Have you ever smiled when a rival co-worker experiences a misfortune? Do you enjoy watching “Reality TV” shows like Cops and laugh watching the lowlifes get busted? Did you get a kick out of seeing Martha Stewart get her comeuppance? Then you have experienced “schadenfreude”, a German term meaning “shameful joy”. It’s when we get a pleasurable feeling from watching other people do poorly. We don’t like to talk about it, but we all feel it at times. Tonight on Inquiry we speak with Richard H. Smith, Professor of Psychology at the University of Kentucky about his new fascinating book: The Joy of Pain: Schadenfreude and The Dark Side of Human Nature.
Alexander Wilson founded American ornithology and his eight-volume masterwork remains one of the great American scientific endeavors. Though many people know of John James Audubon, few people have even heard of Wilson or know much about his life. Tonight on Inquiry we will help to change that when we speak with Edward H. Burtt Jr.., The Cincinnati Conference Professor of Zoology at Ohio Wesleyan University. His new book, written with William E. Davis Jr, is Alexander Wilson: The Scot Who Founded American Ornithology. This book is a long overdue biography of Wilson as well as a beautiful appreciation of his art and an assessment of his work.