Every year we like to cheer new cultural darlings while we watch others fall. The delight we take in the difficulties of others is called schadenfreude, or joy of pain, a word taken from German but increasingly popular in English.
Social scientists say it is a necessary emotion, per the New York Times. And somehow, when it comes to celebrities the joy of pain seems okay. So on that note, let us look at five celebrity scandals -- care of ABC -- that make the rest of us grateful for our relatively quiet lives.
Five Major Fails
1. Bill Cosby: The once-beloved comedian had a very bad year that was punctuated with criminal charges yesterday. He has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women, with claims spanning decades, and is mired in civil lawsuits. Although Cosby shirked criminal charges for a long time, and insists on his innocence, he has been charged with felony sexual assault for a 2004 incident.
2. Jared Fogle: The former Subway sandwich spokesman was, this past fall, convicted and sentenced for sexual offenses involving children. Fogle's attorneys astounded everyone by arguing that the ex-pitchman went from an eating disorder to kids and porn, and could not be blamed. Clearly, the court disagreed with the defense.
3. Josh Duggar: The 19 Kids and Counting televsion star was unfortunately exposed for sexual misconduct with children in 2006. His reality TV show was cancelled and Duggar made a public apology but was soon faced with more to account for. In August, reports surfaced that he had an account with Ashley Madison, an online service that helps people cheat on their spouses. He offered an explanation on his family's official website, calling himself "the biggest hypocrite ever."
4. Donald Trump: Although he is now a presidential candidate, Trump was once America's most famous failed businessman, bailed out by banks only to rise to the dizzying heights of reality TV star. This year, as candidate, Trump said many inflammatory things not worth repeating, and found himself at odds with the television network NBC over his comments about Mexicans. Trump filed a lawsuit against the Spanish-language network Univision over its decision to terminate its contract with the Miss Universe Organization and not broadcast the Miss USA pageant.
5. Arianna Grande: The pop star made a fool of herself by licking doughnuts she did not pay for, and posting a photo of this, accompanied by disparaging comments about the US for which she later apologized. Being a celebrity at 22 means making mistakes, Grande said in her own defense. But she posted a video on YouTube, saying that she's never been prouder to be an American, so that's proof.
Happy New Year
May 2016 bring us all fortune ... but for the occasional great fall that serves our sense of justice.