Work we talked about this week:
Why do we sometimes enjoy the misfortune of others?
SCHADENFREUDE (a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people) is the theme of my first podcast episode.
While I am in a search of an engaging story to tell, I set to interview some professionals in the field. My first interviewee is COLIN WAYNE LEACH, Professor of Psychology at University of Connecticut. He did a study on how schadenfreude is different from pride, joy and gloating.
1. How different our present understanding of SCHADENFREUDE from the one Nietzsche had?
2. What is your personal definition of SCHADENFREUDE?
3. Why is it important to tell SCHADENFREUDE apart from gloating and the other feelings?
4. What are the most common situations for SCHADENFREUDE these days?
5. You say that SCHADENFREUDE goes along with the feeling of powerlessness, why?
6. Are there ways to look at SCHADENFREUDE as at a positive emotion?
7. Is there anything we can do to escape/control SCHADENFREUDE within ourselves? What do you do when you have it?
8. Is there a real danger for a society where SCHADENFREUDE is widely experienced?
9. Is there a defiant degree of misfortune that happens to a person we envy, when SCHADENFREUDE fades into pure pity?
This is the story of six astronauts that spend forty years traveling to another world and then have their mission fall apart in a matter of days after arrival. Turning points in my story are the early death of one of the astronauts, discovery of a surviving intelligent lifeform, infection by a parasitic alien plant, and the psychedelic experiences it causes that lead to the catastrophic end of the expedition.
Real word research interview subjects would be former monks and nuns. Alternatively interview questions could just be applied to each character in the story.
What made you decide to join your religious order? What did your family or friends think about that decision?
What did you miss the most?
Did people treat you differently? How does that make you feel? What would you like to tell those people?
What parts of your secular life remained with you in the order?
Describe your average day.
What do you like to do with your free time?
What do you believe in? Tell me about a time that belief helped you get through a difficult experience.
Did you ever question your faith? What did you do when you have those feelings?
What is the question you most want an answer to?
What made you give up your vows? Was it one incident or an extended process?
I’m interested to hear how people have sourced experts for interview. Obviously it’s going to help if you can say you’re from the BBC or NPR, but have you examples of how you made that luck happen? Also, does approaching people get any easier? Or asking them personal questions? I felt a bit uncomfortable asking Declan how old he was, and he’s fictional. (!)
In the show Larissa MacFarquhar says she requests from her interview subjects two interviews of two hours each. Is that bold asking for so much attention time while you are an amateur? Is there a way to predict how much it is ok to ask from your interview subject? Or you should solely base your interview requests on your own needs and see if you are lucky?
Jessica talked about interviewing derby players for Trish Trash. How would Trish Trash have been different without the interviews? What did the interviews provide that couldn’t have been gleaned from other sources of research?
Renee Brown Cheng
I found it difficult being able to come up with my ideal ending with my first interview. From my pre-interview I am very intrigued by Rachel’s story and think others would be interested as well. But do you think it will fall flat if I don’t have an envisioned ending? I also don’t know how to end the interview.
Links to stuff we talked about:
Scott Kelly’s Twitter (Astronaut who is living in space for a year)
Scientology’s Sea Org
Stephanie Foo’s Interview from Out on the Wire Episode 1