A word with no direct English translation trends as ‘joy at the misfortune of another’ follows Trump’s coronavirus infection
Twitter and social media have been ablaze with ‘schadenfreude’ since approximately 1am EDT on Friday when both POTUS & FLOTUS tweeted that they had contracted covid-19. Dictionary and google searches for the german term for this base human feeling is going off the charts.
While the initial reaction could be said to go far beyond “joy” into the level a bloodlust for this reviled figure to suffer, it is, at the same time an inevitable outcome as a reaction to his own crude, cruel and pro-violence tendencies. Not to mention the blame he is, for the most part rightly, receiving for the more than 200,000 deaths so far from the coronavirus pandemic.
While it is dangerous, and in many ways disappointing, to see the so-called left who are virulently opposed to Trump, failing the test of being above base human instincts. By the same token, many argue that the things that Trump has done, or often refused to do, such as implementing a serious nationwide plan to minimize the spread of covid-19, are far worse than mere schadenfreude or happydancing to his misfortunes.
Yet, with his staunch support and refusal to denounce the right-wing extremist hate group The Proud Boys only days ago at the Presidential debates, and his refusal to commit to accepting independently certified election results at that same venue, it is easy to understand why so many millions on social media would be proclaiming a lack of sympathy for his misfortunes.
While The Trump spreads digital disinformation the public wants to vent and protest, without restrictions
The venting of strong options on social media is a paradox of sorts, Twitter threatened to ban all accounts that tweet a wish or hope that Trump would lose his battle with the coronavirus and die. However, after a backlash from public figures, such as AOC and the so called “squad”, who have received almost constant death-threat tweets from Trumps supporters while Twitter did nothing, Twitter backed off and announced that they would shutter some accounts but take a look at the data and behavior on a case by case basis.
The other side of the paradox is that social media venting may be preferable to violence in the streets. Unless, of course, the constant tweeting of schadenfreude and worse actually does lead to increased physical actions from either the far right or left.
The contentious explosion of Social Media political free speech across all platforms
In some ways Tik-Tok is turning into a more entertaining version of twitter’s political war zone. With prepackaged music backgrounds available to spice up your post – including anti-Trump anthems such as ‘f$ck Donald Trump’ (2 versions) it’s easy to create meaningful yet highly entertaining protest posts and share them with over 1 billion members.
No wonder Trump wants to ban the service. And the right wing have their own ‘hell on earth’ Parler to put up endless posts congratulating themselves on all the wonderful accomplishments of the wannabe fascists and super-spreaders.
And to add to the confusion, the potential that Trump will be inactive for a period of time has put the Tik Tok deadlines for a US merger in doubt. From casual observation Tik Tok becoming more political, once known as a site for amateur dance-offs and silly challenges, older and more like a short-clip educational and DIY destination.
Indeed by recent count 38% of US users are above 30 years of age, and with a set of advanced software tools to craft short clips, a maturation of the content appears to be happening at a very rapid pace.
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