -- "Bush is elected?" How is that indicative of "bad design" and not perhaps just "voter gulability?"

Can't you pick on your own political system?? :-P

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Simon said...

Alles ... not to be confused with my cousin's wife Elles. (She's Dutch anyway).

And no relation to Alice, who works at Mel's Diner.

Sandra - I can't claim credit for the opening. That bit was written for me, but I'm not as much of a Bush-basher as most kiwis seem to be.

However, the design side of it comes down to those naughty old Florida chads we heard so much about in 2000.


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