Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Schadenfreude (and the World Cup)

I haven't written much about the World Cup -- nothing since the time my entire school gathered in the auditorium to watch Korea vs. Russia -- and this is because I'm not really following the games. Facebook and a few blogs I follow have kept me in the loop enough to satisfy my curiosity. This morning, though, when my news feed exploded with status updates and funny pictures related to the Brazil vs. Germany game, I thought it would be worth checking out in more detail.

That's how I found out that the gods of international soccer, Brazil, sustained a record-breaking, mind-blowing 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-final match. This game was on their home turf, and there were tens of thousands of fans present, hundreds of thousands more watching on television, as the team failed spectacularly again and again and again.

Photos of Brazil's soccer team looking agonized and desolate, as well as photos of angry, crying, screaming fans have gone viral. In a moment of inspiration, I made a last-minute addition to my afternoon lesson and taught my third years about schadenfreude.

"It's a German word," I said, "so it's appropriate that we are learning it today."

I looked up the Korean definition; there's no translation, just an explanation. "남의 불행에 대해 갖는 쾌감": "pleasure derived from other people's misfortune."

HS was very pleased to learn this. He said that he experiences schadenfreude quite often. We then took a break to watch some "epic fail" videos.

The actual point of bringing up the World Cup game was to remind the students how to correctly talk about winning and losing. It's kind of complex in English (why "A lost to B" but not "B won to A"?), and then there's all the slang we use to refer to victory and defeat. "What happened at the World Cup today?" I asked my students. Their using-what-they'd-just-learned-replies:

"Germany kicked Brazil's butt."
"Germany schooled Brazil."
"Brazil blew it."
"Germany steamrollered Brazil."
"Germany owned Brazil."
"Brazil was a hot mess."
"Brazil got creamed."
"Germany won."

And because we all had a good laugh at this, well... schadenfreude!
This is me capitalizing on a trending topic and in-group humor to gain approval on social media. Also, I wanted to show the link to the Avenue Q song without actually linking to it, because it is rather inappropriate! I did not play it for my students. But we did listen to Sam Smith, Pentatonix, The Piano Guys, and Sam Tsui as part of a lesson on music!
P.S. I also learned a bit of Korean from discussing the game with other teachers at my school. To lose is 지다 (jida), but to lose humiliatingly, as Brazil did, is 깨지다 (ggaejida), which can also mean to break or shatter. 실패하다 (silpaehada) means to fail, but it was explained that this is a failure of something you prepared for, such as an exam. The other two verbs are for failing in a competition. And the Korean equivalent of "Brazil was crushed by Germany"? 브라질이 독일한테 떡 됬다. Brazil became rice cake against Germany. Why rice cake? Beacuse this is how it's made:

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