There’s a German word less well known than Schadenfreude, but pretty much equally powerful. It’s Schreibtischtäter and it means somebody who is involved in something but instead of doing it actively he’s “just” doing administrative work or, if he’s in that kind of position, he’s advocating the cause. As a German I know lots of Schreibtischtäter (if I may use the German plural which, in this case, is the same as the singular). They’re easy to spot and I’m looking at one right now. The US Senate also looked at one yesterday, but they couldn’t really spot the problem.

PS: Schreibtischtäter is (roughly) pronounced sh-ripe-tish-tater with “ripe” like in “ripe”, “tish” like “dish” with a “t’” instead of a “d”, and “tater” like “later” with a “t” instead of an “l”.

PPS: This is a slightly modified and updated version of this entry.