There’s gotta be a word for it

Ok, you know schadenfreude? I feel like this is similar in its perversity, but it seems to be self-punishing. Only I kinda enjoy it. What am I talking about? The act of purposely reading things that annoy me. For example, I pretty religiously follow this religious (ha!) parenting blog that I find beyond annoying. It’s preachy (ha!), poorly written and pretty smug. And yet I read it. AO seems to think I’m nuts when I rant about how obnoxious it is. It’s not like I have to read it. But I know that he reads lots of things that he knows are going to annoy him but he seems to read them because he wants to be annoyed. Like the Republicans explanations for the WEDC. Ok, maybe politics isn’t a good example because we should all stay apprised of what’s going on whether it’s going to annoy us or not. What’s another example? Hmm. Oh! He will read Doug Moe’s columns and then make the same criticism of him every time: He thinks he’s Mike Royko, but he’s not. And I’m not picking on AO. I’m just trying to prove to myself that I’m in good company. Or here’s another example that I think a lot of us do. I’ll read the comments on an article and I just get more and more annoyed but I don’t just stop. (I actually think newspapers should just do away with this feature altogether.) What is the word for this behavior? Am I deriving pleasure from being annoyed? Is it unhealthy? Or is it part of human nature? Or both? I feel like some of you may say, “Kate, the older I get, the less apt I am to concentrate on things that annoy me or make me unhappy. Just don’t spend your time that way.” And you know what? I get that. I do. I’ve become better about doing that in some things. And yet. I still read the damn parenting blog. I just want to know what the word is.

UPDATE: Or more, a clarification. I’m not referring to, say, watching Ann Coulter and getting annoyed. Though, if that’s your thing, then that’d count. I’m pretty good about staying away from things that will serve only to drive me completely batty. I’m talking about watching (I realize I said reading above, but it doesn’t have to be reading) or reading or listening to things that you take some sort of perverse (too harsh?) pleasure (too pleasant?) out of disliking. To me, it’s sort of like how Terry likes to email and text about how annoying Taylor Swift is. Why is Terry spending any time on Taylor Swift? I can’t imagine she comes up that much in her everyday life. And yet Terry can’t stand her and wants to talk about her. Totally normal! I think a lot of us have these things. Maybe not the more enlightened among us (not that you’re not totally enlightened, T), but a lot of us.

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4 Responses to “There’s gotta be a word for it”


  1. 1 Mary Lloyd June 11, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    I have gotten much better and ignoring most readings that I think will annoy me. But that has come with age. Your time will eventually come.

  2. 2 kateandgracie June 11, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Argh. I just knew you were going to say that. That’s why I put that last part in. I’m not asking how to get rid of it. I’m admitting that for some reason I kinda like it. I’m wondering if there’s a name for the human emotion that derives some sick pleasure from being annoyed. And I’m asking if others do this, too. And what kind of things they read to be annoyed by.

    I’m actually pretty good (not great) at steering away from the category of things that serve to ONLY annoy and anger me. But there’s this different category of things that I dislike and find annoying but kinda can’t look away from. Two different things. I think that’s what I’m not making clear.

  3. 3 Terry June 11, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    There are plenty of things that are annoying (and not “fun-annoying”) and I stay far away from them. But I do feel I have a pretty well developed hobby of following some things that I kind of love to hate. I have lost track of the Miss America pageant over the years (just what channel is it on anyway?) but that might have been an early indication of closely following things I find annoying (and feeling entertained by finding it annoying). Yes, there should be a word for it since that long sentence, along with the parenthetical aside, is too long winded to describe whatever it is. I could coin it something like angelinajolie I suppose. That fits.

  4. 4 kateandgracie June 12, 2015 at 12:49 am

    Right?! Thank you. There. Should. Be. A. Name. I had all sorts of angelinajolieafreude before I decided I just needed to stop reading about Miley Cyrus.


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