Why is there not a German word for feeling sad when friends are in trouble?

Those of you who read Gawker saw the item on Jared Paul Stern today. The Page Six reporter and editor of the Sunday Book Review at the New York Post is under investigation by the FBI for extorting 220k from Beverly Hills billioniare Ron Burkle. The Daily News had the full story, including the transcript where Jared supposedly asks point-blank for the money.

Mike and I are just totally, totally shocked, jaw-droppingly shocked. Jared has been a colleague of mine since the days when we both wrote for the New York Press. He’s always been a great supporter of my books, and we have kept in friendly contact over the years. He’s definitely a character, but also a really interesting, smart guy, kind of shy actually. Although he definitely cultivates the gangsta pose (see the Black Table interview) in public.

Jared is one of those quintessentially New York people–I remember about ten years ago, Mike and I were walking back from a party in the East Village at around three in the morning, and this cab pulled up and all these beautiful, achingly glamorous people came out of it–the women dressed in long gowns and the men in three-piece suits, and they all looked out of a 1920s fabulous Fred Astaire movie, and then we realized it was Jared and his friends. And we were like, just so awed and a bit dazed by the sight of them–it was like Bright Young Things come to life–and Jared waved at us cheerfully and invited us to join the revelry.

We have always thought fondly of him since then. Some people live in a fantasy world, and I always admired that about him. No doubt, there is a lot of Schadenfreude in New York right now, but here in LA we are just shocked and sad.