Imagine explaining secondhand embarrassment and how we will repeatedly watch things that cause it even though it makes us so uncomfortable.
Zorgk and Lt. Susan Manhym were assigned to be partners after Captain Monty discovered that Private Rob was purposely feeding the Jarthinark misinformation about the Humans for fun. The Captain wanted every Human and Jarthinark to bond and thought that making bonding time mandatory would be successful.
Zorgk did not see how this would be beneficial to their treaty but they know better than to question a Human custom. Human Susan begged Zorgk to watch her favorite Human picture or ‘movie’ as they call it. Zorgk didn’t understand how it could be beneficial to their partnership but Human Susan was excited and he knew that refusing would not be beneficial to their relationship.
Human Susan spent most of the movie attempting to convince them that Pride and Prejudice was a ‘classic’. Zorgk decided to play along and learn much about Human Susan’s interests in hope that they would remain friendly as having a Human enemy was more dangerous that having a Human partner. Zorgk was fascinated at the nonsense that intrigued Human Susan and noticed that the Human referred to as ‘Mr. Collins’ was being decidedly annoying and rude to the ‘Ms. Elizabeth’. One of Zorgk’s eyes adjusts to view Human Susan and her face was transformed into a cringe of painful proportions.
“Human Susan, why is your face like that? Are you in pain?” Zorgk questioned frantically, “Do you need a medic?”
Susan laughed and waved off their concern, explaining “I always get secondhand embarrassment watching the train wreck that is Mr. Collins. He’s ridiculous. “
“Secondhand…embarrassment? Zorgk asked slowly.
“Yeah,” Susan paused, trying to phrase her explanation, “Basically, when we watch something awkward, it can cause an involuntary response of embarrassment for them, the characters. It’s a form of empathy.”
“Empathy?” Zorgk had begun to take notes that would surely be added to the “Human Manual”, “For a fictional human?”
“Yeah, it’s like feeling and understanding what others feel, but with the situations we watch. It sucks sometimes, especially if we love the movie.”
“Human Susan. You have stated that this movie is a ‘classic’ which insinuates that it is revered in your society and watched by all. Your kind seeks out secondhand embarrassment, for entertainment?” Zorgk questions, accustomed to ever changing ways of Humans.
“No, no, no. We watch the movie for Mr. Darcy and Ms. Elizabeth.” Susan laughs again, “Mr. Collins is an unfortunate causality we must endure for the sake of the story.”
Zorgk sits back confused but willing to accept Human Susan’s
response. She wasn’t like Human Rob who like to spread misinformation. Susan
and Zorgk took to watching that movie every fifth sol to fulfill their bonding
requirement and sometimes they’d watch other movies. Around the fourth time
that Zorgk watched Mr. Collins possessively dance with Ms. Elizabeth or request
her hand in marriage, Zorgk finally understood. Mr. Collins was a walking train